plus ou moins / more or less

toban

Senior Member
English - Canada
Bonjour à tous!

Ma question est par rapport à la différence entre la connotation de cette expression en français et en anglais. J'ai l'impression qu'en français (du moins au Québec) l'expression « plus ou moins » a une connotation péjorative, tandis que pour nous en anglais, « more or less » est plutôt neutre ou parfois même positive.

Par exemple:

Je comprends plus ou moins ce dont tu parles. = I have a vague understanding of what you're talking about. (?)

I understand more or less what you mean. = J'ai une assez bonne compréhension de ce que tu veux dire.

Qu'en pensez-vous? Suis-je le seul à voir cette nuance?
 
  • Fredau

    Senior Member
    Canada - français
    Effectivement, l'expression "plus ou moins" est équivalente, au Québec, à dire "pas vraiment". Je ne crois pas par contre qu'on puisse dire que cette expression a une connotation péjorative (péjoratif: dépréciatif), sinon qu'elle dénote une incompréhension du message de l'interlocuteur.

    Salutations!

    F.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    ragazzobiondo

    New Member
    English - Western Canada
    J'ai l'impression qu'en France l'expression s'utilise comme en anglais. Est-ce que quelqu'un pourrait me le confirmer ?
     

    lefrancophile

    Senior Member
    English - Canadian
    I've found the French to use "à peu près" sometimes to mean "more or less". I don't know if this adds to subtlety of this debate or not.

    In other words, maybe "plus ou moins" is sometimes used as "the gist".

    Pure conjecture on my part.
     

    mcorson

    New Member
    English - United States
    In my experience, "more or less" in American English has the connotation of "generally", "relatively", or "approximately".
    This is sometimes the French meaning of "plus ou moins", but it can also mean (especially in technical documents) "to differing degrees" or "a variety of". For example, "des comportements plus ou moins acceptables" could translate as "behaviors with differing degrees of acceptability".
     

    bezani

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Yes, I've definitely noticed this in Quebec French.
    In English if someone asks me if I enjoyed the movie, and I reply, "More or less", I mean that, on the whole, I liked it. I am even most likely to precede the phrase with "yes": Did you enjoy the movie? -Yeah, more or less. I may have certain reservations, but my general impression was positive.
    In Montreal, when I ask my friends if they enjoyed the film, and they reply "Plus ou moins", there is nothing positive in their answer. They are telling me that they did not enjoy it.
     

    humming-words

    New Member
    English - UK
    Yes, I've definitely noticed this in Quebec French.
    In English if someone asks me if I enjoyed the movie, and I reply, "More or less", I mean that, on the whole, I liked it. I am even most likely to precede the phrase with "yes": Did you enjoy the movie? -Yeah, more or less. I may have certain reservations, but my general impression was positive.
    In Montreal, when I ask my friends if they enjoyed the film, and they reply "Plus ou moins", there is nothing positive in their answer. They are telling me that they did not enjoy it.
    Thanks for this clarification, bezani! Clears things up for me, too :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top