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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: À la one again

Half of it is in English, but this 'franglish' expression is not logical for native speakers of English.

French Expression of the Day: À la one again
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know à la one again ?

Because if you finished your task in a rush, you may have done it like this.

What does it mean?

À la one again – roughly pronounced ah la wun eh-gehn –  means to do something carelessly, quickly, or nonsensically. It translates precisely to “in the manner of the one again.”

This slang expression first entered the French vocabulary in the 1990’s, and as you may have noticed it combines French and English words, in a way that does not make much sense to your average English-speaker. 

The phrase is popular amongst young people in France, but its origins are up for debate. Most people in France would recognise it as having been popularised again by the comedian Franck Duboscq in his sketches.

Use it like this

J’ai oublié que j’avais un projet à rendre aujourd’hui, alors j’ai fait un truc à la one again. – I forgot I had a project due today, so I threw something together carelessly.

J’ai fait la liste des invités à la one again donc ce sera un groupe de personnes au hasard. – I made the invitation list haphazardly so the group will be random.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Système D

It might sound like a military operation, but you will probably have to use 'system D' at least once during your time in France.

French Expression of the Day: Système D

Why do I need to know Système D?

Because if your train was cancelled during a strike, or your childcare arrangements suddenly fall through, then you might need a ‘system D’.

What does it mean?

Système D roughly pronounced sis-tehm day – may sound like the name of a rock band or a computer programming device, but it has little to do with music or coding.

In reality, Système D is a French expression reserved for situations where one must be resourceful and inventive – it is defined as ‘the art of getting by’ or ‘making do’ or perhaps ‘cobbling it together’ and it has been used for several decades in France.

You might use this expression if you find yourself having to make do in a complicated scenario. For example, the French press said parents were forced to adapt after a recent strike closed schools for the day. One French article quoted a parent who said “On fait ce qu’on peut, c’est le système D” (We do what we can, it is a make-do situation).

The “D” part of Système D actually comes from the French word “débrouille (or se débrouiller)” which means “to get by” or to work to put things in order.

Use it like this

Ne vous inquiétez pas, Michel s’adaptera à n’importe quelle situation dans laquelle vous le mettez. C’est un expert du système D. – Don’t worry, Michel will adapt to any situation you put him in. He is very resourceful.

Se rendre au travail était le système D la semaine dernière, alors que toutes les options de transport étaient fermées en raison de la grève. Il fallait être très créatif. – Getting to work was a make-do situation last week, when all public transportation was closed due to the strike. You had to be really creative.

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