How Do You Say “What Do You Mean By” In French?

Learning French can be a daunting task, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Being able to communicate in a different language opens up a whole new world of possibilities, from traveling to new places to connecting with people from different cultures. One of the most important aspects of learning any language is understanding how to ask questions and clarify meaning. In French, the phrase “what do you mean by” is translated as “que voulez-vous dire par”.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”?

Learning to properly pronounce words when learning a new language can be challenging, but it is an essential component of effective communication. The French word for “what do you mean by” is “que voulez-vous dire par”.

To properly pronounce this phrase, it is important to break it down into its individual phonetic components. Here is a breakdown of each syllable:

Syllable Phonetic
que k
voulez voo-lay
vous voo
dire deer
par par

When pronouncing this phrase, it is important to pay attention to the stress on each syllable. In French, stress is typically placed on the final syllable of a word. In “que voulez-vous dire par”, the stress falls on the second syllable of “voulez”.

Here are some additional tips for properly pronouncing this phrase:

  • Practice each syllable individually before attempting to say the full phrase.
  • Pay attention to the placement of your tongue and lips when forming each sound.
  • Listen to native French speakers and try to mimic their pronunciation.

With practice and patience, you can improve your pronunciation of “que voulez-vous dire par” and other French phrases.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

Grammar is an essential aspect of language learning, particularly when it comes to using the French word for “what do you mean by.” Proper grammatical use ensures that the message being conveyed is clear and concise, making it easier for the listener or reader to understand the intended meaning.

Placement Of The French Word For “What Do You Mean By” In Sentences

In French, “what do you mean by” is translated as “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par.” It is typically used at the beginning of a sentence to ask for clarification or to seek further explanation. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “travailler dur”? (What do you mean by “working hard”?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “je suis occupé”? (What do you mean by “I am busy”?)

It is important to note that the French word for “what do you mean by” can also be used in the middle or at the end of a sentence for emphasis.

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

The verb conjugation or tense used in a sentence containing the French word for “what do you mean by” depends on the context of the conversation. Generally, the present tense is used when asking for clarification in the present moment. However, if the conversation is referring to a past event, the past tense may be used instead. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu voulais dire par “travailler dur” hier soir? (What did you mean by “working hard” last night?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “je suis allé à Paris” la semaine dernière? (What do you mean by “I went to Paris” last week?)

Agreement With Gender And Number

In French, adjectives and articles must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. This also applies to the French word for “what do you mean by” when used in conjunction with a noun. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “le travailleur”? (What do you mean by “the worker”?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “la travailleuse”? (What do you mean by “the female worker”?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “les travailleurs”? (What do you mean by “the workers”?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “les travailleuses”? (What do you mean by “the female workers”?)

Common Exceptions

While there are no specific exceptions to the use of the French word for “what do you mean by,” it is important to be aware of the context in which it is being used. In some cases, the intended meaning may be implied rather than stated explicitly. For example:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par là? (What do you mean by that?)
  • Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire? (What do you mean?)

In these cases, the French word for “what do you mean by” is implied rather than stated explicitly.

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

If you’re learning French, it’s important to know how to ask for clarification when you don’t understand something. One common phrase that can be used to ask “what do you mean by” is “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par”. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Examples And Explanation Of Usage

Example 1: Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “je ne sais pas” ?

Translation: What do you mean by “I don’t know”?

In this example, the speaker is asking for clarification on the meaning behind the phrase “I don’t know”.

Example 2: Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “il va faire beau” ?

Translation: What do you mean by “it’s going to be nice weather”?

Here, the speaker is asking for more information on the statement that the weather will be nice.

Example 3: Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par “c’est compliqué” ?

Translation: What do you mean by “it’s complicated”?

This example shows the speaker asking for clarification on a statement that could have a variety of meanings.

Example Dialogue

Here’s an example of a dialogue between two people using the French phrase for “what do you mean by”:

Speaker 1: Je ne suis pas sûr de comprendre ce que tu veux dire. I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
Speaker 2: Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par là ? What do you mean by that?
Speaker 1: Je veux dire que je ne suis pas sûr de comprendre ton point de vue. I mean that I’m not sure I understand your point of view.

In this dialogue, Speaker 1 is expressing confusion and Speaker 2 is asking for clarification on what exactly is causing the confusion.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

Understanding the different contexts in which the French phrase for “what do you mean by” is used is essential to communicating effectively in the language. Here are some of the contexts in which the phrase is used:

Formal Usage

When speaking in formal settings, such as in business meetings or interviews, it is important to use formal language. In such situations, the French phrase for “what do you mean by” is often replaced with more formal expressions like:

  • “Pourriez-vous préciser ce que vous voulez dire?” (Could you clarify what you mean?)
  • “Pouvez-vous m’expliquer ce que vous entendez par là?” (Can you explain what you mean by that?)

Using these expressions shows that you are respectful of the formal setting and that you take the conversation seriously.

Informal Usage

When speaking in casual or informal settings, such as with friends or family, a more relaxed version of the French phrase for “what do you mean by” can be used. This version typically takes the form of:

  • “Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire?” (What do you mean?)
  • “C’est quoi le sens?” (What’s the meaning?)

Using these expressions in informal settings is perfectly acceptable and can help to make the conversation feel more natural and relaxed.

Other Contexts

Aside from formal and informal settings, the French phrase for “what do you mean by” can also be used in other contexts, such as slang, idiomatic expressions, or cultural/historical uses. For example:

  • “Qu’est-ce tu fous?” (What are you doing?) – slang
  • “Qu’est-ce que tu fabriques?” (What are you up to?) – idiomatic expression
  • “Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par là?” (What do you mean by that?) – cultural/historical use

These different contexts add depth and nuance to the French language and show how it is constantly evolving and adapting to new situations.

Popular Cultural Usage

One popular cultural usage of the French phrase for “what do you mean by” is in the song “Comme des Enfants” by Coeur de Pirate. In the song, the phrase is used in the chorus:

“Dis-moi ce que tu veux / Me dire ce que tu veux / Comme des enfants qui jouent / Comme si rien n’était grave / Dis-moi ce que tu veux / Me dire ce que tu veux / Tout est permis entre nous / Comme si rien n’était trop fou”

Here, the phrase is used to convey a sense of playfulness and innocence, highlighting the carefree nature of childhood.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

Just like any other language, French has regional variations that can be seen in its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. One of the most common phrases used in everyday conversation is “what do you mean by”. In French, this phrase is translated as “que voulez-vous dire par”. However, there are variations in the way this phrase is used in different French-speaking countries.

Usage In Different French-speaking Countries

The French language is spoken in various countries across the world, and each country has its own unique way of using the language. For instance, in Canada, the French language is used alongside English as an official language. In Quebec, the French language has a distinct accent and vocabulary compared to other regions in Canada. In France, the French language is the official language and is spoken in its original form. In Africa, French is spoken in former French colonies and has been influenced by local languages.

When it comes to the phrase “what do you mean by”, the usage varies depending on the region. In France, the phrase is commonly used in its original form, “que voulez-vous dire par”. In Quebec, the phrase is translated as “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par”. In Africa, the phrase is translated as “qu’est-ce que tu entends par” or “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par”.

Regional Pronunciations

Along with variations in usage, there are also differences in pronunciation. In France, the phrase is pronounced as “keh voo-zeh deer pahr”. In Quebec, the pronunciation is “kes ki tu veu dir par”. In Africa, the pronunciation varies depending on the local language. For instance, in Senegal, the phrase is pronounced as “keh voo-zeh deer par”.

It is important to note that these regional variations do not affect the meaning of the phrase. Regardless of the country or region, “what do you mean by” is a common phrase used in French-speaking countries to seek clarification or understanding.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “What Do You Mean By” In Speaking & Writing

While the phrase “what do you mean by” is often used to clarify a statement or question in English, the French equivalent “que voulez-vous dire par” can have several different meanings depending on context. Here are some of the other ways this phrase can be used in both speaking and writing:

1. To Express Doubt Or Skepticism

In some cases, “que voulez-vous dire par” can be used to express doubt or skepticism about what someone is saying. For example:

  • “Que voulez-vous dire par ‘il n’y a pas de problème’ ?” (What do you mean by ‘there’s no problem’? I find that hard to believe.)
  • “Je ne comprends pas ce que vous voulez dire par là.” (I don’t understand what you’re trying to say with that.)

2. To Clarify A Statement Or Question

Of course, “que voulez-vous dire par” can also be used in the same way as “what do you mean by” in English – to ask for clarification or further explanation. For example:

  • “Que voulez-vous dire par ‘rendez-vous à midi’ ?” (What do you mean by ‘meet at noon’?)
  • “Je ne sais pas ce que vous voulez dire par ‘c’est compliqué’.” (I don’t know what you mean by ‘it’s complicated’.)

3. To Introduce A New Topic Or Idea

Finally, “que voulez-vous dire par” can be used to introduce a new topic or idea, often in a rhetorical or philosophical sense. For example:

  • “Que voulez-vous dire par ‘la liberté’ ?” (What do you mean by ‘freedom’?)
  • “Que voulez-vous dire par ‘la vie est belle’ ?” (What do you mean by ‘life is beautiful’?)

When using “que voulez-vous dire par” in any of these contexts, it’s important to pay attention to the tone of the conversation and the speaker’s intent in order to distinguish between these different meanings. Context clues such as facial expressions, body language, and the overall topic of the conversation can also be helpful in understanding the speaker’s intended meaning.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

When trying to communicate with French speakers, it’s important to understand the various synonyms and related terms for “what do you mean by”. Here are some common words and phrases to keep in mind:

Synonyms And Related Terms

French Word/Phrase English Translation
Que voulez-vous dire par… What do you mean by…
Comment ça se fait que… How come…
C’est-à-dire… That is to say…

While these terms can all be used to ask for clarification or further explanation, they may have slightly different connotations or be used in different contexts. For example, “how come” may be used in a more casual or informal setting, while “that is to say” may be more commonly used in written communication or formal speech.

Antonyms

While there may not be direct antonyms for “what do you mean by”, there are certainly phrases that can be used to indicate that someone is being clear or that further explanation is not necessary:

  • “Je comprends” – I understand
  • “Tout est clair” – Everything is clear
  • “Je n’ai pas besoin de plus d’explications” – I don’t need any more explanation

Of course, it’s important to always be polite and respectful when communicating with others, even if you feel like you don’t understand what they’re saying. Asking for clarification is always a good idea, and using these phrases can help to ensure that the conversation stays productive and respectful.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “What Do You Mean By”

When learning a new language, it’s common to make mistakes. French is no exception. One of the most common mistakes non-native speakers make when using the French word for “what do you mean by” is using “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par” instead of “que veux-tu dire par.”

Another mistake is translating “what do you mean by” directly into French as “quoi voulez-vous dire par.” While this may technically be correct, it is not the most common way to express this phrase in French.

Highlighting These Mistakes And Providing Tips To Avoid Them

To avoid the mistake of using “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire par,” it’s important to remember that “que veux-tu dire par” is the correct phrase to use. It’s also important to note that “que voulez-vous dire par” is a more formal way to express the same idea.

When it comes to using the phrase “what do you mean by” in French, it’s important to understand that it can be expressed in different ways depending on the context. For example, if you’re asking someone to clarify what they mean, you might use “qu’est-ce que tu entends par la?” or “qu’est-ce que tu veux dire exactement?” instead.

To avoid the mistake of translating “what do you mean by” directly into French as “quoi voulez-vous dire par,” it’s important to remember that this is not the most common way to express this phrase in French. Instead, try using “que voulez-vous dire par” or one of the other expressions mentioned above.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have explored the various ways to say “what do you mean by” in French. We began by looking at the most common phrase, “comment voulez-vous dire,” and its variations, such as “comment expliquez-vous” and “que voulez-vous dire.” We then delved into more colloquial expressions, like “c’est quoi le sens” and “tu veux dire quoi.”

It’s important to remember that the choice of phrase will depend on the context and the level of formality required. We also touched on the importance of pronunciation and intonation in conveying meaning effectively.

As with any language, the best way to improve your proficiency is through practice. We encourage you to use these phrases in your real-life conversations with French speakers. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s all part of the learning process!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and Transl8it.com. He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.