Ça ne me fait ni chaud ni froid.
sahn muh fay nee show nee frwah. Click below to hear this.*
I don’t care.
To understand when to use this expression, we need to explore the difference between I don’t care and I don’t mind in English. They are easy to confuse!
I don’t care means that you have no opinion, positive or negative, about the matter at hand. You are completely indifferent. I don’t mind means that you have no negative reaction to the issue. Which you use depends not only on your feelings, but on the context.
And each of these calls for a different French expression, also depending on context.
For example, your new friend asks if you like opera. You could say Ça ne me fait ni chaud ni froid–one equivalent to saying I can take it or leave it. Literally, it doesn’t make me either cold or hot. You just can’t get excited about it.
But if your hostess offers you another of her delicious homemade cookies, such a reply would be insulting. You should say Merci, je veux bien. That’s a perfect way to accept enthusiastically while masking your eagerness (can I have two? three? four?) with politeness.
If your sweetheart asks if you would rather go to the Art Institute or to Science and Industry, and you love them both, a good answer would be ça m’est égal, les deux sont merveilleux. Anything your sweetie chooses is great, in fact: it’s equal to me .
And if your brother asks if he may borrow your book, you could say je t’en prie, which is the equivalent of saying in English Please! Go ahead! Sure!
Any one of these expressions will take you far beyond a simple beginner’s-French oui or non. Try them all on for size!
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: