J’ai déjà passé la commande.
zhay day-zhah paa-say lah kuh-MAHD. Click below to hear this.
I’ve already put in the order.
When you learn a new expression, it’s very important to know when you can use it! Of what use is it to you, otherwise?
You will need this expression if you are a waiter in a Parisian café, serving a beautiful woman named Elise Ward, who frequents the café and has begun ordering her usual breakfast, and you know what she is going to order because you’ve heard it a hundred times before, so you complete her sentence for her and you add, J’ai déjà passé la commande. That’s customer service!
In French, you don’t enter an order, or put it in, or place it. If you are the server, you are passing the order to the kitchen, in order that they prepare the food, so the verb to use is passer. If you are the customer, you say commander if you are discussing history (for example: J’ai commandé du thé, pas du café!). When actually placing the order, you don’t use that verb at all, any more than you do in English. You don’t say I am ordering tea, you say I would like tea. In French, Je prends un thé, s’il vous plaît.
But I know some of you would like me to get back to the beautiful woman, even if you may never be that café server. Where did she come from? Well, her real name is Angelina Jolie, and she stars across from Johnny Depp in a 2010 movie called The Tourist. It’s a romantic comedy thriller (feel free to rearrange those words as you like, depending on which aspect of movies you appreciate most). The movie opens with Elise Ward walking in Paris, and we quickly become aware that she is being watched–not only by admiring members of the male sex, but also by some shady-looking characters in a van. Aha, surveillance!
The first ten or 15 minutes of the movie take place in Paris, before we cut to Scotland Yard, so I am going to give you several more phrases from The Tourist in my next few posts. Stay tuned!
Alternative link to audio file: jai-deja-passe-la-commande