Et de trois pour Sagan.

Et de trois pour Sagan.

ay duh trwah poor sah-GAH. Click below to hear this.*

And that makes three for Sagan.

Who is Sagan, and three of what?

The famed Tour de France is happening now, and Friday June 7 was the sixth stage, or la sixiême étape. For the third time since the start of this year’s race, Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the sprint.

So when you are counting someone’s successes (or failures), you can use the expression Et de and the appropriate numeral. For instance, to say that someone has two strikes against him (in baseball, raising teenagers, or in a court of law), you can simply say Et de deux!

The same expression exactly–but with a smile on your face instead of a frown–will work to count how many base hits he has made. No direct reference to baseball is made, since French people don’t pay much attention to this American game. What the de is doing in there, by the way, is a mystery. I can see no grammatical purpose to it. But it is part of the expression, so you’re stuck with it.

As for the pronunciation of Mr. Sagan’s last name, I have no idea how it is said in Slovak. But French commentators will find it hard to resist the temptation to say /sah-GAH/, with a nasal vowel in the second syllable, as I did in the sound file. That’s because Françoise Sagan is such a famous French writer. In the meantime, American commentators are probably saying /SAY-gan/, as in Carl Sagan. My best guess for the “real” pronunciation is /sah-GAHN/. Feel free to educate me, if you know!

This link, by the way, will take you to the article about Sagan’s successful sprint.

*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:


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