So Many Confusing Pairs! Encore vs. Toujours

Posted on 01. Oct, 2015 by in Grammar

T'as toujours pas appris la différence entre toujours et encore ? Image courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 on Flickr.

T’as toujours pas appris la différence entre toujours et encore ?
Image courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 on Flickr.

Continuing this week with another post in the confusing pairs series, today we’re going to look at 2 little words that can have 10 English meanings. Their usage overlaps in some cases, so it’s very easy to mix the two up.

Si vous n’avez pas encore deviné les 2 mots (If you haven’t already guessed the 2 words), allow me to tell you: I’m referring to the adverbs encore and toujours. These 2 words can mean again, always, another, anyhow, anyway, at least, even, more, still, and yet in English. We’re going to look at each word individually and then together to see which one to use when their meanings overlap.



Encore in English can be translated as again even, another, and more (also yet and still – but those are below in their own section).

     Joseph a encore séché les cours !
     Joseph skipped class again!

     Le chocolat était trop bon. J’en veux encore !
The chocolate was so good. I want more.
     (can also mean ‘another’ if the noun is countable)

     Elle est encore plus belle que ce que je pensais.
     She’s even prettier than I thought!



Toujours in English can be translated as always and anyhow, anyway, and at least (also yet and still – but those are below in their own section).

     Karine est toujours occupée.
     Karine is always busy.

     Anyway/Anyhow/At least
     C’est cher, mais ça sera toujours utile.
     It’s expensive, but it’ll be useful, anyway.


Encore vs. Toujours

And now the fun part. I mean, if you like grammar, anyway. But this isn’t bad! Encore and toujours can both mean yet and still, but one or the other may be used depending on the environment. Let’s take a look.


This word can be translated as toujours and encore, though toujours is more accurate.

     Je suis toujours au bureau.
     I’m still at the office.

     Je suis encore au bureau.
     I’m still at the office. * BUT ALSO I’m at the office again.
     *This helps to explain why toujours is a bit more accurate.

Let’s take a closer look at how using encore instead of toujours can imply slightly different things. Let’s look at the very simple sentence “Il pleut” with one of the adverbs thrown in there.

     Il pleut encore can mean it rained but it stopped before raining again.
     Il pleut toujours can mean it’s still raining (meaning it hasn’t stopped)

Use encore if you’re modifying an adjective (quoi??? a word used to describe or qualify a person, place, thing, or idea).

     Il est encore plus grand que ma taille.
     He’s still taller than I am.


If you’re using “yet” in a negative context but it’s still interchangeable with “still,” you’ll want to use toujours pas or pas encore (note that toujours is before the pas!). If you want to use “yet” in a positive sense (as in: Have you tried this cocktail yet?), you’ll want to use déjà.

     Attends ! Je ne suis pas encore prête !
     Attends ! Je ne suis toujours pas prête !

     Wait! I’m not ready yet!

Chasing The Sun – L’Heure D’Hiver

Posted on 30. Sep, 2015 by in Culture

Photo by icolo J on Flickr.

Photo by icolo J on Flickr.

Last week was l’équinoxe d’automne (the autumnal equinox) marking shorter days and colder weather. It also marks la saison des moissons (the harvest season) and many holidays across the world. However, there’s one tradition d’automne (autumn tradition) that is annoying for everyone involved.

L’heure d’hiver
Standard time

En automne on gagne une heure (you gain an hour in autumn). The shifting clocks sont un casse-tête pour tout le monde (give everyone a headache) while people spend a week trying to wake up at a new time. Malheureusement, c’est encore plus compliqué (unfortunately it’s even more complicated) between France and the US.

I live in France, but mes parents habitent en Floride (my parents live in Florida). Normally, le décalage horaire est de six heures (there’s a six hour time difference) between France and the US East Coast, and heureusement (thankfully) that’s easy to figure out on a 24 hour clock.

There’s a period in autumn when the US falls back, but France still uses l’heure d’été (daylight-saving time) creating a 7 hour time difference between the two countries. Le décalage horaire (the time difference) lasts long enough to get used to before France falls back as well.

Le passage à l’heure d’hiver (the transition to standard time) happens on le dernier dimanche d’octobre (the last Sunday of October) in France and on le premier dimanche de novembre (the first Sunday of November) in (most) of the US. Having to figure out all these time changes is un casse-tête, and only gets worse when travel is involved!

French Rules of Capitalization

Posted on 27. Sep, 2015 by in Uncategorized


There are quite a few differences between capitalization in English and in French. You may have already noticed that the first person singular pronoun “I” is not capitalized in French except at the beginning of a sentence. For example, you would write: “Je t’aime,” but “Tu sais que je t’aime.”

Ok, this seems pretty obvious, right? But there are quite a few other differences as well. In general, French words are not capitalized as often as in English, even in titles of published works. For a list of useful French capitalization rules, see below:

  • Months and days of the year are not capitalized: janvier, février, mars, avril, mai, juin, juillet, août, septembre, octobre, novembre, décembre and lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi, samedi, dimanche. 
  • Religions are not capitalized: This also holds true to adjectives referring to religious groups. For example: Christian and chrétien, Muslim and musulman, Jew and juif. There are three exceptions to this rule: l’Islam is always capitalized (although le christianisme et le judaïsme are not) and the adjectives Hindou and Bouddhiste are always capitalized as well.
  • Nationalities and languages are not capitalized (unless they are proper nouns): French and le français, Spanish and l’espagnol. “I have a French friend” would become j’ai un ami français. However, if the nationality is used as a proper noun, then it is capitalized in French. For example: “I spoke with an American man today” would become j’ai parlé avec un Américain aujourd’hui.
  • Titles in front of a Proper Noun: For example, in English we would say Professor Smith, because this is a title preceding a proper noun. In French, however, it not be capitalized: le professeur Smith.
  • But…titles in French are capitalized differently than in English: This can get somewhat complicated. In English, important words and words that are over a certain length are normally capitalized in titles. There seems to be less agreement in French. However, an easy rule to remember is that the first word is always capitalized, along with the second word if the first word is an article. So, this would give: Les Misérables or Les Fleurs du mal. Importantly, if another word has the same weight as the first capitalized word, than that would be capitalized, too. Here’s an example of this: Dostoyevsky’s Crime et Chatîment. Because these two words (“crime” and “punishment”) are separated by a conjunction and bear equal weight in the sentence, they are both capitalized.
  • French family names are normally in all caps for official documents: Often, when writing one’s surname on official documents, the French will write their last name in all caps. For example: Pierre RICHARD or Victor HUGO.

Do you have any other questions about capitalization that I may have left out? Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you.