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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Pas mal de

This French expression is handy when talking about quantity.

French Expression of the Day: Pas mal de
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know pas mal de?

Because this expression might seem like it’s about quality, when it’s really about quantity.

What does it mean?

Pas mal de – roughly pronounced pah mal duh –  is a French colloquial expression that translates precisely to “not bad of.”

This likely sounds a bit nonsensical, but in reality the phrase means “quite a few” or “a lot of.” 

In English, if someone asks you how many restaurants are in your neighbourhood, you could shrug and say “not a bad amount” to say that there are a handful. But in French, this phrase is moreso used when there are several of something. 

For example, someone might ask how many people are at the party, and if you respond that there are “pas mal de gens” then that would be taken to mean that there are quite a few people present.

The phrase “pas mal” (not bad) in itself is more positive in French than it might be in English. If you were to perform very well on an examination, your professor might say “pas mal!” which would be taken to mean “well done” or “good job.”

Use it like this

J’ai invité pas mal de gens à la fête surprise. – I invited a lot of people to the surprise party.

Faites attention en marchant près du quai, il y a pas mal d’abeilles dans cette zone. – Be careful walking by the dock, there are quite a few bees in that area.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: À la rush

If you want to excuse a lack of attention to detail, you could use this French expression.

French Expression of the Day: À la rush

Why do I need to know À la rush ?

Because you may not have known you could use this English word in French too.

What does it mean?

À la rush roughly pronounced ah la rush –  means to do something in a rush or at the last minute. 

As you may have noticed, this slang expression uses both English and French words. “Rush” is used in the same sense as it is in English – to mean in a hurried or hasty fashion.

À la rush is similar to another French expression that mixes the two languages: “à la one again” which means to do something carelessly or without thinking.

The English word “rush” is also used in other French expressions, like être dans le rush, which means to be in a hurry or in a busy situation, although if you were speaking more formal French you would probably describe yourself as pressé if you want to say you are in a rush or in a hurry.

Use it like this

Je l’ai fait à la rush parce que je n’avais pas le temps de me préparer – I did it hastily because I did not have time to prepare.

Il a écrit l’article à la rush, donc il y a plusieurs fautes d’orthographe. – He wrote the article in a rush, so there were several spelling mistakes.

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