Top 12 French mistakes on which we are taken back, when we shouldn’t

Ahhhh, our little readers… We love you, you know? It doesn’t matter which team you belong to. Whether you are one of the overly cutesy ones (98% of you, of course), of those who have been hacked and who kindly invite us to come and discover their uc site, the somewhat venerable ones who don’t understand why we don’t don’t like Zemmour, and finally, the French teachers. Always in good shape and full of good vibes to kindly remind us that ” Damn, the shits, there, we say “on time for me”, not “as much”, do your job a little well”. I plead guilty… Often, they are right. But not always ! Yes, some “errors” that tear the eyes of the most hefty in spelling, are actually correct!

1. “So much for me”

This is one of the most controversial and polemical expressions in the French language: “au tant pour moi”, or “au temps pour moi”? Well… Both. Finally, it depends on whether you are a purist who trusts the French Academy without faith or law, or not. “Au temps pour moi” comes from the military world. The phrase was used to command the resumption of a movement from the beginning. The meaning “it is to be repeated” then gives rise to the expression, to admit an error. This is the version accepted by the French Academy.

For their part, the protesters, including the Belgian grammarian Maurice Grevisse or the writer Claude Duneton, defend “as much for me”, with a slight nuance all the same. Written this way, the expression must be understood “I have as many errors as you in my service”. We can therefore consider that the two expressions co-exist, without meaning exactly the same thing. So much for me, if I offend some of our readers, hihi. (Source.)

Picture credits: Topito

2. “Despite”

I say. Your ears are bleeding, your eyes are crying tears of blood, and you are on the verge of leaving this top to go and post a murderous comment, crying out for a crime against the French language. I understand you a little, deep down (even if nothing legitimizes such violence), but wait a bit for me to explain!

“Despite that” is only used in very specific cases. Already, it is a fairly sustained form of language. Then, the formula is always followed by the verb to have in the subjunctive. ” Although there is. »« Although she had some. »« Although I have. » : it’s correct. On the other hand, it is never, ever used to replace “although” or “although”. (Source.)

3. “On the other hand”

« Ahhhh sacred time, huh! These young people can no longer speak, Michel! » Well, think again, my dear Michel. The phrase “on the other hand” is much older than you might think: it was first attested in the 16th century, in the writings of the reformer John Calvin. The expression never bothered anyone until… Voltaire, who strongly criticized it in the 18th century. Following, Émile Littré, in his Dictionary of the French language, confirms Voltaire’s position, while admitting that it “can be justified grammatically”. Yeah. Blur, what. Following, André Gide, great writer and Nobel Prize for Literature, defends its existence. Same thing for Grevisse, also in agreement with its use, who takes the opportunity to remind that names like Stendhal, Maupassant, Saint-Exupéry or Malraux have adopted it. In short, a long story to come to the conclusion that: no, “on the other hand”, admitted in the current register, does not constitute a fault in French.

4. “Paris is beautiful”

The gender of city names is a rather complicated matter. Generally, we consider that we use the feminine for cities ending in “e” or “es” dumb, such as Rome, Brussels or Toulouse. In the other cases, the masculine prevails. Logically, we should therefore say “Paris” and therefore… “Paris is beautiful”!

On the other hand, Paris is often associated with feminine terms, such as “city” or “capital”, which leads to the feminization of the name. In and of itself, no one is wrong in this story, both are acceptable and logical. Even the sages of the French Academy have not settled the question, that is to say!

5. “It’s my native language”

« Euuuuuuh… You mean “native language”, rather, right? ». Oh no! Indeed, it means the same thing, but both exist. Although “native language” is much less pleasing to the ear, it designates, like “mother tongue” or “first language”, the first dialect learned by a person, from childhood.

6. “It ensued”

The French Academy is formal on the issue! We write “it followed” and not “it followed”, just as we say “he followed” and not “he followed”. The verb “to ensue” is defined by “to arise, to result”: no reason, therefore, to write it in three words. Did you know that, or are you on your ass here? (Source.)

7. “You set the bar high”

In fact, it’s not just a “fault” that isn’t one: it’s also and above all the way we should all pronounce the expression. You’ll be shocked, but… “Setting the bar high” is totally incorrect! Indeed, in this sentence, “high” is an adverb that completes the verb. We also say “hands down”, and not “hands down”. To say “high” the word would have to be an attribute of the subject, as in “the bar is high”. Is it clear, or is it not clear? (Source.)

8. A “Phantasy”

So I’m not telling you to use that spelling, I’m just saying yes, it exists. Rest assured, the vast majority of people prefer to write it with an “f” (and we thank them). After… Come to think of it… “Fantasme” comes from the Greek “phantasma”, which is spelled “ph”. So… “Phantasy”… It’s not so funny!

9. “The most beautiful”

In some cases, this is indeed the form to use! In front of a relative superlative adjective (kamoulox) like “the most” or “the least”, and if there is a comparison between different degrees or states of the same thing, the article remains invariable! Having trouble understanding? If you compare the beauty of a rose at different times of the day: you are comparing the states of the same thing. So you have to write It is in the morning that the rose is the most beautiful ». If the comparison is made between different entities, the question no longer arises, we grant “ This rose is the most beautiful of all roses. ».


10. “Know” (yes, without circumflex accent!)

When the French Academy wrote its first dictionary at the end of the 17th century, two spellings were accepted for this verb: cognoistre and connoistre. This is the second writing that remains. Over time, the “s” is replaced by a “^”, which gives: to know, and finally “to know” in 1935. But the story does not stop there! In 1990, the Superior Council of the French language proposed to remove the circumflex accents on the “i” and the “u”. Since then, you normally don’t need to bother looking for that damn accent on your keyboard anymore, “know” being a completely correct form of the word!


11. “The Cold”

It’s very ugly, but it’s French. Open your dictionary, you will see! According to Robert, “Coldness, nf: Great winter cold”. I know a few who go to bed less stupid tonight!

12. Un “aunty fart”

Good, ok, there, I push an open door a little, since everyone knows it. At the same time, it’s really the argument put forward in all the discussions of darons to say that the world is going to hell, isn’t it? ” No, but you realize, Sylvie! Water lily with an “f”! Why not an elephant, too? Ah no, but the kids, today, they write like on their semeusseux (“SMS” in the language of more than 50 years)! “I understand that it hurts, but that’s how it is. And even if we have the impression that it’s a recent phenomenon, in connection with the texting generation (“TEXTO generation textooooo”, the real ones know) it’s actually much older than that! Before 1935, “water lily” was written with an “f”. The reason: etymologically, the word comes from the Persian “nilufar”. So which generation is changing the rules now? Eh ?

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