Alors

Edher

Senior Member
USA
Cd. de México, Spanish & English
After watching a few French movies and programs it seems that the French use the word 'alors' almost as much as the Americans use the word 'like.' I have an idea of what the word means and I've looked it up, it's somewhere in the range of 'so.' However I don't remember concrete examples but I've seen sentences where the meaning of alors has to be other than the one I mentioned. So I ask the forum for examples of all different possiblities of 'alors' in sentences.

Thank you.
 
  • Dorian

    Senior Member
    Canada English
    When I was first learning French, my teacher used it all the time, so I picked it up. But I have noticed that some French speakers hardly use it at all.

    It seems to be used a lot at the beginning of sentences, and often doesn't mean much. Like putting "so", "well", "now", "um" or "uh" in front of an English sentence.

    My high school French teacher would also use it when someone was fooling around in class. Say Mr Smith was making too much noise, teacher would say, in her best annoyed teacher voice, "Alors, Mr Smith!", with a big emphasis on the alors.
     

    Edher

    Senior Member
    USA
    Cd. de México, Spanish & English
    Thanks for answering, and I think both of you are correct, any French native would like to support this idea?
     

    Virginie

    New Member
    Belgium, French
    Hello :D I'm French-native, so if you want i can give a few examples

    The most comment use is in the sense of 'so', like 'the shop was closed so i went home', 'le magasin était fermé alors je suis rentré chez moi'

    You can also use Alors to get someone to tell you something:
    'Et alors, ce nouveau travail?' 'How's the new job going?'

    or in that sense too:

    A:Il est déja 5 heures.
    B: Et alors?

    A: It's already 5 o'clock.
    B: So what? (what's the problem with that?)

    There are loads more examples but that's all i can think of right now ;) hope it helps a bit :)
     

    Phil_Paris

    New Member
    France - français
    Hello, everybody
    "WordReference.com" gives a pretty good picture of "Alors".
    I would add one use you would find in programing, that translates into "If... then... [else]": "Si... alors... [sinon]"
    Here's the quote:

    alors - adverbe
    1 (= à ce moment-là) then; at that time
    il habitait alors à Paris : he lived in Paris at that time
    jusqu'alors : up till ou until then
    2 (= par conséquent) then
    tu as fini? alors je m'en vais : have you finished? I'm going then
    3 (expressions) alors? quoi de neuf? : well / so? what's new?
    et alors? : so (what)?
    ça alors! : (well) really!

    alors que - conjonction
    1 (= au moment où) when; as
    il est arrivé alors que je partais : he arrived as I was leaving
    2 (= pendant que) while; when
    alors qu'il était à Paris, il a visité ... : while ou when he was in Paris, he visited ...
    3 (= tandis que) whereas; while
    alors que son frère travaillait dur, lui se reposait : while his brother was working hard, HE would rest
     

    ishatar

    Senior Member
    France, French
    More exemples:

    When you are so surprised by what someone has just done, because you really believed it was beyond their skill and/or their daring:
    - Alors là, tu m'as vraiment surpris !

    This "alors" + "là" combo is really usefull in any situation you want to point out as unusual. Why not using it when you are furious? It will sound so... well, French.

    - Alors là, je suis vraiment énervé !

    As for "alors" used alone, I think you shouldn't try to find an equivalent but rather understand, through examples, how and when you are supposed to use it. The general idea is that you want the person you're speaking to to say something, you want a reaction from them. In short, it's often an invitation to talk.

    "Alors, comment c'était" ?
    "Incroyable, ils sont vraiment très doués."

    "Alors, ça c'est bien passé" ?
    "Super, je crois que j'ai vraiment su les convaincre" !

    "Alors, ça va bien" ?
    "Très bien, il m'est arrivé un truc génial aujourd'hui" (Very well, something terrific happened to me today).

    But also:

    "Alors, M. Smith. Je pense que votre attitude mérite une explication" (I think you owe me an explanation for your behaviour).

    An other mainstream use is when you need to begin your sentence with something, anything, because what's you're up to say will be long or requires that you gather your ideas and, well, you have to begin with... something. It's also common practice to use it before an enumeration.
    "Quels sont les moyen que vous possédez" ?
    "Alors, nous avons des tracteurs (tractors), des chariot-élévateurs (fork-lifts), des tractopelles (hum, sorry, can't seem to remember its English translation... mechanical digger maybe?), ..."

    All the exemples in the dictionary are very accurate as well.

    Bonne chance ! ;-)
     

    solarwind2424

    New Member
    Canada, English, French
    I can add by saying that I have heard alors almost as much as like and It can be used as meaning "so" or just something you put in front of a sentense, meaningless
     

    Gil

    Senior Member
    Français, Canada
    I don't use "alors" very often. Es por que es un problema para mi: nunca digo "entonces" en español...
     

    solarwind2424

    New Member
    Canada, English, French
    By the way, did anyone notice the creation date of this thread? I brung it up from the last page of this forum (lol) I wanted to discuss "alors"
     

    pen

    Senior Member
    Honduras/Spanish
    solarwind2424 said:
    By the way, did anyone notice the creation date of this thread? I brung it up from the last page of this forum (lol) I wanted to discuss "alors"

    Et alors? :D :D :D

    C'est excellent sol ! ;)



    pen
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    ce fil me tient au coeur (débile de le dire mais c'est vrai) et je veux surtout pas qu'il se transforme en chat. donc si vouz voulez y rajouter allez-y mais que ce soit des posts de qualitié.

    regards
    ben
     

    KittyCatty

    Senior Member
    English UK
    so if you wanted to say, in a french oral exam 'well...' while you searched for relevant information, you would say 'alors...'?? Last year I actually said 'well..' then had to clamp my hand over my mouth for saying an english word!!
     

    KittyCatty

    Senior Member
    English UK
    i say 'well...' to introduce new points or respond to questions for example: 'well, according to the article less than 20% of women do that'. and in my french oral this is what I did - started my point with a big 'well...' to start the answer, while I looked at my role-play to find material to answer the question. in this context, as suggested above (thanks Agnes E.!) would you never say alors (rather, et/euhhh)? I got the impression from earlier in the thread that 'alors' meant 'well', but after Agnes' message I think I just need some clarification - it's not that I don't believe you, far from it!! I would just like the point clarified :) thanks everyone for listening to this blab!!
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Alors does mean well in an exclamative or interrogative sense, as described in the beginning of this thread. I would not use it in a hesitating sense, to mark a query for instance.
     

    DeShark

    New Member
    British English
    Is "alors" different to "donc"?
    I don't think there's a big difference. Alors has some sort of temporal sense, in the same way as "whence", whereas donc is a little more like "so" in my mind. I don't know if there's any difference in usage though. Maybe a french person could help in that regard...

    Additionally, I'd like to ask if alors can be used in the same way as "then", as in "I'm free after 7pm, if you fancy meeting up then" = "Je suis libre à partir de 19h, si ça te dit de se retrouver alors"?. Or would that be translated by or something entirely different?

    Thanks in advance!
    a+
     

    olithegreat

    Senior Member
    french
    Alors, tu n'as pas honte?

    Alors, raconte!

    "Alors, comment c'était" ?
    "Incroyable, ils sont vraiment très doués."

    "Alors, ça c'est bien passé" ?
    "Super, je crois que j'ai vraiment su les convaincre" !

    "Alors, ça va bien" ?
    "Très bien, il m'est arrivé un truc génial aujourd'hui" (Very well, something terrific happened to me today).



    Quelle interjection utiliseriez vous en anglais pour traduire alors dans chacune de ces situation?
     

    watergirl

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.A.
    Alors, tu n'as pas honte?

    Alors, raconte! So, let's hear it!

    "Alors, comment c'était" ? So how was it?
    "Incroyable, ils sont vraiment très doués."

    "Alors, ça c'est bien passé" ? So how did it go?/So did it go okay?
    "Super, je crois que j'ai vraiment su les convaincre" !

    "Alors, ça va bien" ? So things are going well?
    "Très bien, il m'est arrivé un truc génial aujourd'hui" (Very well, something terrific happened to me today).

    As noted above, in most of your examples I would use "so"; others will surely have different suggestions!
     

    William Montreal

    New Member
    English
    I can confirm that overuse of "alors" is a very typical English-speaking tic when speaking French (precisely because we do associate with "so", or "like..."). English mother tongue high school French teachers do seem to be pretty bad culprits for this...

    "Alors" is a very flexible and useful word in French, and you can use it to start a sentence or even a conversation (as outlined above), but it is not used as a generic exclamation.
     

    franc 91

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    'lors' means in the course of, during (lors d'une réunion)- alors means all those other things that have been mentioned above.
     

    Gil

    Senior Member
    Français, Canada
    On semble oublier le sens temporel de "alors":
    ALORS, adv.
    I. Emploi adv.
    A. Sens temp. À ce moment-là; à cette époque-là.
    1. À ce moment-là.
    Et dans ce cas, il n'équivaut pas du tout à "donc"
     

    sneaky13

    Senior Member
    français
    so if you wanted to say, in a french oral exam 'well...' while you searched for relevant information, you would say 'alors...'?? Last year I actually said 'well..' then had to clamp my hand over my mouth for saying an english word!!
    . Oui "alors," donne du temps pour réfléchir, mais la nouvelle mode chez les interviewés pour se donner le temps pour réfléchir à leur réponse c'est de commencer leur réponse par "écoutez,"
     
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    franc 91

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    If I were expressing the idea of not knowing quite what to say or giving myself time to think of an answer, I would probably start with - Ben..... and drawing in breath....and making a 'facial gesture' of tightly pressing my lips together in a sort of fixed smile, raising my eyebrows, slightly rocking my upper body from side to side, shrugging my shoulders and making a gesture with my hands as if I were weighing the pros and cons, with my palms uppermost. I would then follow on with something like... jenesais pas....peut-être... I could give a first tentative answer and then think of another one which I could then introduce by - ou alors......
     

    petit1

    Senior Member
    français - France
    I remember clearly my teachers saying that if we were answering questions for an oral examination, we should absolutely avoid the "alors -euh" and say it inwardly before really speaking.
    Nowadays I often hear people say "en fait" instead of "alors".
     
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