Mieux vaut tard que jamais.

Mieux vaut tard que jamais.

mee-yuh vo taar kuh zhah-MAY. Click below to hear this.*

Better late than never.

It’s a proverb, and that’s why the grammar seems a bit telegraphic. The full expression is il vaut mieux followed by a verb in the infinitive: it is better to

In this case, there’s no verb following the expression. Instead, there are two adverbs (tard and jamais) that are acting like nouns. Really, it’s just like the English: late and never aren’t nouns either, but they do a good job of pretending.

And that verb? Vaut comes from valoir, a very irregular verb that means to be worth.

Anyway, that’s my post for today–at 10:30pm, when I had hoped to publish it at 10:00am. And tomorrow will probably be late too, because I’ll be spending the whole day translating Spanish for a client. Please accept my apologies in advance! I do have an interesting life. I never know what’s going to happen next!

*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:



2 responses to “Mieux vaut tard que jamais.

  1. This phrase is also the title of an excellent 60s song. Montreal’s Les Sequelles do a terrific cover of it.

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