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Here and Now – More useful French expressions Posted by on Feb 12, 2019 in Grammar, Vocabulary

Last June I wrote a post with common terms for describing où et quand (where and when) things happen. This week we’ll explore some more useful time and place terms (and enjoy a new song from the French musician/group Yelle).

Ici ou ailleurs

Français English
there (or here, depending on the context)
there / over there
Elsewhere / somewhere else
n’importe* où 
nulle part 

As noted, can mean either here or there. It is actually used for here even more commonly than ici which is reserved, generally, for locations very close to the speaker and that can be shown. The expression là-bas on the other hand, is used for indicating things that are further away or to show direction.

Let’s look at some examples.

Français English
Viens ici pour que je te montre mon nouveau livre. 
Come here so I can show you my new watch.
Qui est là ? 
Who’s there?
Je suis là. 
I am here.
J’adore Paris. Je veux retourner là-bas bientôt.  
I love Paris. I want to go back there soon.
J’aime bien le New Hampshire, mais parfois j’aimerais bien vivre ailleurs. 
I like New Hampshire, but sometimes I’d like to live somewhere else.
– Ou est-ce que tu veux manger ? – N’importe où. 
– Where do you want to eat? – Anywhere
La voiture qui a percuté le piéton est arrivé de nulle part ! 
The car that hit the pedestrian came out of nowhere!

Maintenant ou jamais                

Français English
n’importe quand 
Whenever / anytime
à n’importe quel moment 
at any moment

Let’s look at some examples.

Français English
Avant j’avais un chien, mains maintenant j’ai un chat. 
Before I had a dog, but now I have a cat.
Pierre ne mange jamais ses légumes ! 
Peter never eats his vegetables!
Viens n’importe quand. On sera là tout le week-end. 
Come anytime. We’ll be home all weekend.
Range ta chambre ! Mamie pourrait arriver à n’importe quel moment. 
Clean your room! Grammie could show up at any moment.

Et pour finir / Finally

Sometimes life feels like just a little troptoo much. Est-ce que ça vous arrive à vous de vous sentir comme ça des fois?!! (Do you ever have those days when you feel like this?)

You can enjoy another Yelle song with lyrics and translation here.

* n’importe is a useful expression all by itself. The indefinite expression which means no matter can be used with interrogative pronouns (qui, que), interrogative adjectives (quel, quelle, quels, quelles), and interrogative adverbs (quand, comment, pourquoi, ou, combien) to make all sorts of useful phrases like n’importe qui (no matter who/anyone), n’importe lequel (no matter which), or n’importe comment (no matter how/anyway).  


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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris

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