What is the meaning of C’est la vie?
The idiomatic French expression c’est la vie means that’s life in English. C’est la vie is a French phrase that is especially common among English speakers. If you’re complaining about something, someone can say “c’est la vie” which means “ok, but there is nothing you can do against it”.
- Je ne peux pas aller à sa fête samedi, j’ai du travail. C’est la vie!: I can’t go to her party on Saturday, I’ve got to work. C’est la vie!
- Elle a perdu son travail et sa maison le même jour. C’est la vie!: She lost her job and her home the same day. That’s life!
- Il n’y a rien à faire. C’est la vie!: There’s nothing to be done. C’est la vie!
- Ah tu dois partir? J’aurais aimé parlé plus longuement mais tu as du travail, c’est la vie! : Ah you must leave? I would like to go on considerable length discussings, but that’s life!
How to pronounce “c’est la vie” in French?
In French, the expression C’est la vie is pronounced /se.la.vi/.
- /s/ sound: Place the tip of your tongue lightly against the ridge behind your upper teeth but do not touch the teeth. As you push air out of your mouth, squeeze the air between the tip of your tongue and the top of your mouth. Do not vibrate your vocal cords as you make this sound.
- /e/ sound: The tongue is forward in the mouth, the tip of the tongue is against the lower teeth and the lips are unrounded.
- /l/ sound: The tip of your tongue should touch the top of your mouth, behind your teeth. Vibrate your vocal cords and let the airflow around the sides of your tongue.
- /a/ sound: Your mouth is more open and the tip of the tongue is forward.
- /v/ sound: Place the bottom edges of your upper teeth against the inside of your lower lip. Vibrate your vocal cords, and push air out of your mouth, forcing it between your teeth and lower lip.
- /i/ sound: Your tongue should touch the front lower teeth. Your lips should be tensed, and the corners of your mouth slightly stretched apart. Your lips should only be slightly open. Your vocal cords vibrate.
In addition, the letter -e is not pronounced.
As this famous French expression, the chances are high that you’re looking to learn how to pronounce common words in French. In the same way, I cover the pronunciation of a large number of French words (with Instagram) —like bienvenue, rencontrer, and n’importe quoi.
As we just learned, c’est la vie is a way to say it’s life in French. In what follows, I’ll give you more vocabulary around c’est la vie and how French people use it.
C’est la vie : It’s life
This how you’ll learn new words related to c’est la vie and other expressions in French for that’s life.
Alternate Versions to say c’est la vie
- C’est comme ça: That’s the way the cookies crumbles.
Here’s a typical example :
- “Maman, je ne veux pas finir de boire mon lait” (Mum I don’t want to drink my milk anymore)
- “Mon coeur, tu dois faire un petit effort pour le finir” (Honey, please try to drink a little bit)
- ” Mais je ne veux pas” (but I don’t want)
- “Allez fini ton lait c’est comme ça!” (enough, you have to drink your milk, that’s it!)
The word vie in related French expressions
The following expressions are used when something is difficult.
- La vie est dure: Life is hard
- Ce n’est pas une vie: It’s not life!
- La vie n’est pas en rose: Life is not so beautiful
If you want to express the satisfaction, you can use one of the following sentences :
- C’est la belle vie!: This is the Life!
- Elle n’est pas belle la vie? : It is a good life, isn’t it?
- C’est la vie de château: This is the good life.
Let’s see other expressions :
- Jamais de la vie! : No way!
Other uses of c’est la vie
C’est la vie is not always a fatalistic expression. Indeed it can be used to talk about a way of life. For example:
- Le pain, c’est la vie. Bread is life
- C’est la vie de famille qui me manque: It’s family life that I miss.