French Expressions You Don’t Learn in Class: Slanging it up

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French slang is a weakness for me. Not like I can’t get enough, but rather I don’t know enough. Slang is difficult because: A) They don’t teach it in French class; B) It changes constantly; C) And it’s usually said so quickly that it’s hard to pick it up in conversation. Anyhoo, I came across a somewhat recent slang expression that I know you didn’t learn in French class, but will help you to sound like a native Parisian in no time.

Is it Like, Love, or Something in Between?

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(Je kiffe grave Star Trek! Photo by

Je kiffe grave. This is a slang expression very popular in Paris and its surrounding suburbs. It means that you like something strongly. For example, je kiffe grave ton écharpe (I really like your scarf). In this expression, grave is no longer negative. Usually grave (just like the English counterpart) denotes something is bad. But this expression takes the usually grave grave and makes it something positive.

Filler words- anything goes


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If you’re not really feeling kiffe grave, you can still take the new positive meaning of grave and use it as a filler word at the end of a sentence. Young French people can be heard excitedly saying “Ouai, c’est grave!” to show how much they agree or like something. They’ll also simply end a sentence with grave. For example, j’aime bien ton écharpe grave. Quoi can also be used as a filler word at the end of a sentence in place of grave.


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