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Un Truc: A (Not So) Tricky Thing

In this lesson, we're going to discuss a very common word that isn't very specific. It's un truc, an informal word for "thing" (une chose has the same meaning). You can use it when you're not quite sure what an object is called:

 

J'attends que le truc passe parce que ça fait un petit bruit...

I'm waiting for the thing to pass because it's making a little noise...

Caption 82, Lea - Cour Saint-Émilion

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Or when you're talking about something abstract:

 

On n'a plus de souvenirs. C'est ça, le truc aussi.

We don't have any more memories. That's the thing too.

Captions 25-26, Elisa et sa maman - La technologie

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When someone says "it's not my thing," they're saying they don't really like it (it's not their cup of tea) or they're not really good at it (it's not their forte). There's an exact cognate of this expression in French—ce n'est pas mon truc:

 

La baignade, c'est pas mon truc. -Oh, moi non plus!

Swimming isn't my thing. -Oh, me neither!

Caption 26, Il était une fois - Notre Terre - 25. Technologies - Part 5

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Un truc means "a thing," but it often translates as "something." It's a more informal way of saying quelque chose (something):

 

Tu sais j'vais te dire un truc. Tu sais c'que c'est qu'une utopie?

You know, I'll tell you something. Do you know what a utopia is?

Caption 70, Actus Quartier - Manif anti-nucléaire à Bastille

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Manon, à toi de commencer. Dis-moi un petit truc en français.

Manon, your turn to start. Tell me a little something in French.

Caption 3, Manon et Clémentine - Virelangues

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Sometimes, un truc (or des trucs) is just "stuff" in general:

 

Je sais pas encore mais en tout cas je sais que je veux créer un truc.

I don't know yet, but in any case I know that I want to create stuff.

Caption 58, Watt’s In - Louane : Avenir Interview Exclu

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But there is one instance in which truc does have a specific meaning. It's also the word for "trick," as in a magic trick or a clever way of doing something:

 

Moi, j'ai un truc miraculeux

Me, I have a miraculous trick

Caption 2, Le Mans TV - Benjamin Perrot: "La rébellion du combiné"

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You'll find a synonym for truc in the next caption:

 

Une astuce qui ne coûte rien

A trick that costs nothing

Caption 3, Le Mans TV - Benjamin Perrot: "La rébellion du combiné"

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Besides ce n'est pas mon truc, there are two expressions with truc with close English cognates. The first is avoir le truc:

 

Je n'ai pas le truc pour ça.
don't have the knack for it. 

 

Tu commences à avoir le truc.
You're getting the hang of it.

 

The second is chacun son truc (literally, "each his/her thing"), synonymous with chacun ses goûts (there's no accounting for taste; literally, "each his/her tastes"):

 

J'aime les chats. Tu aimes les chiens. Chacun son truc! / Chacun ses goûts!
I like cats. You like dogs. To each his own!

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Vous commencez à avoir le truc pour "truc"!  Stay tuned for our next lesson and tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

Vocabulary

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