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C'est donnant donnant: French Expressions with "Donner"

Given that (étant donné que) it's the season of Thanksgiving (or Le Jour de l’Action de Grâce in Canadian French), let’s commemorate the act of giving by exploring the French verb for “to give,” donner. Besides thanks, there is an infinite number of things you can give, so we’ll focus on some specific expressions with donner that are featured in our videos. 

Let’s start by giving some thanks to our favorite tour guide, Daniel Benchimol, who likes to close his always informative travel videos with the phrase donner rendez-vous

Je vous donne rendez-vous très rapidement pour d’autres découvertes. 

I’ll meet you very soon for some other discoveries.

Cap. 33, Voyages dans Paris: Les Secrets de la Bastille 

Daniel is literally “giving you a rendezvous,” and you can accept his gift by watching his latest tour, which will take you around Paris’s beautiful Bastille neighborhood. 

It’s also good to give thanks for the rights (les droits) that we’re granted every day, whether our human rights or the occasional promotional perk: 

Une place de concert achetée donne droit également à une entrée gratuite au château

A purchased concert seat also entitles you to a free entry to the castle.

Cap. 27-28, TV Tours: Ouverture du 3ème festival de Chambord 

And let’s not forget about what we can give back to others, even if it’s just a helping hand: 

Je viens là et puis je leur donne un petit coup de main.

I come here and then I give them a bit of a helping hand.

Cap. 24, Actus de Quartier: Fête de quartier Python-Duvernois - Part 3 

If you’re dealing with someone stubborn, you might not want to give them anything or get anything from them—you might just want them to give in (se donner): 

Seul face à Beethoven encore et toujours, Beethoven qui résiste et qui se donne et s’enfuit...

Alone in front of Beethoven, as always, Beethoven who resists and who gives in and runs away...

Cap. 18, Le Journal: Gstaad 

As a gift to you for being such great Yabla subscribers, here is a list of some other useful expressions with donner. Think of it as a bit of a donnant donnant (give and take) situation. For even more donner-related expressions, see our previous lesson on the word maldonne.

donner de sa personne - to give a lot of oneself, go out of one’s way

donner à penser que - to suggest, lead to believe

donner faim/soif/chaud/froid - to make hungry/thirsty/hot/cold 

donner sur - to look out onto 

donner dans - to lapse into

se donner à fond - to go all out, give it one’s all 

se donner du mal - to go to a lot of trouble

donner du fil à retordre - to give a hard time, give the runaround

se donner en spectacle - to make a spectacle of oneself 

s'en donner à cœur joie - to enjoy wholeheartedly

Vocabulary

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