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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Faire le canard

This expression is one of many duck-related phrases peppered throughout the French language - but actually makes sense when you think about it.

French Expression of the Day: Faire le canard
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know faire le canard? 

Because who said romance is dead? 

What does it mean?

Faire le canard, pronounced fair luh can-are, is a term popularised via French reality TV which doesn’t really have an English translation. 

Some of our younger readers may understand it to mean behaving like a ‘simp’ or a ‘shweff’. 

But to explain faire le canard to the rest of you, the expression is used to describe someone, usually a man, who adopts overly servile or desperate measures in an attempt to court someone. It is often used to describe someone who drops plans with friends to spend time with a partner or other romantic interest. 

You can also jouer le canard and être canard

The word canard, means ‘duck’. To understand the expression, imagine a new-born duckling incessantly following its mother around the farm yard – that is the inter-species Freudian imagery that this phrase evokes to portray someone pursuing a romantic partner. 

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This slang phrase is particularly common in and around Marseille, but is widely understood by anyone under the age of 35. 

You should not confuse faire le canard with faire un canard. The latter phrase is typically used to describe what a musician who plays a wrong note on a musical instrument. 

Use it like this

Désolé les gars, je fais le canard ce soir – Sorry guys, I am attending to a romantic interest this evening

Vas-y canard – Go on then, lover-boy

J’avoue j’ai joué le canard pour avoir son 06 – I admit that I bent over backwards to get his/her phone number

Le canard fait tout ce que la fille lui dit – This guy did everything that the girl told him 

Synonyms 

The following expressions are all considered to be informal and more appropriate for spoken conversations between friends rather than sincere or professional communication: 

Faire le lover  

Faire le toutou 

Faire le bolosse 

Faire le David Beckham (this one is less common, but does appear on the prestigious dictionary of urban slang, weshipedia). 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

This is a good example of something you won't find in your French textbook, but will nonetheless hear all the time in France.

French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

Why do I need to know t’inquiète?

Because you might be wondering why people keep telling you to worry all the time.

What does it mean?

T’inquiète – usually pronounced tan-kee-ett – literally means ‘you worry’ but in actuality it means ‘don’t worry.’

It’s a good example of the difference between spoken and written French.

It is the ‘tu’ conjugation of the verb ‘S’inquieter’ which means to worry.

The command “don’t worry,” which is reflexive in French, should actually be written as “ne t’inquiète pas” (do not worry yourself).

But in colloquial speech this is often shortened it to t’inquiète pas or simply t’inquiète.

It’s one of many examples where the ne of the ne . . pas negative form disappears in spoken French. 

This is in the ‘tu’ form, meaning it is informal, it’s not rude but you might not want to tell your boss to t’inquiete.

Use it like this

Vous vous en sortirez bien à l’examen de langue, votre français est excellent. T’inquiète. – You will do fine on the language exam, your French is great. Don’t worry.

Non, non, t’inquiète ! Tout le monde a adoré ton idée. – No, no don’t worry! Everyone loved your idea.

Alternatives

If you want the more formal version of telling someone not to worry it’s Ne vous inquiétez pas

If you want a ‘no problem/don’t worry about it’ type response, especially if someone has apologised for something, you could say Ce n’est pas grave (it’s not serious)

While you can also use Pas de soucis to say ‘no worries’, although that is slightly controversial and more often used by younger people.

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