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French word of the Day: Bonne continuation

French word of the Day Bonne continuation
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This catch-all phrase covers all sorts of long- and short-term good wishes.

Why do I need to know the phrase bonne continuation? 

Because you’re likely to hear it a lot, and in a whole host of situations that may seem very different from one another.

What does it mean? 

That’s a good question. The French are very good at putting bon or bonne in front of a noun to imply good wishes. We’ve all had waiters say bon appétit, for example, as they present us with our meal – and the hope that we enjoy said meal is clear. Bon voyage means, to all intents and purposes, ‘happy travels’, and sports fans will wish each other bon match before a game gets under way.

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In the case of happy thoughts panacea bonne continuation – which literally translates as ‘good continuation’ – it’s a catch-all phrase hoping for of continued good fortune on the part of the recipient that covers a whole host of contexts from ‘best wishes for the future’ and ‘live long and prosper’, to ‘keep up the good work’ and ‘good luck’ or just ‘enjoy the rest of your day’.

It has even been heard in restaurants instead of ‘bon appétit’, in which case it means something along the lines of ‘enjoy the rest of your meal’.

It’s used as a farewell of sorts, and works well when bonne chance, bon courage, bon retour or bonne soirée doesn’t quite cover it, a formality to end a conversation by wishing someone well for the rest of the day/weekend/their life.

Use it like this:

Je vous souhaite une bonne continuation – I wish you well for the future

Bonne continuation et bon courage! Best wishes and good luck!

Nous vous souhaitons un bon séjour à Paris et une bonne continuation de votre voyage – We hope you have a pleasant stay in Paris and offer good wishes for your travels.

Nous souhaitons à Emma une bonne continuation de l’excellent travail – We wish Emma the best of luck with her excellent work.


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