Il a été verbalisé.

Il a été verbalisé.

ee lah ay-tay vair-bah-lee-ZAY. Click below to hear this. 

He was written up.

What exactly happens when you are verbalisé, or written up, for that matter?

It involves the police…but it may not be as bad as you think it will be. There are two ways this story can finish:

Il a dû payer une amende de 100 euros. (ee lah dew pay-yay ew naa-mahd duh sah uh-ROW.)  He had to pay a 100-euro fine.

If that was the case, you could translate verbalisé as fined, but the word does not specifically refer to the fine. Translating it that way is taking a leap ahead to the outcome of the report that was filed by the police.

How do we know this? Because the underlying meaning of verbaliser is simply to put into words. If you are sitting in a therapist’s office and manage at last to say what’s bothering you, you are verbalizing, or vous verbalisez.

In an alternative universe, when he is stopped by the police, here’s what happens: …mais il n’a heureusement pas eu d’amende. (may eel nah uh-ruhz-mah pah ew daa-MAHD.)  But, fortunately, he didn’t have a fine (didn’t get fined).

In American English, we would call that a citation or a warning. Basically, the police officer shakes his/her finger at you and says “Don’t do that again.” And you breathe a sigh of relief and buckle your seatbelt, or get the taillight fixed, or otherwise repair your errant ways.

Alternate links to audio files:



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