For members


French phrase of the day: T’en fais pas

For when people in France just need to chill out.

French phrase of the day: T’en fais pas
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know t’en fais pas?

Because it can be very confusing when you’re hearing it for the first time, but it can be used in a number of different ways.

What does it mean?

T’en fais pas is an informal expression, short for ne t’en fais pas, which means “don’t worry”.

It’s the negative, imperative form of the phrase s’en faire, because you’re instructing someone not to do something. But it can also be used in the positive – Ma mère s’en fait pour moi means, “My mother worries about me”.

Tracing the phrase even further back in its etymology, it comes from the expression se faire du souci (to worry). In s’en faire, the en refers to du souci, so telling someone ne t’en fais pas is the same as saying, ne te fais pas du souci – don’t worry.

It’s one of many expressions the French have in their arsenal for saying something isn’t worth the hassle.

Just like “don’t worry” in English, t’en fais pas is useful in a wide variety of situations – when somebody is stressed, when you want to reassure them, when you don’t want them to go to any extra hassle…

Or, like any good expression, it can also be used passive-aggressively, like T’en fais pas je m’en occuperai (Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it).

If you’re speaking to several people, or want to be extra polite, you can say, Ne vous en faites pas.

Use it like this

T’en fais pas, tu vas y arriver. Aie confiance en toi ! – Don’t worry, you’ll get there. Believe in yourself!

Ne t’en fais pas pour moi, je suis grand – Don’t worry about me, I’m a grown up

“Tu as besoin d’aide ?” “T’en fais pas, j’ai bientôt fini” – “Do you need help?” “Don’t go to the trouble, I’m almost finished”

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For members


French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

A brand new coinage in the French language that reflects the changing times.

French Expression of the Day: La Première ministre

Why do I need to know la Première ministre?

Because France has one now.

What does it mean?

La Première ministre – usually pronounced lah prem-ee-air mean-east-ruh– translates as “the prime minister,” but this spelling is different from what you might be used to seeing.

This title is feminised, indicating that the prime minister in question is a woman. Under former PMs such as Jean Castex, the masculine title Le Premier ministre was used.

Élisabeth Borne made headlines on May 16th not only because she was appointed as France’s second female prime minister, but also because she will be the first to use the feminisation of the work title: Madame la Première ministre. The female prime minister who held the position before her, Edith Cresson, used the masculine version of the title.

Feminising work titles has been controversial in France, and most titles like “le Premier ministre” have been automatically put in masculine form.

But in 2019, France’s infamous Academie Francaise, which polices the French language and typically resists any sweeping changes to it, changed their stance and said there was “no obstacle in principle” to the wholesale feminisation of job titles. 

Use it like this

Le Président Emmanuel Macron a fait une annonce importante. Élisabeth Borne est la Première ministre. – President Emmanuel Macron made an important announcement: Élisabeth Borne is the prime minister.

“Madame la Première ministre, qui avez-vous choisi pour diriger votre nouveau gouvernement ?” a demandé le journaliste. – “Madame Prime Minister, who have you chosen to lead your new government?” asked the journalist.