Rien à voir!

Rien à voir!

reeYAA nah VWAAR! Click below to hear this!

Nothing to see!

That’s what the police say at the gapers’ block, right? Allez, circulez, rien à voir ici! Come on, keep moving, there’s nothing to see here! That’s the literal meaning, and it works just fine in that context.

However, rien à voir has another, completely unrelated meaning. The full sentence would be Ça n’a rien à voir avec! which means, That has nothing to do with it! Note that instead of having nothing to do with it, it has nothing to “see” with it. They (whatever “they” are) don’t look alike at all!

Note that avec hangs out at the end of the sentence, without an object to complete the thought. I’m pretty sure they don’t tell you this in the grammar books, but that’s permissible in colloquial French. In real-life conversation, people say things every day like Tu viens avec? Are you coming with?

That’s also permissible in some regional English (in Pennsylvania, for one), because it is a result of the German-language influence. Du kommst mit? Are you coming with?

That construction–the preposition avec dangling at the end of a sentence–carries over to other expressions, such as today’s. Rien à voir is the short version of Ça n’a rien à voir avec ça! That has nothing to do with that! In heated conversation, no one takes the time to enunciate the complete sentence. An impassioned Mais non, rien à voir! does the job quite effectively. Of course, you still have to explain yourself!

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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