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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 41: quand même

    Only 34 words, but oh, the phrases they pack! Can you spot them all? From the elusive “Sans forcément” to the melodic “comme vers,” not forgetting the classic “le sens” and ever-so-useful “quand même”. How about “on a tendance” and “un bilan”? Which ones ring a bell and which ones sound like jibberish? Test your…

    This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

    13 seconds, 34 words

    This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

    ,,. '.
    forcémentexistentielles,vers,sensexistence. 'quandmêmemomenttendancebilanvie.
    forcémentparlerquestionsexistentielles,versvais,estsensexistence. C'estquandmêmemomentonatendanceàfairebilanvie.


    “Quand même” can mean “still,” “even if,” “really,” or “anyway,” depending on its context. It’s one of those little phrases that pops up in conversation all the time, yet can be somewhat challenging for non-native speakers to grasp fully because of its varied meanings. Given its frequent usage and multifunctionality, it becomes crucial for learners of all levels to understand and recognize “quand même” when listening to French.

    Supposedly there isn’t really a direct English equivalent, and with so many different meanings, you can see that. Even Deepl, in the translation below, skips the word.

    What’s opening up for you with this clip?

    The snippet in English

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

    Sans forcément parler de questions existentielles, comme vers où je vais, quel est le sens de mon existence. C’est quand même un moment où on a tendance à faire un bilan de sa vie.

    Without necessarily talking about existential questions, like where am I going, what is the meaning of my existence. It’s a time when we tend to take stock of our lives.

    The above translation from Deepl. Source

    What does “sans forcément” mean?

    “Sans forcément” is a French expression that translates to “without necessarily” or “without inevitably” in English. It is commonly used to introduce a statement or action that is not a strict requirement or certainty but is a possibility or option. Here’s how “sans forcément” is used:

    Introducing Flexibility: “Sans forcément” adds a sense of flexibility to a statement, implying that while something is a potential outcome, it’s not the only possibility. Example: “Je peux aller au cinéma ce soir, mais sans forcément y aller si je suis trop fatigué.” (I can go to the cinema tonight, but not necessarily if I’m too tired.)

    Conditional or Hypothetical Statements: It’s often used in conditional or hypothetical statements to suggest that an action or situation might occur under certain conditions but is not guaranteed. Example: “Si tu veux, on peut aller à la plage demain, mais sans forcément se baigner.” (If you want, we can go to the beach tomorrow, but not necessarily swim.)

    Exploring Options: “Sans forcément” can be used to discuss different choices or alternatives without implying that one is more important or likely than the others. Example: “On peut essayer différentes méthodes pour résoudre ce problème, sans forcément choisir la première qui nous vient à l’esprit.” (We can try different methods to solve this problem, without necessarily choosing the first one that comes to mind.)

    Softening Statements: It can soften a statement by indicating that the speaker is not making an absolute assertion. Example: “C’est un sujet complexe, et il peut y avoir plusieurs interprétations, sans forcément qu’il y ait une réponse claire.” (It’s a complex subject, and there can be multiple interpretations, without necessarily having a clear answer.)

    Overall, “sans forcément” is a versatile expression that allows speakers to present ideas with a degree of openness, possibility, and consideration for different outcomes. It’s a useful tool for expressing nuance and acknowledging that there may be variations in how a situation unfolds.

    What does “comme vers” mean?

    “Comme vers” is a French expression that combines the adverb “comme” (like) with the preposition “vers” (towards). Together, they form a phrase that can be translated to “like” or “similar to” in English. This expression is used to draw a comparison between two things, indicating a similarity or likeness in certain aspects.

    Usage and Examples:

    Comparison: “Comme vers” is used to compare one thing to another, highlighting similarities between them.

    • “Cet endroit est calme, comme vers la campagne.” (This place is quiet, like the countryside.)
    • “Il agit comme vers un adulte.” (He behaves like an adult.)

    Similarity: The expression can also be used to describe a quality that resembles another quality.

    • “Son sourire était doux, comme vers le coucher du soleil.” (His smile was gentle, like the sunset.)
    • “Ces montagnes sont majestueuses, comme vers les sommets enneigés.” (These mountains are majestic, like snow-covered peaks.)

    In essence, “comme vers” is used to create nuanced comparisons by highlighting resemblances or similarities in qualities, actions, or characteristics between different things. It’s a flexible expression that allows speakers to convey their observations or perceptions through a distinctive comparison. It’s important to note that while the expression conveys a sense of similarity, the specific interpretation may depend on the context in which it’s used.

    What does “le sens” mean?

    “Le sens” is a French term that translates to “the meaning” or “the sense” in English. In the context of “le sens de mon existence,” it refers to the purpose or significance of one’s existence. This phrase delves into existential and philosophical themes, exploring the deeper reasons and motivations that give one’s life meaning.

    Usage and Examples:

    “Le sens de la vie” (The meaning of life): This phrase often appears in philosophical discussions and reflections about the purpose and significance of human existence.

    • “Chacun cherche à découvrir le sens de sa vie.” (Each person seeks to discover the meaning of their life.)
    • “Pour moi, le sens de la vie réside dans l’amour et le partage.” (For me, the meaning of life lies in love and sharing.)

    “Le sens de mon existence” (The meaning of my existence): This phrase is more personal and introspective, exploring one’s own journey and purpose in life.

    • “Je réfléchis constamment au sens de mon existence.” (I constantly reflect on the meaning of my existence.)
    • “Trouver le sens de mon existence a été un voyage intérieur profond.” (Finding the meaning of my existence has been a deep inner journey.)

    Existential Reflection: Discussions about “le sens” often touch on philosophical topics related to human existence, purpose, fulfillment, and self-discovery.

    • “Les philosophes ont débattu pendant des siècles sur le sens de l’existence humaine.” (Philosophers have debated for centuries about the meaning of human existence.)
    • “L’exploration du sens de la vie est une quête universelle.” (Exploring the meaning of life is a universal quest.)

    In the context of “le sens de mon existence,” the phrase reflects a person’s contemplation and introspection about their life’s purpose, values, and the deeper significance of their experiences. It’s a profound and thought-provoking expression that invites individuals to delve into questions about their identity, aspirations, and contributions to the world.

    What does “quand même” mean?

    “Quand même” is a versatile French expression that doesn’t have a direct one-to-one translation in English, but it’s often used to convey a variety of nuanced meanings depending on the context. Here are some key points about “quand même”:

    Meanings and Usages:

    Nevertheless/However: One common use of “quand même” is to indicate a contrast or concession, similar to “nevertheless” or “however” in English. It’s used to introduce a contrasting idea or statement that might be unexpected or contrary to the preceding information.

    Anyway: “Quand même” can also be used to indicate a shift in focus or to bring the conversation back to a previous point, often used to insist on a particular idea or to emphasize something that might have been overlooked.

    Despite/Even Though: In some contexts, “quand même” can convey a sense of “despite” or “even though,” indicating that something occurred despite certain circumstances or expectations.

    Surprising Outcome: It can also express a surprising or unexpected outcome in a situation, often in a slightly resigned or amused tone.

    Softening Statements: “Quand même” can soften or mitigate statements, making them less absolute or more considerate.


    • “Il était fatigué, mais il est quand même venu.” (He was tired, but he still came.)
    • “J’ai passé beaucoup de temps à préparer ce plat, mais il ne l’aime pas quand même.” (I spent a lot of time preparing this dish, but he still doesn’t like it.)
    • “Tu ne veux pas y aller ? Allez, essaye quand même !” (You don’t want to go? Come on, give it a try!)
    • “J’ai étudié beaucoup, mais j’ai quand même raté l’examen.” (I studied a lot, but I still failed the exam.)
    • “C’est cher, mais je l’ai acheté quand même.” (It’s expensive, but I bought it anyway.)

    Cultural and Linguistic Notes:

    “Quand même” is commonly used in spoken French and can convey a range of emotions, from surprise to insistence to concession.

    This expression adds a layer of subtlety and nuance to conversations, allowing speakers to convey their thoughts with finesse.

    While “quand même” doesn’t have an exact counterpart in English, it is an essential phrase for learners to grasp, as it appears frequently in both casual and formal conversations.

    In summary, “quand même” is a versatile and nuanced expression that adds depth to conversations. It’s used to convey contrast, emphasis, concession, and more, making it an integral part of French communication.

    What does “on a tendance” mean?

    “On a tendance” is a French expression that translates to “We tend to” or “People tend to” in English. It is used to describe a general tendency or inclination that people commonly have in certain situations. This expression is often used to make observations or generalizations about human behavior or attitudes.

    Usage and Examples:

    Observing Behavior:

    • “On a tendance à procrastiner quand une tâche semble difficile.” (We tend to procrastinate when a task seems difficult.)
    • “Les étudiants ont tendance à étudier la veille de l’examen.” (Students tend to study the night before the exam.)


    • “On a tendance à s’inquiéter pour l’avenir.” (People tend to worry about the future.)
    • “On a tendance à préférer les aliments sucrés.” (We tend to prefer sweet foods.)

    Human Behavior:

    • “On a tendance à juger les autres rapidement.” (People tend to judge others quickly.)
    • “On a tendance à se sentir heureux les jours ensoleillés.” (We tend to feel happy on sunny days.)

    Social Commentary:

    • “Dans notre société moderne, on a tendance à être dépendant de la technologie.” (In our modern society, people tend to be dependent on technology.)
    • “On a tendance à rechercher le bonheur à l’extérieur plutôt qu’à l’intérieur.” (People tend to seek happiness outside rather than within.)

    “On a tendance” is a versatile phrase that allows speakers to discuss common behavioral patterns or tendencies without attributing the behavior to any specific individual. It’s a useful way to share insights and observations about human nature or societal trends.

    What does “un bilan” mean?

    “Un bilan” is a French term that translates to “an assessment,” “a summary,” or “a report” in English. It refers to a comprehensive evaluation or overview of a situation, an activity, or a period of time. This term is commonly used in various contexts, both formal and informal, to convey the idea of summarizing or analyzing information.

    Key Points about “Un Bilan”:

    Types of Bilans:

    • “Bilan de santé” refers to a medical check-up or health assessment.
    • “Bilan financier” refers to a financial report or statement.
    • “Bilan annuel” is an annual review or summary.
    • “Bilan professionnel” refers to a career assessment or professional evaluation.


    • “Faire un bilan” means to conduct an assessment or review.
    • “Présenter un bilan” means to present a report or summary.
    • “Établir un bilan” means to prepare or compile a summary.

    Formal and Informal Contexts:

    In a formal context, “un bilan” often refers to official documents or reports presented in professional, medical, financial, or organizational settings.

    In an informal context, “un bilan” can refer to a personal assessment or reflection on one’s experiences, achievements, or challenges.

    Example Sentences:

    • “Le médecin a réalisé un bilan complet de ma santé.”
    • “L’entreprise a présenté son bilan financier pour l’année.”
    • “Je vais faire un bilan de mes réalisations de l’année passée.”
    • “Après une année de travail, il est temps de dresser un bilan professionnel.”

    Cultural and Linguistic Notes:

    Similar to English, “un bilan” emphasizes the importance of evaluating and summarizing information for effective decision-making and understanding.

    Overall, “un bilan” is a fundamental term used in French to express the idea of assessment, summary, or evaluation. It is utilized in a wide range of contexts to communicate information and insights succinctly.

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    Only 34 words, but oh, the phrases they pack! Can you spot them all? From the elusive “Sans forcément” to the melodic “comme vers,” not forgetting the classic “le sens” and ever-so-useful “quand même”. How about “on a tendance” and “un bilan”? Which ones ring a bell and which ones sound like jibberish? Test your…

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