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Anti Smoking Pub, Quiz 3: se rendre compte

Follow along with the next clip of this French PSA, it’s the pitch of an idea. Can you track all these words in fast spoken French: “des trucs dégueulasses”, “se rendre compte”, “le plus tôt possible”? Follow along with our fill-in-the-blanks transcription quiz perfect for learners at any level, even when the clip is

This audio clip is from a French Anti Smoking PSA. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full PSA here.

15 seconds, 48 words
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faisaitavalergens ? Avaler ? 'trucsdégueulasses,vont 'rendrecompte.,,,dose,jours.rendrontcompterien. 'habituerpossible.
Etsifaisaitavalergens ? Avaler ? Mais c'esttrucsdégueulasses,vont s'enrendrecompte.Non,non,non,àpetitedose,peujours.serendrontcompterien.tout c'esthabituerpluspossible.

The above audio sample and transcription is from the French PSA from an anti-smoking capaign. We do not own the content. See the full PSA here.

Realize it

What’s opening up for you with this clip?

Here’s the full PSA for your reference, find more from this PSA in yesterday’s quiz and in tomorrow’s quiz!

The snippet in English

Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

Et si on les faisait avaler aux gens ? Avaler ? Mais c’est des trucs dégueulasses, ils vont s’en rendre compte. Non, non, non, à petite dose, un peu tous les jours. Ils se rendront compte de rien. Le tout c’est de les habituer le plus tôt possible.

What if we made people swallow them? Swallow them? But it’s disgusting stuff, they’ll realize. No, no, no, in small doses, a little bit every day. They won’t notice a thing. The trick is to get them used to it as soon as possible.

The above translation from Deepl. Source

What does “avaler” mean?

“Avaler” translates to “to swallow” in English. It refers to the action of making food or drink go down the throat and towards the stomach.

  • “Il a du mal à avaler.” (He has trouble swallowing.)

Moreover, “avaler” can be used metaphorically to describe accepting or enduring something unpleasant.

  • “Il a dû avaler son orgueil et s’excuser.” (He had to swallow his pride and apologize.)


“Avaler” is a common verb that can be used in both formal and informal contexts. Its usage is widespread and is not confined to any particular social setting.

Synonyms and Antonyms:

  • Synonyms: ingurgiter (to gulp down), engloutir (to engulf)
  • Antonyms: cracher (to spit out), recracher (to spit out)


  • “Avaler de travers” is a phrase that means to swallow something the wrong way, often causing a coughing fit.
    • “Il a avalé de travers et s’est mis à tousser.” (He swallowed wrong and started coughing.)

Idiomatic Usage:

  • “Avaler des couleuvres” is an idiomatic expression that means to endure humiliations or accept unpleasant situations.
    • “Elle en a assez d’avaler des couleuvres dans cette entreprise.” (She’s had enough of putting up with a lot in this company.)
  • “Avaler la pilule” means to come to terms with an unpleasant or disappointing situation.
    • “Ce ne sera pas facile, mais il va falloir avaler la pilule.” (It won’t be easy, but we’ll have to bite the bullet.)

What does “des trucs dégueulasses” mean?

“Des trucs dégueulasses” translates to “disgusting stuff” or “nasty things” in English. This phrase is used to describe objects, actions, or situations that are considered unpleasant, gross, or repugnant.

  • Example: “Je ne veux pas manger ici, ils servent des trucs dégueulasses.” (I don’t want to eat here, they serve disgusting stuff.)


This phrase is colloquial and is more suited for informal settings or casual conversations. It’s not appropriate for formal or professional situations due to the vulgar tone conveyed by “dégueulasses.”

Synonyms and Antonyms:

  • Synonyms: des choses répugnantes (repugnant things), des trucs répugnants (disgusting stuff)
  • Antonyms: des trucs délicieux (delicious stuff), des choses agréables (pleasant things)


The word “trucs” can be replaced by “choses” (things), and “dégueulasses” could be replaced by other adjectives expressing disgust, like “répugnants” (repugnant) or “immondes” (filthy).

  • Example: “Ils ont dit des choses dégueulasses.” (They said disgusting things.)

Cultural Notes:

The term “dégueulasses” is quite vulgar in French, similar to saying “disgusting” or “nasty” in English. It’s a strong term that’s best avoided in polite or formal situations. The casual nature of “trucs” paired with the strong negative of “dégueulasses” embodies a level of informal frankness that can be common in relaxed social settings among close acquaintances in France. Understanding the informal tone of this phrase can provide a glimpse into the dynamics of casual conversation in French, emphasizing a directness that may contrast with the more formal politeness often associated with French social interaction.

What does “se rendre compte” mean?

  1. “Ils vont s’en rendre compte” translates to “they are going to realize it” or “they will notice it” in English. It signifies a future realization or acknowledgment of a particular situation or fact by a group of people.
    • Example: “Ils vont s’en rendre compte tôt ou tard.” (They are going to realize it sooner or later.)
  2. “Ils se rendront compte de rien” translates to “they will realize nothing” or “they won’t realize anything” in English. This phrase denotes a lack of awareness or realization by a group of people regarding a particular situation.
    • Example: “Si nous faisons cela discrètement, ils se rendront compte de rien.” (If we do this discreetly, they won’t realize anything.)


Both phrases can be used in formal and informal contexts, although they may be seen more frequently in informal discussions or casual conversations. They speak to the awareness or lack thereof, concerning a specific issue or situation.

Synonyms and Antonyms:

  • Synonyms: Ils vont le remarquer (They are going to notice it),
  • Ils ne remarqueront rien (They will notice nothing)


The phrases can be varied by changing the subject or the tense, e.g., “Tu vas t’en rendre compte” (You are going to realize it) or “Ils ne se sont rendu compte de rien” (They realized nothing).

Cultural Notes:

In French conversations, the phrase “se rendre compte” is a common way to express realization or acknowledgment, similar to how “realize” or “notice” is used in English. The use of reflexive verbs like “se rendre compte” is more prevalent in French than in English, which often employs phrasal verbs or other structures to convey similar meanings. Understanding the reflexive construction in phrases like “se rendre compte” can provide insight into a fundamental aspect of French verb usage and sentence structure.

What does “le tout c’est” mean?

“Le tout c’est” is a French expression that translates to “The whole point is” or “The main thing is” in English. This phrase is used to emphasize the essence or core idea of a situation or argument.

  • French Example: “Le tout c’est de rester calme dans cette situation.” (The main thing is to stay calm in this situation.)


This phrase is quite versatile and can be used in both formal and informal settings. It’s a way to bring attention to the main focus or important aspect of a discussed topic.


  • L’essentiel est
  • L’important est

The usage of “Le tout c’est” reflects a way in which French speakers encapsulate the crux of a matter, similar to how English speakers might use “the bottom line is” or “the key is.” It’s one of those phrases that help transition a conversation to the core matter at hand.

What does “le plus tôt possible” mean?

“Le plus tôt possible” translates to “as soon as possible” or “the sooner, the better” in English. It is used to express urgency or a desire for something to happen or be completed at the earliest opportunity.


  • “Il faut finir ce projet le plus tôt possible.” (We need to finish this project as soon as possible.)


This phrase is versatile and can be used in both formal and informal settings. It is commonly used in professional environments when discussing deadlines or urgent tasks, and in personal scenarios when expressing a desire for prompt action or resolution.

Synonyms and Antonyms:

  • dès que possible (as soon as possible),
  • au plus vite (as quickly as possible)
  • Antonym: sans hâte (without haste)

Cultural Notes:

The phrase “le plus tôt possible” reflects a sense of urgency that is universal across cultures. However, the manner in which urgency is handled or prioritized may vary. For instance, in a work setting, this phrase underscores the importance of meeting deadlines, a trait shared both in French and American work cultures, though the level of urgency and the methods of addressing it might differ.

In casual conversation or personal matters, the phrase can also reflect a common human desire for quick resolution or attainment of a goal, making it a widely understood and used phrase across different contexts and cultures.

What is opening up for you?

Comment below with the words you thought you heard, where you struggled, where you surprised yourself, or what you thought about this clip. Every little bit inspires other learners, thank you for being that inspiration to others on their French fluency journey!

Follow along with the next clip of this French PSA, it’s the pitch of an idea. Can you track all these words in fast spoken French: “des trucs dégueulasses”, “se rendre compte”, “le plus tôt possible”? Follow along with our fill-in-the-blanks transcription quiz perfect for learners at any level, even when the clip is

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