In the fields of employment, entertainment, media and social communication, we're coming into contact more and more these days with words of foreign origin. The infiltration of English into other languages, especially in regards to technology and marketing, works both ways and can often be thought of as a double-edged sword.
Let's have a look at some of the popular French expressions that have made their way into the workplace and the social sphere. Here's hoping that you've been using these ubiquitous phrases in the correct sense, otherwise itís off to a French course Los Angeles or a French course San Francisco for you!
Let's start off with whatís on our plates, as you donít want to end up with egg on your face or endure a faux pas (there's one for you already! This term is often used in English to convey a social blunder, causing embarrassment or loss of reputation. The term literally translates as a 'false step') at a business lunch with your boss or clients.
Å la carte means on the menu, with each dish individually priced. This is opposed to taking a set menu. Cordon bleu refers to something being of high quality, with particular reference to cooking. Another term that can be used widely but is more often than not incorporated with cooking is piéce de résistance. This is the best part or feature of something.
So how did you go with those? If you're looking for more of a challenge ("why of course, these basic terms have been so commonly accepted in English you can even learn them at an English course San Francisco, an English course Orlando or an English course Boston!"), how about these newspaper and office report favourites?
Coup de grace: Figuratively used to mean a finishing stroke, or something that settles or concludes, but originally it meant to put someone condemned or mortally wounded 'out of their misery'.
De rigueur: Obligatory or expected. The use of this term is now de rigueur in the world of fashion.
Vis-å-vis: Literally meaning 'face to face', it's used frequently to convey the sense of 'in relation to'.
Fait accompli: An irreversible action that had occurred even before those affected knew of its existence. Well, c'est la vie -- there you go! You learn something every day!