Tant pis pour toi ! Tant pis !

Tant pis pour toi ! Tant pis !

tah pee poor TWAH! TAH pee! Click below to hear this phrase pronounced.

So much the worse for you! Oh well!

There’s actually a big difference between these two very similar expressions.

The first is unfriendly, kind of snotty, really: you are crowing about your good fortune at someone else’s expense. As in, “I’m taking a Caribbean cruise this winter. What are you doing? Staying here in the snow? Oh, tant pis pour toi!” Or you won in the lottery, and don’t plan to share. Or you have the chocolate, and she doesn’t have any. Not necessarily cruel, but quite possibly a bit unkind. It sounds a lot like children chanting nyaaa nyaaaaa nyaaa nyaa!

The second expression, just tant pis! is accompanied by a shrug of one shoulder and a cavalier tone. Here, instead of mocking someone else, you are letting go of your own misfortune, usually a minor one, in a good-humored fashion. The cake falls on the floor, it rains on the day of the picnic, they didn’t call your number for the door prize. Oh, well! It’s not a big deal. You can live a long and happy life without the bubble-blowing garden gnome.

As for tant pis, it literally means so much the worse. Pis is the irregular comparative form of the adverb mal, which means badly. This is tricky, so I think I will come back to it next week.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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