French expressions provide insights into both language and culture. From wise sayings like ‘L’habit ne fait pas le moine’ to confident affirmations like ‘Je te donne mon billet pour ça,’ these idioms offer glimpses into everyday life. In this blog, we’ll explore a curated collection of these expressive French phrases commonly encountered in language exams.

1. Avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre

This expression means “to have your cake and eat it too.” It shows enjoying the benefits of two choices at once. It implies wanting to keep all advantages without giving up one for the other, even if they seem contradictory.

Par exemple,

Elle veut garder son travail à temps plein tout en passant plus de temps avec sa famille. Elle veut avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.

(She wants to keep her full-time job while spending more time with her family. She wants to have her cake and eat it too.)

2. L’habit ne fait pas le moine

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” advises against forming opinions based solely on appearances. It suggests that someone’s outward appearance might not reflect their true nature or character accurately.

Par exemple,

Ne te laisse pas tromper par son apparence négligée. L’habit ne fait pas le moine.

(Don’t let yourself be fooled by his sloppy appearance. The habit doesn’t make the monk.)

3. Je te donne mon billet pour ça

This phrase means “I promise.” It’s a strong assurance, showing confidence and reliability in what one is saying.

Par exemple, 

Je te donne mon billet que je serai là à l’heure demain matin.

(I give you my word that I will be there on time tomorrow morning.)

4. Ça tombe bien alors !/ Ça roule !

“Ça tombe bien alors !” means “That works out well!” It expresses convenience or luck. “Ça roule !” means “It’s rolling!” It indicates that things are going smoothly or well. Both phrases convey positivity and contentment about the current situation or events.

Par exemple,

A : Tu as oublié ton parapluie, mais il ne pleut pas aujourd’hui. (You forgot your umbrella, but it’s not raining today.)

B : Ça tombe bien alors ! / Ça roule ! (That works out well!)

5. Ne te tracasse pas / Ne te prends pas la tête !

Both phrases encourage a relaxed approach to situations. “Ne te tracasse pas” means “Don’t worry about it,” while “Ne te prends pas la tête” translates to “Don’t overthink it.” They advise against stressing or overanalyzing a situation.

Par exemple,

Tu as fait une petite erreur, mais ce n’est pas grave. Ne te tracasse pas./ Ne te prends pas le tête !
(You made a small mistake, but it’s not a big deal. Don’t worry about it.)

6. Arrondir ses fins de mois

This expression means “to make ends meet.” It signifies the effort to supplement income or manage expenses effectively to cover necessary costs by the end of the month.

Par exemple,

Malgré les dépenses imprévues, ils arrivent toujours à arrondir leurs fins de mois grâce à leur budget strict.

(Despite unexpected expenses, they always manage to make ends meet thanks to their strict budget.)

7. Améliorer son ordinaire

To improve one’s everyday life means making positive changes in routine or daily habits to enhance overall quality of life.

Par exemple,

Elle a décidé de commencer à faire de l’exercice régulièrement pour améliorer son ordinaire.
(She decided to start exercising regularly to improve her everyday life.)

8. Avoir un complément de revenu

This means “to have an additional source of income.” It denotes having an extra or supplementary financial source, contributing to financial stability or flexibility.

Par exemple,

“Pour avoir un complément de revenu, il a décidé de travailler comme chauffeur de taxi le soir.

(To have an additional source of income, he decided to work as a taxi driver in the evenings.)

9. Augmenter ses ressources

This phrase means “to increase one’s resources.” It includes the idea of expanding available resources, such as finances, materials, or personal skills.

Par exemple,

Pour augmenter leurs ressources, ils ont décidé d’investir dans de nouvelles technologies et de former leur personnel.
(To increase their resources, they decided to invest in new technologies and train their staff to improve efficiency at work.)

10. Arrondir son portefeuille

This expression means “to increase one’s money.” It implies adding to one’s financial reserves or having more money.

Par exemple,

En travaillant des heures supplémentaires ce mois-ci, j’ai réussi à arrondir mon portefeuille.

(Working overtime this month helped me boost my wallet.)

French idioms provide valuable insights into language and life, serving as cultural gems. By embracing these phrases, we enhance our language skills and connect with the richness of French culture. Let’s keep using these vibrant expressions to deepen our understanding of both the language and its diverse cultural nuances.

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