1. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    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.
  2. Dorian Senior Member

    Vancouver Canada
    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.
  3. A.D. Burris Member

    The dictionary entry here covers the different meanings pretty well, including "then", "when", "while", etc.
  4. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    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?
  5. 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 :)
  6. Phil_Paris New Member

    Paris XVe
    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
  7. ishatar

    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 ! ;-)
  8. 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
  9. hecoh

    hecoh Member

    Aix en Provence
    France French
    Ca alors!!!
  10. 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...
  11. 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"
  12. pen Senior Member

    Et alors? :D :D :D

    C'est excellent sol ! ;)

  13. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    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.

  14. KittyCatty

    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!!
  15. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    No, you wouldn't... I guess you would say et (a long meditative one, perhaps ending in a euhhhhh). ;)
  16. KittyCatty

    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!!
  17. Agnès E.

    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.
  18. KittyCatty

    KittyCatty Senior Member

    English UK
    merci :) c'est maintenant vraiment plus clair -
    sorry for being a bit difficult!:eek:
  19. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    Don't, please! Your own doubts help other members understand, that's how it works here! :)
  20. chatons New Member

    Chicago, Illinois...USA
    USA, American English
    When would you use ...alors...versus...lors?

  21. davisc06 New Member

    Is "alors" different to "donc"?
    "Alors" est la meme chose "donc"?
  22. DeShark New Member

    British English
  23. olithegreat Senior Member

    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?
  24. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Je serais curieux de voir des suggestions en BE et en AE
  25. watergirl Senior Member

    San Francisco CA
    English, U.S.A.
  26. William Montreal New Member

    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.
  27. 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.
  28. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    On semble oublier le sens temporel de "alors":
    Et dans ce cas, il n'équivaut pas du tout à "donc"
  29. sneaky13

    sneaky13 Senior Member

    marseille (france)
    . 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,"
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  30. 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......
  31. 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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