Today, We’re French!

You already know that your Guru loves the English language. One of the many reasons is that it is such a rich language, with many words taken from other languages such as Sanskrit, French, Hebrew, Danish, German, Latin, Greek … and the list goes on. The great benefit of all this is that we have many different words to differentiate the subtle nuances of the same thing (think cold, frosty, wintry, arctic, bitter, chilly, icy, polar, freezing, etc.).

Today, I want to share some words and phrases taken from French that you can use to spice up your everyday communication, along with some examples of how you might use them in your workplace.

après. After. “Let’s talk about this après the meeting.”
au contraire. On the contrary. “Au contraire, the new software package works perfectly. You just don’t know how to use it.”
au courant. Up to date; current. “If you read our blog, you’d stay au courant about our company.”
bête noire. Someone who is particularly disliked. “That guy in Accounting who does expense reports is my bête noire.”
bon voyage. Farewell; literally, good journey. “We all joined together to wish Ben a bon voyage when he left on his retirement cruise.”
bon mot. A witty remark. “I had to stifle the bon mot that came into my mind during the meeting.”
bon vivant. A person who lives luxuriously. “On this salary, I can live the life of a bon vivant!
c’est la vie. That’s life. “‘C’est la vie,’ he exclaimed, watching the value of his 401(k) drop another thousand.”
carte blanche. Complete freedom to act on one’s own. “I give you carte blanche with this new project – whatever you think is best.”
cause célèbre. Any incident that attracts public attention. “This new widget will be a cause célèbre among our clients.”
chez nous. At our place. “Come for dinner on Friday chez nous.”
comme ci, comme ça. So-so. “When asked whether the new marketing plan was a sure winner, he had to reply, ‘Comme ci, comme ça.’“
comme il faut. In keeping with etiquette or social standards; appropriate. “Removing your hat when you get to work is definitely comme il faut.”
crème de la crème. The best of its kind. “This new widget is the crème de la crème of all widgets ever made.”
cordon bleu. High quality. “Our company cafeteria isn’t quite what you’d call cordon bleu.”
coup de grâce. Finishing blow. “The VP delivered the coup de grâce when he fired the whole marketing team.”
cri de couer. Heartfelt appeal. “The marketing team then made a final cri de couer to keep their jobs.”
déjà vu. The feeling of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time. “Getting fired seemed so familiar, I had a strong feeling of déjà vu.”
dilettante. Someone without formal training in the field he or she practices. “You marketing people have no idea what you’re doing – you’re just dilettantes.”
du jour. Prepared on that particular day; current or fashionable. “I wonder what the crisis du jour will be in accounting today?”
en route. On the way. “I’ll be there shortly; I’m en route now.”
entre nous. Between us. “Let’s keep this client information entre nous.”
esprit de corps. Team spirit. “What have we got at this company if it isn’t esprit de corps?”
fait accompli. An accomplished fact, considered irreversible. “She had already signed the document; her collusion in the marketing scheme was a fait accompli.”
faux pas. A social blunder or slip in manners; an embarrassing indiscretion. “He committed a serious faux pas by wearing his baseball cap to work.”

Just remember, use these words and phrases, and you’ll have the savoir-faire of James Bond. Find these phrases and a lot more on the Grammar Guru app. If you haven’t already, grab your copy now!

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