It’s been a while / Ca fait un bail

A French idiom today and its equivalent in English: “ça fait un bail” , “it’s been a while”.

Un bail” means a lease and here, by extension, a length of time, a long time. In French the second part of the sentence is negative passé composé: “Ca fait un bail que je ne t’ai pas vu.” (ça fait longtemps que je ne t’ai pas vu.) “Ca fait un bail qu’on n’a pas mangé une pizza.” (note: in spoken French we often omit the [ne/n’] “ça fait un bail que je t’ai pas vu.”)
Ça fait” is one of the ways to start a sentence translated from the present perfect, a tense that doesn’t exist in French and can’t be translated literally.

En anglais, “a while” veut dire un moment donc on exprime la même idée qu’en français. La suite de la phrase sera par contre à la forme affirmative. On utilise souvent le past simple: car on fait référence à un moment dans le passé “It’s been a while since I last saw you. You were just a baby.” (sens: maintenant tu es là avec moi et tu as grandi). On rajoute alors souvent “last” pour faire référence à la dernière fois où c’était arrivé avant. Ce n’est pas obligatoire grammaticalement mais plus courant.

On peut aussi utiliser le present perfect: “it’s been a while since we’ve eaten a pizza.” (sens: on n’a toujours mangé de pizza au moment où on parle. Peut-être que la discussion se passe au moment de choisir un restaurant.)

On utilise le present perfect pour construire la tournure “it’s been a while”: on exprime la durée d’un événement (ou action) qui a commencé dans le passé et n’est pas terminé(e) ou vient juste de se terminer .

I’ve been away from this blog for a while for a few reasons…

First, I’ve been busy tutoring students.

And I’ve also been working on a very exciting project under the French Made Baking banner. If you read my bio, you know I had a bakery before. Well, I haven’t quite closed the door on it. I mean, I’ve closed its physical doors because I’m not baking for commercial purposes any more but I still enjoy baking a lot and I’ve decided to share all of French Made’s recipes (and new things I try too!) on my other blog: frenchmadebaking.com. These recipes are too good to be kept secret. Baking is a language of its own so it’s actually not too far from my language tutoring activity. Ultimately I’m planning on creating links between both so that you could learn the French language, and English, while learning how to bake french-style pastries. The French can spend hours talking about food so that’s a good start for a conversation 🙂 But that’s gonna take some time, I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, these last three months, I’ve also been busy moving to Montreal and settling down here and also preparing a 6-month trip to Southeast Asia (I’m leaving in 2 days!). During this trip, I’m going to get my English teaching certification so that I can grow as a tutor/teacher and help you even better. And I’m also planning some fun culinary adventures of course, and I’ll tell you all about it!

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