May 25, 2011


When discussing Valentine’s Day presents, FBF admitted he wasn’t sure what to get me.

J’ai pensé des boucles d’oreilles, mais tu as déjà trente-six paires.” (I thought about getting you earrings, but you already have 36 pairs.)

My first thought was, “you counted my earrings?”

Followed swiftly by, “wait… I do not have that many pairs of earrings with me in France.”

He had already moved on from the number of earrings I owned when I interrupted him.

Quoi trente-six?” (what do you mean 36?) I asked him. “Je n’ai pas trente-six paires des boucles d’oreilles” (I don’t have 36 pairs of earrings).

It turns out he did not mean the number literally. In France, when one wants to say a really, ridiculously large number, one simply says thirty-six.


FBF further explained that the amount of zeros following the 36 is proportional to the likelihood of a truth. He said trente-six pairs of earrings because in reality I have about 10.

But if we’re talking about something that is already in the thousands, one should say 36,000. Trente-six mille.

Which is what explains the DARTY adds.


  1. Voila! I never knew that! How weird!

  2. And now to test my mom to see if she knows this fact. Excellent. Whoever made that ad is on LSD. Just saying.

  3. Why don't they teach this stuff in French class? This is the kind of thing I need to know :)

  4. Brenna: I think 36 is way too specific a number to be a generally large one!

    Joshua: Agreed about the LSD.

    Linds: I know! This is the kind of stuff that is actually useful, not the past perfect form of the subjunctive (or whatever other ridiculous tense the French use).

  5. This reminds me of my mother. When she wants to say something lasts a long time, she says: "Forever and a day." However, if it lasts an especially long time, she says: "Forever and three days." Ha! What a random number to pick. I wonder how it came about.

  6. Laura, I linked over to you and to this post today because your "36" helped me solve a burning math problem. So, thank you!

  7. That's cute! I use 88. Or gajillion. Or if the number is mind-boggling 88 gajillion. Not French but from Louisiana - the land of made up words.

  8. Kaley: I've heard "forever and a day" before but never three days!

    Joshua:Awesome! Glad I could be of service.

    Tanya: FBF loves gajillion! He thinks it's the funniest "number" we Americans say.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...