Why Do the French Say Putain so Much? (And How to Use It Right)

Meaning of Putain, the French's favorite curse word

Have you ever had  a moment when you felt like you really, truly had become French? One of mine was the time I was having a bad day and then dropped something on my toe and hollered “PUTAIN!” That’s not a joke. As an English-speaker, I tend to utter pain- and frustration -induced obscenities in …

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These Are the Surprising Differences Between Christmas in France and Abroad

French people tend to exchange gifts on the night of Christmas Eve (le réveillon (de Noël)), rather than on Christmas Day (Noël/le jour de Noël.)

The holiday season is upon us, which means you might be wondering how to wish the French-speakers (and/or fellow French students) you know, “Happy Holidays” in French. Or maybe, as you go about celebrating your own culture’s traditions, you’re wondering what the winter holidays are like in France. Is what you’ve learned in French class …

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What you need to know before you wish someone a happy birthday in French

happy birthday

There are some cultural details we take for granted. If you’ve ever celebrated classmates’ birthdays in your French class, or seen a French movie or TV show where there was a birthday, you might think you’ve got French birthday traditions down pat. Then there may come a day when you’re invited to a French person’s …

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Bonjour and beyond: How to say hello in French

hello in French

Ask just about anyone how to say “Hello” in French, and they’ll know. Bonjour is one of the most famous greetings in the world. Regardless of what language you watch it in, the untranslated word is even used to set the scene in the iconic opening song of Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast”!  But …

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16 Ways to Say Congratulations in French (And Sound like a Local)

congratulations in French

During my year studying abroad in Paris, I had a course on French films that was a real challenge. When I got back my final essay, the professor looked at me with a smile.  Chapeau, he said. My face must have looked blank. Why had he said “Hat” to me?  I wracked my brain – …

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6 French Greetings Faux-Pas That Make You Sound Rude

French greeting

Greeting French people the way you greet American, British or even Spanish people is a recipe for disaster. You see, the French follow a strange greeting ritual and breaking its unspoken rules is guaranteed to land you into the “rude tourist” category. Luckily, greeting the French like a local is simple once you know a few …

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