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What's Left of Rester

In our previous lesson, we learned that rester is a false cognate meaning "to stay/to remain." In this lesson, we will continue to explore the various uses of rester and focus on the impersonal verb il reste (there remains). We will also look at the meaning of le reste (the rest) as a noun.



The phrase il reste is a bit tricky as it does not necessarily mean "he/it stays." Indeed, the construction il reste is what we call an impersonal verb, as the subject of the sentence (il) doesn’t stand for anything or anyone in particular. Hence the translation of il reste is open to interpretation and will vary. The impersonal pronoun il can be equivalent to "there" in English. In the example below, the construction il reste + noun means "there’s also" in the context of the video:


Et ensuite il reste un dessert en supplément à deux euros soixante

And afterward there's also a dessert for an additional two euros sixty

Caption 10, Alsace 20 - Grain de Sel: Au Caveau de l'étable à Niederbronn-les-Bains

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In another example, we have the expression ce qu’il en reste, which simply means "what’s left of it." Il is omitted in the translation as it only has a grammatical function in French and is therefore not needed in English:


Ce qu'il en reste.

What remains of it.

Caption 14, Arles - Un Petit Tour d'Arles

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Il reste (there remains) often comes in a negative form, such as il ne reste que... This is a very useful expression to convey that "only x remains":


Maintenant il ne reste que le cadre.

Now only the frame remains.


Another variation of il ne reste que is il ne reste plus que, which means "there remains only":


Du fait de nombreuses fusions,

Because of many mergers,

il ne reste plus qu'une société anonyme de cartes de crédit

there remains only one limited liability credit card company

Caption 15, Patricia - Pas de crédit dans le monde des clones

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Il ne reste plus que can also translate as "all that’s left":


Aujourd'hui, derrière, malheureusement,

Today, behind it, unfortunately,

il ne reste plus qu'un parking.

all that's left is a parking lot.

Caption 25, Voyage en France - Fontainebleau

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And there is yet another way to interpret il ne reste plus que. It can also mean "there is only x left":


Il ne reste plus que cette porte

There is only this door left

Caption 22, Voyage en France - Fontainebleau

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We also have the negative expression il ne reste plus rien, which means "there’s nothing left":


Donne-moi tout, même quand il [ne] reste plus rien

Give it all to me, even when there's nothing left

Caption 1, Corneille - Comme un fils

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What’s more, you can even throw a personal pronoun such as me in the mix. In the example below, we have il ne me reste plus qu’à, which is a complex turn of phrase best translated as "all that remains for me":


Il [ne] me reste plus qu'à vous souhaiter un très bon appétit

All that remains for me to do is wish you a very good appetite

Caption 114, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano - Médaillon de Homard - Part 3

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Indeed, French speakers often insert a personal pronoun in between il reste, as in il nous reste (we still have). The personal pronoun nous becomes the subject pronoun "we":


Il nous reste encore quelques minutes de cuisson pour le homard.

We still have a few minutes of cooking time left for the lobster.

Caption 15, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano - Médaillon de Homard - Part 2

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In another video, il ne nous reste plus que translates as "we only have x remaining":


Et là, il [ne] nous reste plus que deux colonnes de marbre

And here we only have two marble columns remaining

Caption 16, Arles - Un Petit Tour d'Arles

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The expression il ne vous reste plus grand-chose (you don’t have much left) works in a similar way. Once again, the personal pronoun (vous) becomes the subject in English: 


Et ça a bien marché puisqu'il [ne] vous reste plus grand-chose.

And business has been good since you don't have that much left.

Caption 52, Arles - Le marché d'Arles

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There are many other ways of using il reste, which you can explore here. All this may seem a bit complicated, but fortunately, when reste is used as a noun, it's much simpler! Le reste is a direct cognate that simply means "the rest":


Tout le reste du temps, je dors là où je suis assise

The rest of the time, I sleep right where I'm sitting

Caption 15, Le Journal - Les navigateurs du Vendée Globe

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However, the plural les restes takes on a new meaning. Now we're talking about "leftovers" or "leftover food":


Bon, souvent parce qu'il y a des restes,

Well, often because there are leftovers,

donc il faut éliminer les restes.

so it's necessary to eliminate the leftovers.

Caption 9, TV Vendée - Fêtes de fin d’année : manger léger et équilibré

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Finally, to be clear, "to rest" in English is NOT rester but se reposer or reposer:


Tu peux admirer le paysage et te reposer.

You can admire the scenery and rest.

Caption 45, Le saviez-vous? - Comment voyager?

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Maintenant, on va la laisser reposer

Now we are going to let it rest

Caption 32, Alsace 20 - Grain de Sel: le Lycée hôtelier Alexandre Dumas

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Now that you have worked so hard, il ne vous reste plus qu’à vous reposer (there is nothing left for you to do but rest)!


"Un Briefing" on English Loanwords in French

Just as English contains a large number of French loanwords, you’ll also find a good deal of anglicismes in French. In this lesson, we’ll focus on a specific group of English loanwords to French, all ending in -ing.


Like most loanwords, many of these -ing words have the same meaning in both languages, such as un meeting (a meeting), le marketing (marketing), un kidnapping (a kidnapping), le baby-sitting (babysitting), le shopping (shopping), and le jogging (jogging):


Elle fait son jogging sur la banquise.

She's out jogging on the ice field.

Caption 40, Les zooriginaux - Léa jacta est

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There are quite a few -ing words related to sports or other physical activities, including le footing (jogging), le bowling (bowling or bowling alley), le stretching (stretching), le karting (go-karting), le body-building (body-building), and le camping (camping or campsite). In case you haven't noticed, these -ing loanwords are always masculine, so you won't have to worry about gender here!       

Sometimes, these words have slightly different meanings from their English counterparts. Le parking, for example, doesn’t mean "parking," but "parking lot," like the one that was formerly the site of a beautiful hotel near the castle of Fontainebleau:


Aujourd'hui, derrière, malheureusement,

Today, behind it, unfortunately,

il ne reste plus qu'un parking.

all that's left is a parking lot.

Caption 25, Voyage en France - Fontainebleau

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(The parking lot probably takes away from the splendor of Fontainebleau, but who knows—maybe someone will find a king buried beneath it, as Richard III was found in England.)

A fair number of French -ing words deal with beauty and grooming, such as the two hair-related words le shampooing (shampoo) and un brushing (a blow-out). Note that while most -ing loanwords sound very similar to the English, shampooing sounds completely different (it rhymes with poing, "fist"). You can hear the difference in these captions:


Ici le shampooing, le savon de corps, et le savon menthe.

Here the shampoo, the body soap, and the mint soap.

Caption 28, Visiter un yacht - Visite du yacht

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Les brushings des serveuses se répandent

The waitresses' blow-outs [hairstyles] spread

Caption 31, Boulbar - Motor Hotel

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On the more extreme side of cosmetic -ing words, there’s un relooking (a makeover) and un lifting (a facelift). Of course, for your relooking, if you don't want to go all the way with a lifting, you could just get un peeling (a facial peel). And for proper grooming before a black tie affair, it’s always good to make sure one’s smoking (tuxedo) is perfectly clean:  

Il y a du chewing-gum sur mon smoking, donc je dois l’apporter au pressing avant la fête.  

There’s gum on my tuxedo, so I have to bring it to the dry cleaner’s before the party.

And don't forget that if you ever get du chewing-gum in your hair, you can wash it out with du shampooing!  

Keep on the lookout for some other -ing anglicismes in your Yabla French studies and see how similar or different their meanings are to their English source words. You can use this helpful WordReference forum thread as a guide.