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Ça se dit en français?

In Part 2 of "Elle a banni le sucre pendant un an," Danièle Gerkens, a journalist at Elle magazine, talks about the health benefits she experienced after cutting sugar from her diet for one year. When the year was almost up, she was expecting to break her sugar fast with mountains of whipped cream, but it was actually a single piece of dark chocolate that did her in:

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Je me disais que j'allais me rouler dans la chantilly, et cetera. Et puis en fait, plus ça arrivait, plus je me disais, mais... qu'est-ce que je vais faire?

I told myself that I was going to wallow in whipped cream, et cetera. And then in fact, the closer it came [to the end], the more I was wondering, but... what am I going to do?

Captions 102-104, Le Figaro - Elle a banni le sucre pendant un an - Part 2

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Note the two different translations of je me disais here: "I told myself" and "I was wondering." The reflexive verb se dire can mean a number of things depending on context, namely "to tell/say to oneself" and "to wonder/think." In a sense, these both mean the same thing: when you wonder or think about something, you're telling yourself about it. 

 

When multiple people se disent, they could be thinking about something or telling themselves something, but they could also just be talking to each other: 

 

Christine et Alice sont de meilleures amies. Elles se disent tout. 
Christine and Alice are best friends. They tell each other everything.

 

Se dire can also mean "to say of oneself," or in other words, "to claim to be":

 

Le Charles de Gaulle, où la direction se dit d'abord victime de son image.

Charles de Gaulle, where the management claims first to be a victim of its image.

Caption 29, Le Journal - Hôpital ultra-moderne à Burkina Faso

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Or se dire can simply mean "to be said," which has a few different connotations. Here Danièle is (somewhat cheekily) talking about something she thinks is taboo and can't be mentioned in public. Believe it or not, she's referring to her love of milk chocolate! 

 

Je sais, ça se dit pas, mais j'adorais ça.

I know you're not supposed to say it, but that's what I loved.

Caption 112, Le Figaro - Elle a banni le sucre pendant un an - Part 2

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In its most general sense, se dire refers to anything that "is said" in everyday language:

 

Par contre, "faire le beau" se dit d'un chien qui se tient sur les pattes arrière pour réclamer un sucre.

On the other hand, "faire le beau" is said of a dog that stands on its hind legs to beg for a lump of sugar.

Captions 24-25, Margaux et Manon - Emplois du verbe faire

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"Je n'ai pas des biscuits": ça se dit en français? -Non. Il faut dire: "je n'ai pas de biscuits".
Can you say je n'ai pas des biscuits in French? -No. You have to say je n'ai pas de biscuits [I don't have any cookies].

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Don't confuse ça se dit with ça te dit (or ça vous dit in the plural), which means "how does that sound" or "how would you like..." (literally, "does it speak to you"):

 

Ça te dit de réviser les multiples sens de l'expression "se dire"? 
How would you like to review the multiple meanings of the expression se dire

 

Une leçon à ne pas manquer!

At the end of "Tango," new on Yabla this week, Mélanie Laurent sings: 

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Parce qu'au fond tu l'aimes bien, elle te manquerait je crois

Because deep down you really love her, you would miss her, I think

Caption 52, Mélanie Laurent - "Circus" & "Tango"

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When you're talking about missing someone in French, manquer is the verb to use. However, in this context, manquer actually means "to be missing" rather than "to miss." Though elle te manquerait might appear to mean "she would miss you" upon first glance, its literal translation is actually "she would be missing from you," which is just another (perhaps more romantic) way of saying "you would miss her." So when talking to someone close to you whom you haven't seen in a while, make sure to say tu me manques ("I miss you," literally "you're missing from me") rather than je te manque ("you miss me," literally "I'm missing from you").

 

On the other hand, manquer does mean "to miss" when you're talking about missing something in the sense of not being there for it. In this context it's synonymous with the verb rater

 

J'ai manqué [or ratéle bus. 
missed the bus. 

 

The expression "manquer de + infinitive" (or just "manquer + infinitive") means "to nearly do something." "Faillir + infinitive" has the same meaning:

 

Il a manqué d'être tué [or: Il a failli être tué]
He was nearly killed. 

 

But in the negative, this expression more often means "to not forget to do something": 

 

Ne manquez pas de vous arrêter au numéro treize de l'avenue Junot.

Don't forget to stop at number thirteen Avenue Junot.

Caption 12, Voyage dans Paris - Butte Montmartre

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Another common meaning of manquer is "to lack," usually in the expression "manquer de + noun":

 

L'hôpital manque de moyens, comme toutes nos formations sanitaires, hein?

The hospital lacks resources, like all our medical facilities, huh?

Caption 22, Le Journal - Hôpital ultra-moderne à Burkina Faso

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In fact, the noun form of manquerun manque, specifically means "a lack": 

 

J'ai compris qu'il y avait un manque énorme au niveau, euh, alimentaire.

I saw that there was an enormous lack at the, uh, alimentary level.

Caption 7, Alsace 20 - Mangez bien, mangez alsacien!

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Finally, manquer is also used in the impersonal expression "il manque + noun" ("x is missing"):

 

Il ne manque plus que l'argent nécessaire.

All that's missing is the necessary money.

Caption 6, Il était une fois - Les découvreurs - 13. Stephenson - Part 6

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Don't forget (ne manquez pas) to check out our new videos this week and feel free to tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com!

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