French phrase of the day: Point barre !

French phrase of the day: Point barre !
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This is the perfect way to end an argument in French.

Why do I need to know point barre?

It’s particularly useful if you have kids, or anybody else in your life who won’t do what you tell them.

What does it mean?

Point barre is used the same way as “period” in American English and “full stop” in British English. You would say it once you’ve made your final point and want to make it clear the conversation is over.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

Why can’t you just say Point ! which on its own means period/full stop? Well, you can, but point barre is just as common.

As for the barre (bar), some have suggested that it refers to the spacebar, since when you end a sentence on a computer or typewriter you will add a full stop and then a space.

Another theory says that it comes from the Telex communications systems used by the military in the mid-20th Century, where the end of a message would be signified by “./”. “This allowed one to verify the authenticity of a document,” according to the online dictionary Expressio.

You also have the option of the more wordy un point c’est tout (a full stop, that’s all), which means more or less the same thing.

Use it like this

C’est le meilleur film de l’année, point barre – It’s the best film of the year, end of discussion

On n’y va pas, point ! – We’re not going, and that’s final!

Tu vas faire tes devoirs tout de suite, un point c’est tout – You’re going to do your homework right now, period

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.