Tag Archives: difficile

Le mot intello : « quiproquo »

9 Fév

Nothing like doing a little overtime and starting my workday at 7:00 am without coffee…
Coffee (or tea) has a wonderful effect on me: the soothing warmth, the spicy scent, the strong taste and of course… the caffeine! It is also the interpreter’s (or translator’s) required beverage before starting the day, because it might help align all the pathways in the brain and ensure optimal performance (or placebo?). Like a fuel and stimulant to my “cervelle”. Thankfully, in the meantime (and until my first morning break), I have a wonderful home-made banana nut muffin to keep me happy.

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Le mot intello: « comblé »

26 Jan

After a good, intense, cardio-step workout, the rant is over and it is time to focus back on the positive… Are you with me?

I am an optimist, always have been. And when I deal with a tough situation or face hardships and challenges, I first let the negative out (whether it is a good scream, cry, kick, workout or knockout – nobody is injured though, I promise). Then, once I am calmed down, I go into a meditative mode and I pray, sing, count my blessings. And when I do, I realize that I have a wonderful life!

Today’s word is intelligent, only in the sense that if you use this term in speaking French, you demonstrate a higher command of the language, a more advanced level. It is not pompous either, so go ahead, use it!

// comblé(e) // adjective: fulfilled, satisfied, overjoyed

Usage :

The declaration of love

Image via Wikipedia

Je suis absolument comblée de joie ! // I am absolutely overjoyed !

Sa déclaration d’amour m’a comblée. // His declaration of love filled me with joy.

Merci beaucoup, je suis comblé!  // Thank you very much, I don’t know what to say!

Le prince combla de cadeaux ses invités d’honneur. // The prince lavished presents on his honored guests.

I am going to keep it short today, but maybe you can use today’s word in a sentence and comment below. Tell us what you are overjoyed about…

Example :  « Je suis comblée de joie à l’idée de retourner en France auprès de ma famille et de mes amis cet été ! »


Don’t mix up with the noun « Le comble », which figuratively, means « the height of… » and literally means « roof space »!

Le mot intello : « exercer »

19 Jan
Image by fanz via Flickr


The French language is so rich with expressions, and it associates verbs specifically with certain nouns to form an expression. In English, one verb can be changed into so many different meanings with a preposition (to take in/ out/ after/ along/ apart/ away…). In French, those different meanings are achieved with a whole expression (prendre part à…) or a distinct verb (emporter, enmener, démonter, …).

But enough grammar for today, and let’s learn to say:

// exercer // first group verb: to exercise, to practise, to train, to carry out, to exert


Dr. Perrot exerce dans son cabinet en région parisienne depuis 23 ans. // Dr. Perrot has been practicing in his office in the Paris area for 23 years.

Maître Jean Dupond exerce en tant qu’avocat d’immigration à Londres. // Jean Dupond, Esq. practices immigration law in London.

Quel métier exercez-vous? // What is your occupation?

Je vais m’exercer à la plongée sous-marine avant mon voyage aux Bahamas. // I am going to practice diving before my trip to the Bahamas.

Tous les employés pourront exercer leurs (or: faire la levée des) stock options une fois qu’ils seront acquis. // All employees will be able to exercise their stock options once they are vested.

And if you plan to work out today, I hope you get some good exercise!


Et vous, quel métier exercez-vous? Faites-en nous part dans les commentaires!

Le mot d’action : « Ne quittez pas ! »

17 Jan


Are you ever in a situation on the phone, in which you have a French-speaking caller on the line and you can’t understand each other at all? Or you are calling a place of business in Canada or Morocco, and you did not expect that the person on the other line would not speak a word of English?

Source: languageline.com

This is a situation that my clients deal with all the time, and that is when they call an interpreter at Language Line to help overcome the language barrier… But here is a very important expression to use in that situation:

// Ne quittez pas ! // Please hold!

I have even learned to say this in Spanish, because so often when I introduce myself as the French interpreter, I hear: « No francés… I need e-spanish!! ». I learned to say: « No cuelgue por favor! » (Please hold)… « Buscamos un intérprete de español. ¡Un momento, Señora! » (We are looking for a Spanish interpreter. One moment madam!)…

You can also use:

Restez en ligne s’il vous plaît Monsieur/ Madame! // Please stay on the line/ hold the line, Sir/ Ma’am!

Un instant, je dois mettre l’appel en attente! // One moment, I need to put the call on hold!

Ne quittez pas s’il vous plaît, je cherche quelqu’un qui parle (le) français! // Please hold the line, I am looking for someone who speaks French!

Attendez! // Wait!

Un moment! // One moment!

I hope that helps and in a crunch, try and speak slowly and clearly to find out what the person needs before you can put them in touch with the right person/ language…

Bon mardi!

Today’s smart word: « réfuter » (no, not refudiate ;-)

9 Sep
Sarah Palin speaking at a rally in Elon, NC du...

Image via Wikipedia

I must admit that Labor Day week-end caused my normal schedule to be a little off, and instead of being prepared, I am playing catch-up… Nevertheless, it makes this week’s « mots du bonjour » a little more spontaneous! After reading Todd Pack’s « freshly pressed » blog post regarding Sarah Palin’s mishap with the English language (« refudiate« ) and the inability to properly use more advanced words, I thought the following would be appropriate for our Thursday category, le mot intello:

// réfuter // 1st group verb, (conjugate⇒): to refute, to disprove, to controvert, to rebut.
Synonyms: démentir, contester


Il a réfuté l’accusation de son patron sur son manque de fiabilité. // He refuted the accusation by his boss on his lack of reliability.
Sarah a réfuté en bloc toutes les accusations portées contre elle. // Sarah refuted entirely all accusations made against her.
Le rôle de l’avocat est de réfuter les accusations portées contre son client. // The attorney’s role is to refute the accusations made against his client.

Bonne… nuit!!

Le mot intello : « réfléchir »

12 Août

[tweetmeme source= »FrenchNad » only_single=false] « Apprendre sans réfléchir est vain. Réfléchir sans apprendre est dangereux. » (To learn without thinking is vain. To think without learning is dangerous.)  ~ Confucius

// réfléchir // verb, 2nd group: to think, to reflect.


{courtesy of kidsclae.com}

Il faut réfléchir, avant d’agir. // It is best to think before taking action.
Réfléchir à + infinitive verb + preposition (Je réfléchis à quel heure je dois prendre le train.) // To think about (I am thinking about what time I need to take the train).
Mais réfléchis donc un peu! // Use your brain!
Réfléchir longuement // To think hard/ to mull over
Réfléchir profondément // To be deep-thinking/ to mull
Sans réfléchir (Elle est partie sans réfléchir!) // on the spur of the moment/ mindlessly/ harum-scarum (She left on the spur of the moment!)
Y réfléchir à deux fois (Il vaut mieux y réfléchir à deux fois avant de partir comme ça!)// To think twice about it (It is best to think twice about it before leaving like that!)

« L’ignorant affirme, le savant doute, le sage réfléchit. » (The ignorant declares, the scholar doubts, the wise thinks.) ~ Aristote

« En période de stress, les femmes parlent sans réfléchir. Les hommes, eux, agissent sans réfléchir. » (While enduring stress, women speak without thinking. Men though, act without thinking.)  ~ Allan Pease

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« Anticonstitutionnellement »

22 Juil

{Courtesy of princetonol.com}

[tweetmeme source= »FrenchNad » only_single=false] Le jeudi sera notre « Jour Des Intellos » (nerd day), et voici donc pour se faire le plus long mot français (noms composés de médecine/ chimie/ physique/ biologie… exclus) avec 25 lettres:

« Anticonstitutionnellement »  se compose de plusieurs morphèmes :

• anti- : préfixe marquant l’opposition ;
• constitution : « règles relatives à l’organisation des pouvoirs publics » ;
• -el(le) : suffixe permettant de dériver un nom en adjectif (« à la façon de ») ;
• -ment : suffixe de dérivation permettant de construire un adverbe.

Donc, anticonstitutionnellement signifie « de façon contraire aux règles de l’organisation des pouvoirs publics d’un gouvernement ».

En anglais : « anticonstitutionally ». You can also listen to the pronunciation of the word Anticonstitutionellement.
À vos souhaits !!!! (achoum…)

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