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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Bien fait pour toi

This phrase looks nice on paper, but you might want to ‘fais gaffe’ when using it.

French Expression of the Day:  Bien fait pour toi
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know bien fait pour toi?

Because you might have been confused the last time you heard this phrase – which seems pretty kind on paper – only being used by parents who seem to be at their wits-end with their kids.

What does it mean?

Bien fait pour toi – usually pronounced something like  bee-ahn fay pore twah – literally means “well done for you,” and though it looks like a compliment on paper, it is actually all about getting your comeuppance. The phrase more accurately translates to “serves you right” or “you got what you deserved” in English. 

You’ll probably hear this mostly around parents speaking to their children, or in particularly tense conversations. The phrase is not exactly one to throw around lightly, so it should be reserved for situations that really call for it. But if you’re really looking to get your point across, and you’re feeling quite exasperated, this might be the phrase for you.

If you are looking for a gentler way to tell your child that they should have listened to you, you could say “je t’avais prévenu” (I warned you) or “la prochaine fois que tu m’écouteras” (next time you will listen to me).

Use it like this

Tu as raté ton examen parce que tu n’as rien étudié…c’est bien fait pour toi ! – You failed your test because you did not study at all; you got what you deserved. 

Je t’ai dit de ne pas manger tous ces bonbons trois fois, et tu n’as pas voulu écouter. Maintenant ton estomac te fait mal, alors bien fait pour toi. – I told you three times not to eat all that candy but you wouldn’t listen and now your stomach hurts. Serves you right.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

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