J’ai trente-six choses à faire.

J’ai trente-six choses à faire.

zhay traht-see SHOW zah FAIR.

I’ve got a million things to do.

Or only 36, as the case may be! Somehow, trente-six choses à faire seem like so many more than a million…because we can’t conceive of a million, and we know it’s pure exaggeration? Because trente-six appears to be so specific?

In any case, trente-six is the number many French speakers choose when they mean “a lot”.

Note that if you are just counting, you pronounce traht-SEESS: trente-cinq, trente-six, trente-sept (35, 36, 37).

But if there’s a noun beginning with a consonant following, you say traht-SEE, as in today’s phrase: trente-six choses.

And if the noun following the number begins with a vowel, you say traht-SEEZ. Trente-six animaux, for example–36 animals.  

Just to keep you on your toes!


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