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Allez, bougez!

While we at Yabla encourage you to spend as much time as you can watching our videos, we realize that sitting in front of a computer screen all day isn’t that healthy. So we also encourage you to take a break every so often to move around a bit! To get you inspired, let’s review the various ways of saying “to move” in French. 


The two most basic verbs meaning “to move” are bouger and remuer, which are more or less interchangeable, but can both take on more specific meanings. In this cartoon, a polar bear tells Leon the lion not to move: 


Bouge pas de là, Léon. Tu restes ici!

Do not move from here, Leon. You stay here!

Caption 5, Les zooriginaux - 3 Qui suis-je?

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Bouger can also be a more informal synonym of partir, meaning “to leave”:

Nous devons bouger d’ici.
We have to get out of here. 

Sometimes you’ll see the idiom ça bouge (literally, “it moves”) to refer to a place that’s lively or full of activity, like the city of Strasbourg: 


La ville, son charme... les bâtiments. -Ça bouge.

Um... the town, its charm... the buildings. -It's lively.

Caption 18, Strasbourg - Les passants

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In “Dernière danse” (Last Dance), Indila uses remuer to describe the power she feels in her douce souffrance (sweet suffering):


Je remue le ciel, le jour, la nuit

I move the sky, the day, the night

Caption 10, Indila - Dernière danse

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Besides “to move,” remuer can also mean “to stir” or “to mix” in a culinary setting:

Pour faire des œufs brouillés, il faut remuer les œufs dans une poêle.
To make scrambled eggs, you have to stir the eggs in a frying pan. 

When you’re talking specifically about moving from one place to another, se déplacer (literally, “to displace oneself”) is the best verb to use:


Ensuite on peut se déplacer au restaurant pour finir la soirée.

Then you can move to the restaurant to end the evening.

Caption 30, Cap 24 - Découverte d'un restaurant parisien

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Even more specifically, when you’re talking about moving from one home to another, use déménagerUn ménage is the word for “household,” so you can remember the difference by thinking of déménager as “to de-household”:


En effet, si vous avez déménagé, vous devez vous inscrire

Indeed, if you've moved, you must register

à la mairie de votre nouveau domicile.

at the city hall of your new residence.

Caption 10, Le Journal - Voter: un droit ou un choix?

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Finally, let’s not forget that we can be moved in a metaphorical way, when something makes us feel emotional. The verb for that is émouvoir, the past participle of which is ému (moved):


Son histoire...

Her story...

avait ému en début d'année des milliers de spectateurs.

had moved thousands of viewers at the beginning of the year.

Captions 1-2, Le Journal - Le mensonge

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Hopefully, this lesson has moved you to get up and move! Here’s a suggestion: play our latest music video, Zaz’s “Éblouie par la nuit” (Blinded by the Night), and see how much of the lyrics you understand while dancing along. Or, if dancing isn’t your thing, you might want to check out Joanna’s video on preparing for a run. 

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