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Getting Frustrated in French

In a previous lesson, we discussed the words finalement and enfin, which both mean "finally" but have different connotations. Now we'll look at the related phrase à la fin, which can also mean "finally," but is more aptly translated as "in the end":

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Comme une larme à la fin de l'histoire

Like a tear at the end of the story

Caption 29, 1789: Les Amants de la Bastille - Tomber dans ses yeux

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However, like enfin, which is often used as a filler word equivalent to "well," "I mean," "in any case," or "come on," à la fin also has a more colloquial meaning. It's used to express frustration, when you've had enough of something and want it to be done with, or when you're fed up with someone's behavior:

 

Tu deviens ridicule à la fin avec cette histoire.

You're becoming ridiculous with this story at this point.

Caption 11, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Mon histoire d'amour est impossible - Part 5

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Mais qu'est-ce que t'as à la fin avec ce garçon?

But what is it with you and this boy, ultimately?

Caption 16, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Mon histoire d'amour est impossible - Part 5

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Mais arrête à la fin!

But stop it already!

Caption 58, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 6

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In this sense, à la fin overlaps with enfin, which can also be used to express frustration: 

 

Mais enfin, relève-toi!

Come on, stand up!

Caption 2, Il était une fois - les Explorateurs - 15. Bruce et les sources du Nil

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You can even use the two in the same sentence, when you're really frustrated:

 

Enfin de quoi vous parlez à la fin?

Well, what are you talking about now?

Caption 65, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 5

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Mais enfin, elle est dingue, cette histoire à la fin!

But come on, this story is crazy now!

Caption 43, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 7

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But that's not all! There's yet another word that's used informally for this purpose: encore (still, again). Patricia gives a succinct explanation of this in her video on encore and toujours:

 

Enfin le mot "encore" peut désigner l'impatience

Finally, the word "encore" can indicate impatience

ou le mécontentement par rapport à un événement

or dissatisfaction with regard to an event

qui se répète ou continue.

that repeats or continues.

Par exemple, la phrase: Quoi encore?

For example, the sentence: What now? [What is it now?]

Captions 17-21, Le saviez-vous? - Utilisation de "encore" et "toujours"

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Patricia also uses two phrases meaning "to be fed up with" or "to be sick/tired of" in this video—en avoir assez de and en avoir marre de:

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Ah! Encore lui!

Ah! Him again!

C'est clair, ça veut dire que on en a assez de le voir.

It's clear, it means that we're tired of seeing him.

On en a marre de lui.

We're sick of him.

Captions 25-28, Le saviez-vous? - Utilisation de "encore" et "toujours"

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You now have all you need to vent your frustrations in French!

Sensé(e) or Censé(e)?

The adjectives sensé(e) and censé(e) are easy to confuse, since they have the same pronunciation and almost the same spelling (in other words, they're homophones). Sensé(e) is related to the English word "sense," and means "sensible," "reasonable," or "sane": 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

J'étais face à trois personnes que je considérais comme étant parfaitement sensées.

I was facing three people whom I considered to be perfectly sane.

Captions 80-81, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 5

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Censé(e) might remind you of the words "census," "censor," or "censure," but it means something quite different. It's the word for "supposed," as in "supposed to do something." Just like "supposed to," it's nearly always preceded by the verb "to be" (être) and followed by an infinitive: 
 

On est censé... faire réparer des objets qui ont quelques problèmes.

We're supposed to... bring items that have some problems for repair.

Caption 2, Actus Quartier - Repair Café

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On était censé n'avoir aucun souci, avoir des centrales complètement fiables.

They were supposed to have no concerns, to have totally reliable power plants.

Caption 25, Manif du Mois - Fukushima plus jamais ça

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Alors que la police, elle est censée être là pour nous protéger.

While the police are supposed to be there to protect us.

Caption 14, Banlieues françaises - jeunes et policiers, l'impossible réconciliation? - Part 2

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You can always say supposé(e) instead of censé(e), which might be a little easier to remember:

 

...son fameux pont qui était supposé être un lieu où [on] profitait de beaux panoramas.

...its famous bridge, which was supposed to be a place where you enjoy beautiful panoramas.

Captions 26-27, De nouvelles découvertes avec Marion - Le parc des Buttes Chaumont

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Or you can use the verb devoir, especially in the past tense:

 

...bien qu'elle se demanda en quoi cela devait l'aider à se rendre au bal.

...although she wondered in what way that was supposed to help her get to the ball.

Captions 47-48, Contes de fées - Cendrillon - Part 1

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Whichever version of "supposed to" you use is perfectly sensé!

Vocabulary

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