This and That, Part 2

In our last lesson, we introduced the French demonstrative pronouns (celui, celle, ceux, celles), which combine with the suffixes ci (here) and  (there) to form expressions such as "this one," "that one," "these," and "those." In this lesson, we'll explore two other useful constructions featuring these pronouns.


The first is celui/celle/ceux/celles + de + noun, which is used to indicate ownership or possession. Here's a straightforward example from the Beauty and the Beast trailer: 

Je suis venue échanger ma vie contre celle de mon père.
I've come to exchange my life for that of my father.
Cap. 23, Bande-annonce: La Belle et La Bête

"That of my father" is the literal translation of celle de mon père, but the sentence could also have been translated as, "I've come to exchange my life for my father's." As we mentioned in the last lesson, the demonstrative pronoun has to agree in gender and number with the word it's referring to. In this case, the feminine singular celle refers to the feminine singular noun vie



The second construction is celui/celle/ceux/celles + qui, que, or dontQui (that, who) and que (that, whom) are relative pronouns, or words that introduce a dependent clause. While qui acts as the subject of the clause (usually followed by a verb), que acts as the object (usually followed by a noun or pronoun). With a demonstrative pronoun in front of them, they create expressions like "the one(s) that/who" (demonstrative pronoun + qui) and "the one(s) that/whom" (demonstrative pronoun + que): 

Vous savez... celui qui se trouve derrière la maison voisine.
You know... the one that's behind the house next door.
Cap. 20, Il était une fois: Notre Terre - 9. Les écosystèmes - Part 4

...dans des situations un peu meilleures que celles qu'ils avaient en arrivant. situations that are a little bit better than the ones that they had when they arrived.
Cap. 24, Le Journal: Les Restos du Cœur 

Cet homme n'est pas celui que j'ai vu hier. 
That man is not the one whom I saw yesterday. 


Dont is another relative pronoun that means "whose" or "of which": 

J'habite une maison dont les volets sont bleus.
I live in a house whose shutters are blue. 


The demonstrative pronoun + dont combination means "the one(s) whose" or "the one(s) of/about which." In this combination, dont often replaces an object preceded by de:

Tu parles de ma chemise rouge? -Non, celle dont je parle est bleue. 
Are you talking about my red shirt? -No, the one that I'm talking about is blue. 


So, to review, the three major constructions featuring demonstrative pronouns are:

-demonstrative pronoun + -ci or - (celui-cicelle-là, etc.)
-demonstrative pronoun + de + noun (celle de mon père)
-demonstrative pronoun + qui, que, or dont (celui que j'ai vu hier)


The two big takeaways here are that demonstrative pronouns always replace a previously mentioned noun (and must agree with it in gender and number) and are always accompanied by another word, whether the suffixes ci and , the preposition de, or the relative pronouns qui, que, and dont


That about covers it for demonstrative pronouns! If you have any suggestions for future lesson topics, feel free to tweet us @yabla or email us at

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This and That Part 1

The expressions "this one" and "that one" are probably the most basic way of distinguishing between two things, such as two different types of saxophone: 

Le saxophone alto, celui-ci, et le saxophone ténor. C'est celui-là.
The alto saxophone, this one, and the tenor saxophone. That's that one
Cap. 5, Alex Terrier: Le saxophone - Part 1


As you can see, the French equivalents of these terms have two different components: the word before the hyphen and the word after the hyphen. In this example, celui is the masculine singular demonstrative pronoun referring to le saxophoneCi and là mean "here" and "there," respectively, but when added as a suffix to celui, they mean "this" and "that." An easy way to remember this distinction is to remember that there is an i in both ci and "this," and an a in both  (note the accent) and "that." 


The demonstrative pronoun changes depending on the number and gender of the word it refers to. Its other forms are celle (feminine singular), ceux (masculine plural), and celles (feminine plural): 

Elle prendra place dans une collection comme celle-ci à l'Assemblée Nationale.
She will take her place in a collection like this one at the National Assembly. 
Cap. 26, Le Journal: Marianne

Donc, tous ceux-là, ce sont des thés verts. 
So all those are green teas. 
Cap. 16, Joanna: Torréfaction du faubourg

Et dans chacune des batteries, on a cent deux cellules comme celles-ci
And in each of the batteries, we have one hundred and two cells like these
Cap. 54, Bateau sport 100% électrique: Le Nautique 196 E


As you can see from the last two examples, the plural forms of these expressions are best translated as simply "these" and "those." 

In more formal language, celui-là/celle-là means "the former," while celui-ci/celle-ci means "the latter":

J'ai un frère et une sœur. Celui-là est professeur et celle-ci est avocate. 
I have one brother and one sister. The former is a teacher and the latter is a lawyer. 


Ci and  can also be attached to nouns as a more demonstrative way of saying "this" and "that," but only when the noun is already preceded by a demonstrative adjective (ce/cet/cette/ces):

Le courant apparemment remonte un petit peu par ce côté-là.
The current apparently goes up a little bit on that side
Cap. 9, À la plage avec Lionel: La plage


Je préfère ces photographies-ci. 
I prefer these photographs. 


If someone were asking your opinion on a collection of photographs, you could also just point to the ones you like and say, Je préfère celles-ci (I prefer these) or, Je préfère celles-là (I prefer those). 

There are even more uses of celui/celle/ceux/celles that we'll save for another lesson. C'est tout pour cette leçon-ci (That's all for this lesson)!

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Terrible or Terrific?

If you’ve been following the latest drama series on Yabla French, Plus belle la vie, you know that Zoé has been fighting to prove her father Stéphane’s innocence after he was identified as a murder suspect. In the most recent episode, Stéphane asks Zoé how she’s holding up when she comes to visit him in prison: 

Comment tu te sens? -Pas terrible. Je sais que c'est pas toi qui as fait ça.
How are you feeling? -Not great. I know it’s not you who did this. 
Cap. 1-2, Plus belle la vie - Episode 2771: Part 2


If Zoé were feeling “not terrible,” that might suggest that she’s doing fairly well, but the rest of the video suggests otherwise. In fact, pas terrible is an idiom meaning “not great.” Though terrible often has a negative sense as it does in English, it can also mean something along the lines of “formidable,” “huge,” or even “terrific”:

J’ai eu une chance terrible cette année.
I’ve been tremendously lucky this year. 


The meaning of terrible really depends on context. So when the narrator of this news segment calls Roman Polanski’s Death and the Maiden un film terrible,” we can assume he’s not giving the movie a bad review, but rather commenting on its harrowing subject matter: 

Une pièce du Chilien Ariel Dorfman, dont Polanski tira un film terrible avec Sigourney Weaver et Ben Kingsley...
A play by the Chilean Ariel Dorfman, which Polanski made into a chilling film with Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley...
Cap. 2-3, TLT Toulouse: Dorfman mis en scène à Toulouse


Though it can be easy for English speakers to misunderstand the meaning of terrible, there are many occasions when it directly translates as "terrible," as in this trailer for Beauty and the Beast:

Lors d'une terrible tempête, le marchand perdit sa fortune.
During a terrible storm, the merchant lost his fortune.
Cap. 3, Bande-annonce: La Belle et La Bête


You might be wondering why we have une terrible tempête here but un film terrible and une chance terrible above. The answer will help you decipher the adjective's meaning: when terrible comes before the noun, it usually means "terrible," but when it comes after the noun, it usually means "tremendous," "formidable," or something similar.


Just double-check whenever you come across it to make sure you aren’t in the midst of une terrible méprise (a terrible misunderstanding)!

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D'où viens-tu?

Our latest video asks the question, D'où vient le nom de la France? (Where does France's name come from?) As you'll learn from the video, the name comes from les Francs (the Franks), the Germanic people who settled in the region in ancient times, when it was known as Gaul.


If you ask a French person, D'où viens-tu? (Where are you from?), he or she might say, Je viens de la France (I come from France). But there are two other ways of saying the same thing:

Je suis français(e).
I am French

Je suis un Français/une Française.
I am a Frenchman/a Frenchwoman.


Here, you can see an important rule that applies to all French demonyms (or words referring to the inhabitants of a place): when used as an adjective (as in the first example), they're written all in lowercase, but when used as a noun (as in the second), their first letter is capitalized. 


You can see this distinction played out in this caption from the video: 

Les plus anciens ancêtres connus des Français sont des peuples gaulois.
The oldest known ancestors of the French are the Gallic people.
Cap. 32, Le saviez-vous: D’où vient le nom de la France? 


While les Français is a noun, gaulois is an adjective. As an alternative, we could rewrite the sentence by flipping the parts of speech and changing the capitalization accordingly:

Les plus anciens ancêtres connus du peuple français sont les Gaulois
The oldest known ancestors of the French people are the Gauls.


On a related note, the names of languages in French are always lowercase: whereas le Français means "the Frenchman," le français means "the French language." And whereas demonyms can change gender and number, language names are always masculine and singular. So you can have le Français (the Frenchman), les Français (the Frenchmen/French people), la Française (the Frenchwoman), and les Françaises (the Frenchwomen), but you can only have le français (the French language).


Finally, another way of answering the question d'où viens-tu is with the expression être originaire de (to be originally from/to be a native of). Aïssa Maïga uses this expression in her video on promoting literacy among girls and women in Senegal: 

Vu le fait que je sois originaire du Sénégal et aussi du Mali...
Seeing as I am originally from Senegal and also from Mali...
Cap. 18, Alphabétisation des filles au Sénégal

Aïssa is a French actress with origins in Senegal and Mali, or in other words: Aïssa est une actrice française, originaire du Sénégal et du Mali. 


For practice, try describing where you're from in French in a few different ways. You can find a thorough list of French demonyms here


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Getting Real with "Réaliser"

In a previous lesson, we explored the words compte and compter, which are used in a wide variety of expressions beyond their most basic meanings (“account” and “to count,” respectively). One of these expressions is se rendre compte, which literally means “to give an account to oneself,” but which is best translated as “to realize”: 

Et bien sûr nous allons aussi nous rendre compte que Metz est une ville riche par son patrimoine, son passé.
And of course we'll also realize that Metz is a rich city through its heritage, its past.
Cap. 14, Lionel à Metz: Part 1


“To realize” also has a French cognate, réaliser. While réaliser can be used as a synonym of se rendre compte, it more often refers to realizing something in the sense of making something a reality, such as a goal or a dream: 

C'est un rêve qui va être chaud à réaliser: c'est pouvoir voir Michael Jackson.
It's a dream that's going to be hard to realize: it's being able to see Michael Jackson.
Cap. 26-27, Micro-Trottoirs: Un rêve récurrent?


While this sense of “to realize” is more of a formal and often technical term, réaliser is more commonly used as a synonym of faire (to make or to do). For example, “to realize a recipe” isn’t as common a phrase in English as réaliser une recette is in French: 

Ben, pour réaliser la recette, ben on a besoin des homards. 
Well, to make this recipe, well, we need some lobsters.
Cap. 23, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano: Médaillon de Homard - Part 1


Margaux and Manon even use réaliser in their definition of faire:

"Faire" veut dire construire ou fabriquer ou réaliser quelque chose de concret, de matériel.
"Faire" means to build or make or achieve something concrete, material.
Cap. 9, Margaux et Manon: Emplois du verbe faire


If you make the verb reflexive, it means "to become reality" or, in the case of wishes and dreams, "to come true":

Tous mes rêves se sont réalisés.
All my dreams came true.


Some other synonyms of réaliser are accomplir (to accomplish), exécuter (to execute, carry out), créer (to create), atteindre (to achieve), and achever (to finish, complete). 


Réaliser is also an important verb in film terminology, meaning “to direct.” In fact, its noun form, réalisateur, specifically means “film director”: 

Alors, c'est le réalisateur qui s'est battu pour elle.
So, it was the director who fought for her.
Cap. 4, Le Journal: Marion Cotillard


You can also use the word cinéaste, or “filmmaker,” instead of réalisateur. A “cineaste” in English is either a filmmaker or a film buff (or both!). 


Another noun form of réaliser is réalisation, which generally means “realization” or “fulfillment,” but can also mean “design” or “creation” in architectural parlance. As France contains a wealth of architectural treasures, you’ll come across this word a lot in Yabla travel videos: 

La réalisation architecturale du parc a été confiée en mille neuf cent quatre-vingt trois.
The park's architectural design was assigned in nineteen eighty-three.
Cap. 8, De nouvelles découvertes avec Marion: Le Parc de la Villette

Et à l'entrée, pour les amateurs d'architecture, il y a cette extraordinaire réalisation Le Corbusier.
And at the entrance, for architecture enthusiasts, there is this extraordinary Le Corbusier creation.
Cap. 11-12, Voyage dans Paris: Le Treizième arrondissement de Paris - Part 2

We hope you realize all of your dreams and goals, whether they’re as small as making a recipe or as large as constructing a building, or as fun as learning French with Yabla!  


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A Free Sampling of French Food and Drink Words

Alessandro is a pique-assiette (freeloader, literally “plate-stealer”) in his latest video, in which he walks down Paris’s Rue Montorgueil to take advantage of all the free samples (des échantillons gratuits) along the street. As the theme of this video is eating and drinking, you’ll find several different words for those two activities besides the standard verbs manger (to eat) and boire (to drink).


One of the great things about the Rue Montorgueil is that you can basically eat an entire meal for free just by sampling all the delicacies (though we encourage you to support the local businesses by making some purchases too!): 

Et on peut déguster tout gratuitement. En fait, on peut se nourrir rue Montorgueil gratuitement.
And you can sample everything for free. In fact, you can eat on Rue Montorgueil for free.
Cap. 10, Cap 24 - Paris 2ème: Alessandro joue le Pique-assiette!


Besides “to sample” or “to taste,” déguster can also mean “to savor” or “to enjoy.” Make sure you don’t confuse it with dégoûter, which has a very different meaning: “to disgust.” On the other hand, goûter is more or less interchangeable with déguster

Allons-y! Nous allons goûter. 
Let's go! We are going to sample.
Cap. 20, Cap 24 - Paris 2ème: Alessandro joue le Pique-assiette!


The noun forms of these two verbs are a bit different, however. Whereas une dégustation is “a tasting” or “a sampling,” un goûter is “a snack” (while le goût refers to a person’s sense of taste or to the flavor of food). 

Se nourrir literally means “to nourish oneself,” but it’s mostly used as a synonym for manger to mean “to eat.” It’s also synonymous with s’alimenter, and both verbs mean “to feed” when they’re non-reflexive (nourrir, alimenter). Alimenter can also mean “to supply,” as in a reservoir that supplies a city with water: 

Il alimente un cinquième à peu près de la ville de Paris en eau naturelle.
It supplies about one-fifth of the city of Paris with natural water.
Cap. 19, Voyage dans Paris: Le Treizième arrondissement de Paris - Part 2


Of course, it's also possible to nourish your soul rather than your stomach, as in the expression se nourrir d'amour et d'eau fraîche (literally, "to nourish oneself with love and fresh water") or vivre d'amour et d'eau fraîche ("to live on love and fresh water"). It corresponds to the English expressions "to live on love alone" or "to be madly in love." It's also a more romantic way of saying "to be irresponsible" or "carefree."


La nourriture is the general word for “food,” while un aliment refers to a piece of food (or a “foodstuff”). And l’alimentation has a wide variety of meanings, including “food,” “feeding,” “groceries,” “supply,” “diet,” and “nutrition.” It's typically used in a broader, more abstract way: 

Tu dois pouvoir bénéficier d'une alimentation suffisante, saine et équilibrée.
You must be able to receive adequate, healthy, and balanced nutrition.
Cap. 18, Marie et Sakhoura: Droits des enfants

Par contre, si vous êtes dans un rythme d'alimentation biologique, vous allez réfléchir à votre consommation.
However, if you're following an organic diet, you're going to think about your consumption.
Cap. 26-27, Alsace 20: Pourquoi le bio est-il plus cher? 


Rue Montorgueil also has a lot to offer in terms of beverages, including some delicious smoothies:

Une fois que vous avez picolé gratuitement les smoothies gratuits, donc les fruits et légumes...
Once you've downed the free smoothies for free, so the fruit and vegetables...
Cap. 15, Cap 24 - Paris 2ème: Alessandro joue le Pique-assiette!


Picoler is a slang term for boire that usually refers to alcoholic beverages, but can also refer to “downing” or “knocking back” any kind of drink. 

The most common slang word for manger is bouffer, which, as a noun, is also a slang word for “food”: 

Quand je réalise que la bouffe est un problème
When I realize that food is a problem
Cap. 25, Oldelaf: Je mange


Oldelaf’s music video is full of food-related vocabulary, as Oldelaf depicts himself not as a mere pique-assiette, but as a total glouton (glutton). The words you learned in this lesson should come in handy in any culinary situation, whether you’re nibbling on free samples in Rue Montorgueil (goûter dans la rue Montorgueuil) or pigging out at home (bouffer à la maison)! 

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Légendes dites urbaines

Our latest Grand Lille TV video focuses on the end of an urban legend: a house in Villeneuve D'Ascq that was said to be haunted is now being torn down. Urban legends are dubious by nature, so speaking about them usually involves expressing some degree of doubt, suspicion, or uncertainty. In fact, the news report on the ex-haunted house in Villeneuve D'Ascq demonstrates a few different ways to express doubt, suspicion, or uncertainty, or simply relay something that may or may not have actually happened. 


The first expression comes in the video title itself, Clap de fin pour la maison dite hantée (End of the so-called haunted house). Un clap de fin is a filmmaking term referring to the clapperboard used to mark the end of a scene. More importantly, the word dite (the feminine singular past participle of dire, "to say") is used here as an adjective meaning "so-called." Think of it as a sort of disclaimer indicating that Grand Lille TV doesn't officially believe the house was haunted. 


But dit as an adjective doesn't always have to be a disclaimer—like "so-called," it can also just refer to a commonly used name for something. Since it's an adjective, it always agrees in gender and number with the noun it modifies:

C'est un petit peu le cœur du quartier dit de la nouvelle Athènes.
It's kind of the heart of the so-called "Nouvelle Athènes" (New Athens) neighborhood.
Cap. 16, Voyage dans Paris: Le 10ème Arrondissement - Part 2


The next expression tells us the source of the alleged haunting using a tricky verb conjugation:

La présence d'un fantôme d'un enfant qui aurait été tué par ses parents à l'époque
The presence of the ghost of a child who had supposedly been killed by his parents at the time
Cap. 5, Grand Lille TV: Clap de fin pour la maison dite hantée


What we're dealing with here (besides a heartbreaking story) is the past conditional tense (also called the "conditional perfect"). It's formed by combining the conditional form of the auxiliary verb (avoir or être) with the past participle of the main verb. In this example, we actually have two past participles (été and tué) because the sentence is in the passive voice ("been killed"). 


The French conditional usually corresponds to the word "would": un enfant qui aurait été tué literally means "a child who would have been killed." But, as we discussed in a previous lesson, the conditional is also used to relate an uncertain fact or event, in which case it's often translated using words like "supposedly," "reportedly," or "apparently" without the conditional "would." We can tell that this is the best translation of the past conditional here because "a child who would have been killed" doesn't make sense in the context of the video. In general, context is key for determining whether the French conditional is a "true conditional" ("would be") or an expression of doubt or uncertainty ("is supposedly"). 


Our last two expressions are packed into one caption: 

C'était soi-disant... une maison qui... devait être hantée. 
It was a so-called... a house that... was supposed to be haunted.
Cap. 13, Grand Lille TV: Clap de fin pour la maison dite hantée


First we have another word for "so-called," soi-disant, which is also used in English (as in "a soi-disant artist," or a self-proclaimed artist). Unlike the adjective dit, which goes after the noun, soi-disant goes before the noun (une soi-disant maison hantée, "a so-called haunted house") and doesn't change in gender or number. 


The speaker hesitated a bit here and chose not to use soi-disant in the end. Instead, he used the verb devoir, which usually means "to have to" or "must," but can also mean "to be supposed to," both in the sense of having a duty and of supposedly being or doing something. Incidentally, soi-disant can also be used as an adverb meaning "supposedly," so the speaker also could have said, une maison qui était soi-disant hantée (a house that was supposedly haunted).


For practice, try finding some straightforward sentences expressing a fact and turn them into expressions of doubt, suspicion, or uncertainty using the examples above. Beginners can play around with dit and soi-disant, while more advanced learners can tackle the past conditional. As an alternative, try writing about your favorite urban legend in French! 

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Ennui: Bothered with Boredom

Oldelaf’s latest song featured on Yabla, “Vendredi” (Friday), is a sort of satirical ode to boring weekends: 

Je m'ennuie
am bored
Je me sens tout chose
I feel peculiar
Cap. 41, Oldelaf: interprète “Vendredi”

You might have been able to guess that je m’ennuie means “I am bored” here because it contains the word ennui, which the English language borrowed from the French as a synonym for “boredom.” But in French, l’ennui and its related words don’t only have to do with being bored. They can also involve being bothered, worried, troubled, or annoyed. In this lesson, we’ll see how these multiple meanings play out—and we promise it won’t be boring!

First, there’s l’ennui, which usually just means “boredom”:

Je meurs d’ennui.
I’m dying of boredom.

However, if you pluralize l’ennui (les ennuis), you don’t get “boredoms,” but “problems” or “troubles”:

On évite certains ennuis 
We avoid certain problems
Cap. 16, Le Village de la Bière: Ceci n’est pas un bar!


Quant à Socrate, il a de sérieux ennuis. 
As for Socrates, he has serious troubles.
Cap. 27, Il était une fois… l’Homme: 6. Le siècle de Périclès - Part 6


(Speaking of philosophers with ennui(s), there's also l'ennui pascalien, or "Pascalian ennui," named after the seventeenth-century polymath Blaise Pascal. It corresponds to the notion of "existential ennui" in English.)


As we saw in the first example, the reflexive verb s’ennuyer means “to be bored.” But the non-reflexive verb ennuyer can either mean “to bore” or “to bother”:

Ça vous ennuie que je vous photographie?
Will it bother you that I photograph you?
Cap. 36, Le Journal: Marion Cotillard


Marc ennuie ses enfants avec ses longues histoires.
Marc is boring his kids with his long stories.


You’ll have to pay attention to context to determine whether ennuyer means “to bore” or “to bother.” In the case of the examples above, taking a photo of someone is probably more likely to bother them than bore them, and kids are probably more likely to be bored than bothered by their dad’s long stories. That said, sometimes ennuyer can have both meanings at once. For example, you could say that Marc is bothering his kids by boring them with his long stories. You could also say that he is annoying them—in fact, the word “annoy” is etymologically related to the word “ennui,” which should make this additional meaning of ennuyer easier to remember.

Context is also key with other ennui derivatives like ennuyeux/ennuyeuse (boring, annoying, tiresome) and ennuyé(e) (bored, annoyed, worried):

Y a rien à dire
There’s nothing to say 
C'est ennuyeux 
It's boring
Cap. 40, Melissa Mars Music Videos: Et Alors!


Toutes ses questions sont vraiment ennuyeuses.
All his questions are really annoying.


On peut être fasciné, agacé, déçu, énervé par le ton, captivé par l'intrigue ou tout bêtement ennuyé...
We can be fascinated, annoyed, disappointed, upset by the tone, captivated by the plot, or, quite simply, bored...
Cap. 29-30, Manon et Clémentine: Vocabulaire du livre


Tu as l’air ennuyé. Mais ne t’inquiète pas! Tout ira bien.
You look concerned. But don’t worry! Everything will be all right.


Hopefully you aren’t bored, annoyed, bothered, or worried at the moment, but if you are, Oldelaf’s new video is a perfect antidote to all the various shades of ennui!

And for more information on the usage and history of the word "ennui" in English, check out this interesting article

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D'ailleurs, je vais ailleurs

Ailleurs is an adverb with a few different meanings. By itself, ailleurs means “elsewhere,” in both a literal and figurative sense:  

On te souhaite, ben, beaucoup de réussite, su tu vas en Australie ou ailleurs

We wish you, well, a great deal of success, whether you go to Australia, or elsewhere.

Cap. 80, 4 Mains pour 1 Piano: Médaillon de Homard - Part 3

Désolé, je n’ai pas entendu la question. J’avais la tête ailleurs.

Sorry, I didn’t hear the question. My mind was elsewhere. 

You can also find ailleurs in the more absolute phrases nulle part ailleurs (nowhere else) and partout ailleurs (everywhere else): des poissons qu'on ne trouve nulle part ailleurs.

...and fish that one cannot find anywhere else.

Cap. 15, Le Journal: L’île de Pâques

La situation s’améliore partout ailleurs.

The situation is improving everywhere else.

Ailleurs can also be found in two common phrases that are used to add extra information to a topic. The first of these is par ailleurs (otherwise, additionally): 

La préfecture du Rhône a par ailleurs mis en place un centre d'appel 

Additionally, the Rhône Prefecture has set up a call center

Cap. 28, Le Journal: La grippe aviaire - Part 2

The second phrase, d’ailleurs, has a wide range of meanings: 

C'est un très bon vin et d'ailleurs je vous conseille de le boire.

It's a very good wine and I recommend that you drink it, for that matter.

Cap. 4, Actu Vingtième: Vendanges parisiennes

C'est d'ailleurs lui qui préface le livre.​

He's the one who prefaces the book, by the way.

Cap. 10, Alsace 20: 100 recettes pour 100 vins

Un très beau lieu d’ailleurs.

A very beautiful place, incidentally.

Cap. 66, LCM - Concert: La Folia à l’abbaye Saint-Victor

Both d’ailleurs and par ailleurs can be placed pretty much anywhere in a sentence. For instance, we could easily move the phrases from the middle of the sentence to the beginning in the examples above: 

Par ailleurs, la préfecture du Rhône a mis en place un centre d’appel

D’ailleurs, c’est lui qui préface le livre.

An easy way to learn the difference between these very similar phrases is to learn synonyms for them. Par ailleurs is generally synonymous with d’autre part and d’un autre côté (otherwise, on the other hand), while d’ailleurs is synonymous with du reste (furthermore), en outre (besides), and de plus (moreover). In other words, while d’ailleurs tends to be used to confirm what was previously said, par ailleurs is more often used to contradict it or provide an alternative. 

That pretty much covers all the uses of this word, but if you’re interested in looking ailleurs for some more translations and example sentences, this Larousse entry is a handy summary of everything we mentioned above.


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Jamais: Never, Ever, Forever

The French word jamais usually means “never,” in the negative construction ne… jamais:

On nous dit que les bus ne sont jamais à l'heure.
They tell us that the buses are never on time.
Cap. 11, Cap 24: Les bus sont-ils toujours en retard?


Technically, jamais only means “never” when it’s attached to a ne (though the ne is sometimes dropped in informal speech). An easy way to remember that the French word for “never” is actually two words is to note that “never” is just another way of saying “not ever,” which is the literal translation of ne jamais. But jamais doesn't always have a negative meaning, and sometimes is better translated as “ever.” In fact, as with the word “ever,” there are plenty of instances in which jamais can be used by itself (without the ne) to have a positive meaning. 


Cyril uses jamais in this way two times while showing us some of his impressive rollerblading skills: 

Le plus gros trick que j'aie jamais fait...
The greatest trick that I ever did...
Cap. 7, Cap 24: Démonstration de roller freestyle

Si jamais on a envie d'aller skater là-bas...
If we ever feel like going to skate over there...
Cap. 18, Cap 24: Démonstration de roller freestyle


Si jamais is a very common expression that usually is not broken up, like “if ever” is (which is why you have si jamais on a envie instead of si on a jamais envie above, but “if we ever feel” instead of “if ever we feel”).


Another common expression is plus que jamais, “more than ever”: 

Les oiseaux sont plus que jamais sous haute surveillance.
More than ever, the birds are under high surveillance.
Cap. 30, Le Journal: La grippe aviaire - Part 1 


Don’t confuse this with the negative expression ne… plus jamais (never again), which Charles-Baptiste uses extensively (in an inverted form) in his love song “Sale type” (Dirty Guy):

Plus jamais je ne me couperai les cheveux depuis que tu as mis tes mains dedans
Never again will I cut my hair since you put your hands in it
Cap. 6-7, Charles-Baptiste: Sale type 


The opposite of ne… jamais is toujours (always, forever), but sometimes jamais can be used as a synonym for toujours in more formal or poetic contexts (just as “ever” can be a synonym of “always”). 

Singer Ina-Ich waxes lyrical with the expression à jamais (forever) in her song “Libre comme l’eau”:

À jamais libre comme le vent
Forever free like the wind
Cap. 55, Ina-Ich: Libre comme l’eau


A similar expression meaning “forever” is pour jamais, which is a more formal version of pour toujours. And if you really want to emphasize eternalness, you can use à tout jamais (forever and ever). 


To summarize, let’s take the old adage “never say never” and apply it to jamaisjamais sometimes “says never,” sometimes says “ever,” and sometimes says “forever.” But it never, ever says anything else!  

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