These are, of course, the idiomatic expressions that add a touch of whimsy and are so important for expressing yourself like a native speaker. Some of them can be understood by comparison with other languages. Others, however, require a little explanation, which just goes to show how inseparable French classes and French culture are. What are the most popular French idiomatic expressions? What precise meaning should they have, and in what situations should they be used? How can we distinguish between expressions in the informal register? Are there any tips for getting to know more French idioms? 

Popular idiomatic expressions 

It works! These expressions are used by the French in oral communication, often informally. It works!  is used to say that an object is working properly, or to express consent in an informal way. For example, I dropped my cell phone and it doesn’t work anymore. Similarly, if a friend asks you, how would you like to see a movie tonight? You might reply, it works for tonight!

Long time no see! I bumped into my old work colleague on the street – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen him! If you decide to take French courses in France, there’s a good chance you’ll hear this expression in conversation. A bail, in the literal sense, is a rental contract that often extends over a long period of time, which is why the phrase is used to refer to an event that took place a long time ago.

Take a look: Rest assured: this expression is not meant to be taken literally! Take a look simply means to take a quick, discreet look at something. “He couldn’t stop glancing at his watch because his math lesson seemed interminable.

Catching a rake: Have you ever inadvertently stepped on a rake lying around in your garden? If so, you know the feeling isn’t very pleasant. This expression is part of the informal register and is used when the person you’ve tried to seduce refuses your advances. For those who prefer to use more proper language, getting turned down is the formal equivalent of this expression.

The meaning of Telling salads and other food expressions 

Telling salads: How can you associate misleading words with a dish? As everyone knows, a mixed salad is an assortment of ingredients that form an easy-to-taste whole. What’s more, you can add a little bit of everything and season it to your liking to tempt gourmands. Figuratively speaking, the expression refers to intentionally lying!

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