Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

When Rester Won't Rest

Sometimes, the meaning of a French word is easy to guess when it looks similar to an English word. However, for every cognate, there are just as many false cognates. And yet, il en reste encore beaucoup (there are still many more) that are worthy of our attention. In this lesson, we will look at the word rester, which—you guessed it—is un faux ami (a false cognate) and doesn’t mean “to rest." So what does it really mean? 


The basic meaning of rester is “to stay/to remain.” In the example below, it means “to stay put”: 


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?

 Play Caption


A more forceful variation of Tu restes ici! is the idiomatic expression Reste tranquille! (Keep still!), which is often used to control restless children:


Restez tranquilles, les enfants!

Keep still, children!


You can also use rester (to stay) for all sorts of situations, as in rester en contact (to stay in contact):


Par ailleurs, Manon est restée en contact avec Émilie.

Moreover, Manon stayed in contact with Émilie.

Caption 30, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Nos bébés ont été échangés...

 Play Caption


Rester also means "to remain,” as we mentioned earlier. The tour guide at Joan of Arc's house uses rester to tell us where Joan’s family lived for a long time:


Mais le principal de sa famille est effectivement restée en Lorraine.

But the majority of her family indeed remained in Lorraine.

Caption 56, Lionel - La maison de Jeanne d'Arc

 Play Caption


It’s important to note that rester is one of the few verbs that require the auxiliary être (to be) in the passé composé. Patricia discusses this in a video on the subject:


Et comme tu es resté(e) concentré(e) depuis toutes ces leçons

And since you've remained focused for all these lessons

Caption 5, Le saviez-vous? - Exception dans les verbes du 1er groupe au passé composé

 Play Caption


Rester is also used in the present tense, of course. For example, we have the expression ça reste (that remains). In the example below, ça (that) becomes redundant in English and is therefore omitted: 


Ouais, très bonne question.

Yeah, very good question.

Donc, le plat du jour c'est sûr, ça reste un produit d'appel.

So the daily special certainly remains a promotional product.

Caption 17, Alsace 20 - Grain de Sel: Au Caveau de l'étable à Niederbronn-les-Bains

 Play Caption


Ça reste sometimes means “it's/these are still”:


Rappeler effectivement aux gens que ça reste des produits de confiserie, c'est pas une mauvaise mesure

Indeed, to remind people that these are still sweets, it's not a bad idea

Caption 14, Le Journal - Publicité anti-calories

 Play Caption


On a l'impression d'être secoué, mais ça reste très agréable.

You have the feeling of being shaken, but it's still very pleasant.

Caption 16, À la plage avec Lionel - La plage

 Play Caption


Il reste encore (there is still) the expression il reste (there remains), which we will discuss in a future lesson. Merci d’être resté(e) concentré(e) pendant toute cette leçon (thank you for staying focused throughout this lesson)!


You May Also Like