Lesson Two – On est dans la merde

Lesson two on the word Merde. A few more expressions that will make your French just a little more authentic.

On est dans la merde – (onnay don la mair’d) we are in the shit, as in, we are in it right up to our necks

Of course you can be slightly ironical and use the negative form –

On n’est pas dans la merde (on nay pa don la mair’d)– meaning the exact contrary that, so deep are we in the shit, that we are buried in the stuff over and above our heads. You could also translate this as « being up shit creek without a paddle. »

This last phrase can also be accompanied with the hand wringing gesture which

There are of course shorter ways of saying the same thing. If you cannot remember « On n’est pas dans la merde » just say « eh merde » (ay mair’d) which literally means « oh bugger »

We have studied noun and adjectival forms. Now let’s turn our attention to the verb form.

Il a merdé – (eel a mairday) He’s fucked up

Tu as vraiment merdé – (too a vraymon mairday) you really fucked up

Tu as merdé grave, hein – (too a mairday grarve – an) you really fucking screwed that up, didn’t you

Sometimes you hear this wonderful phrase, used by distraught or overwrought parents when questioning their offspring on the calamitous results of their actions

« Qu’est-ce que tu as merdé là » or (kess ker too a mairday lar)« what the fuck have you done? »

There are derivatives of the verb « Merder »

A common way of saying « get out of that » or « sort your own shit out » or « you got yourself in the shit, you get yourself out of it » is the expression « demerdes-toi » (demair’d twa) (literally meaning unshit your shit). This is often said by exasperated parents to teenage offspring when, the former are so far up shit creek that even Thunderbirds with a GPS won’t get them back.

The full verb is « se demerder », a reflexive verb which in everday polite usage would mean « to get on with one’s own shit ». It is politely acceptable to say of someone as a compliment « Il se demerde bien » or (eel se demair’d beeyan) « he really knows his shit »

And when do we use all these shitty terms, well, in everyday French. Most people say merde even in polite circles, but only use it with other French people when you have known them for a certain (but unspecified) length of time.

Homework (even though I promised I wouldn’t be giving any.)

Translate the following text into English

Eh merde ! Qu’est-ce que tu as merdé, petit merdeux. Tu t’es mal demerdé là et on n’est pas dans la merde. Tu n’es qu’une merde tu sais.

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