Ils s’entendent comme chien et chat.

Ils s’entendent comme chien et chat.

eel sah-tahd kum she-AAn ay SHAH.

They fight like cats and dogs.

Notice that we English-speakers switch the order in which the animals are mentioned. (Or is it the French who pull the switch?) Whatever for?

It just sounds prettier in French to put the dogs first! Notice how smoothly the chien slides into the et. Very French.

There’s something else that’s very French about this idiom. Literally, it translates as “They get along like dog and cat.” Do dogs and cats get along? Theoretically, no. (If they did, we wouldn’t have this saying in either language.) With the French-speaker’s flair for saying the opposite of what is meant, the saying tells us that these people don’t get along at all. They fight. Keep reading! One of these days I’ll offer a few more examples of this very interesting phenomenon.

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One response to “Ils s’entendent comme chien et chat.

  1. This is a very cool idea; I especially like your audio feature; I feel like I am having my own private French lesson.

    Good work!

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