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French phrase of the day: T’en fais pas

For when people in France just need to chill out.

French phrase of the day: T’en fais pas
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know t’en fais pas?

Because it can be very confusing when you’re hearing it for the first time, but it can be used in a number of different ways.

What does it mean?

T’en fais pas is an informal expression, short for ne t’en fais pas, which means “don’t worry”.

It’s the negative, imperative form of the phrase s’en faire, because you’re instructing someone not to do something. But it can also be used in the positive – Ma mère s’en fait pour moi means, “My mother worries about me”.

Tracing the phrase even further back in its etymology, it comes from the expression se faire du souci (to worry). In s’en faire, the en refers to du souci, so telling someone ne t’en fais pas is the same as saying, ne te fais pas du souci – don’t worry.

It’s one of many expressions the French have in their arsenal for saying something isn’t worth the hassle.

Just like “don’t worry” in English, t’en fais pas is useful in a wide variety of situations – when somebody is stressed, when you want to reassure them, when you don’t want them to go to any extra hassle…

Or, like any good expression, it can also be used passive-aggressively, like T’en fais pas je m’en occuperai (Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it).

If you’re speaking to several people, or want to be extra polite, you can say, Ne vous en faites pas.

Use it like this

T’en fais pas, tu vas y arriver. Aie confiance en toi ! – Don’t worry, you’ll get there. Believe in yourself!

Ne t’en fais pas pour moi, je suis grand – Don’t worry about me, I’m a grown up

“Tu as besoin d’aide ?” “T’en fais pas, j’ai bientôt fini” – “Do you need help?” “Don’t go to the trouble, I’m almost finished”

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For members


French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

This is a good example of something you won't find in your French textbook, but will nonetheless hear all the time in France.

French Word of the Day: T’inquiète

Why do I need to know t’inquiète?

Because you might be wondering why people keep telling you to worry all the time.

What does it mean?

T’inquiète – usually pronounced tan-kee-ett – literally means ‘you worry’ but in actuality it means ‘don’t worry.’

It’s a good example of the difference between spoken and written French.

It is the ‘tu’ conjugation of the verb ‘S’inquieter’ which means to worry.

The command “don’t worry,” which is reflexive in French, should actually be written as “ne t’inquiète pas” (do not worry yourself).

But in colloquial speech this is often shortened it to t’inquiète pas or simply t’inquiète.

It’s one of many examples where the ne of the ne . . pas negative form disappears in spoken French. 

This is in the ‘tu’ form, meaning it is informal, it’s not rude but you might not want to tell your boss to t’inquiete.

Use it like this

Vous vous en sortirez bien à l’examen de langue, votre français est excellent. T’inquiète. – You will do fine on the language exam, your French is great. Don’t worry.

Non, non, t’inquiète ! Tout le monde a adoré ton idée. – No, no don’t worry! Everyone loved your idea.


If you want the more formal version of telling someone not to worry it’s Ne vous inquiétez pas

If you want a ‘no problem/don’t worry about it’ type response, especially if someone has apologised for something, you could say Ce n’est pas grave (it’s not serious)

While you can also use Pas de soucis to say ‘no worries’, although that is slightly controversial and more often used by younger people.