For members


French phrase of the Day: Les JO

You're going to be seeing this acronym a lot between now and 2024.

French phrase of the Day: Les JO
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know Les JO?

Because the French capital is hosting Les JO in 2024.

What does it mean?

If you haven’t already guessed, it’s an acronym of les Jeux olympiques, or the Olympic Games. But while Anglophones usually shorten this to ‘the Olympics’ in France you will often see them referred to as les JO.

It’s best to get familiar with such an acronym now, as newspaper headlines often refer to the games as les JO, and this will become more frequent in the run-up to 2024. 

Les JOJ is another  acronym also commonly used to describe les Jeux Olympiques de la Jeunesse or, as we know it in English, The Youth Olympic Games.  

The French love a good acronyme, most likely due to the long length of words within the language, and such abbreviations are abound within the French language, from colloquial speech, to within newspapers and in political discussions.

Use it like this

French news website, recently published an article on French sailor, Camille Lecointre, who is obviously taking her preparations very seriously, with the headline

Originaire d’Harfleur, Camille Lecointre prépare les JO de Tokyo : ‘J’ai une vie de nonne’  – Harfleur native, Camille Lecointre on her preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games: “I have a nun’s life”. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: Il n’y a pas de mal

You might want to use this phrase if someone accidentally knocks into you in a queue.

French Expression of the Day: Il n'y a pas de mal

Why do I need to know il n’y a pas de mal?

Because when a situation isn’t worth getting worked up about, you need to say so.

What does it mean?

Il n’y a pas de mal – pronounced eel nyah pah de mal – means no harm done. In English, you might say ‘no big deal.’

It’s one of those useful de-escalating stock phrases you can use in situations when mistakes happen – when someone takes the seat in the metro you’d been eyeing, but you’re in no hurry, for example, or to indicate that you have not taken offence at a comment. It demonstrates that there’s no problem, that everything’s fine.

It can also be used to indicate there’s nothing wrong in doing something – the phrase il n’y a pas de mal à se faire du bien is the French version of “a little bit of what you fancy does you good”.

Use it like this

Il n’y a pas de mal – no harm done

Il n’y a pas de mal à cela – there’s nothing wrong with that

Qu’y a-t-il de mal à cela ? – what’s the problem with that?

Similar phrases

ça va aller – it’s going to be okay

il n’y a pas de lézard – no problem

il n’y a pas de souci – no worries

tout va bien – it’s all good

ce n’est pas grave – it’s not serious