How do you say "WHATEVER!" in French? This question comes up from time to time in class. It also came up recently on FLTEACH, a mail group to which Monsieur subscribes. Read below to find out how some teachers answered this question.

I have been following the thread on whatever, and I came up with "ouais!ouais!". With the appropriate tone of voice I think it conveys the "who cares" connotation in the whatever used by most teenagers.

I don't think that there is one right way to adapt this however.

good luck
Edit Dolven
Chino Hills, CA

Dear Édit,

Some French friends who studied in the U.S. told me that, "enfin bref," was
the equivalent of, "whatever."

Bryan Watkins

French teacher
Burke High School
Omaha, Nebraska

President, Nebraska Chapter
American Association of Teachers of French

In French, a couple of my kids have (independently) decided to say
"n'importe quoi" for "whatever", but lately I've been trying to convince
them that affecting an attitude of "boffisme" is probably a good bit more
authentic (and ultimately more satisfying.) This is the same clutch of
kids that has decided that "Quel est en haut, mec!" is also a good
greeting. Go fig.

John B. Garvey
A votre service!


Actually, "N'importe quoi!" is probably not a bad translation of
"Whatever!" if I understand "Whatever!", at least in some part or in
some of its possible connotations. If it is used to comment on the
ridiculousness of a statement, "N'importe quoi!" seems to work. If it
is meant to express not caring, "N'importe quoi!" doesn't work. Of
course, I am probably misunderstanding the semantic complexities of

Robert Ponterio | PonterioR@cortland.edu
co-owner of FLTEACH | State Univ. of New York Cortland
Foreign Language Teaching Forum |
http://www.cortland.edu/flteach/ | http://snycorva.cortland.edu/~ponterior/


>I teach high school French and Spanish, and my students would like to
>know how to say a word that they use all of the time: whatever. I gave
>them the literal translation, but I'm sure that's not people who speak
>these languages use!
En français = n'importe quoi

Anne V. Fontaine
ancien prof de français
237 Weir Cove Road
Harborside, ME 04642


I love their creativity!!! How about "Quoi que ce soit"?



Désolé, j'pige pas.

How about "Pffff!" as a French translation of "whatever"? "N'importe
quoi" sounded authentic too. "Comme tu veux" perhaps for the more
consensual meaning of "whatever".

Cheers, --- Phil

Lycee Astier, Aubenas, France
"WebTeach - TICE et Pédagogie", a new teaching methods site, at:

I think it would be "Comme tu voudras..."


California USA

Well, if you're looking for the "WhatEver" that kids
use to dismiss things I would definitly stick to
« n'importe quoi ». « Bof » is one of my favs as
well, but I think my high schoolers either miss the
sublty of it or else it is just not "in yur face"

William B. King
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
370 Old Agency Rd.
Ridgeland, MS 39157


Last updated  2008/09/28 03:18:46 EDTHits  380