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avoir beau – French expression

avoir beau - French expression


J'ai beau prendre le métro, j'arrive toujours en retard.

What does the French expression ‘ avoir beau ‘ mean? How is it used in a sentence? Listen to Anne Audio.

avoir beau - to have beautiful - is a very French structure.

When followed by an infinitive - and often a  'quand même' (still) in the second phrase - it expresses the idea of  'despite', 'although'.

  • « J'ai beau prendre le métro, j'arrive toujours en retard. »
    "Although I take the metro, I still always arrive late."
  • « Il a beau y avoir (Il y a beau avoir) des grèves, je prends quand même le métro. »
    "Even though there are strikes, I still take the metro."

Then you have 2 idiomatic 'avoir beau"s.

avoir beau dire = no matter what you may say, in the end

avoir beau faire = try as one might

  • « On aura beau dire, le métro, c'est quand même bon marché. »
    "In the end, it's cheap to take the metro."
  • « Il a eu beau faire, il est arrivé second . »
    "Try as he might have, he was second."

There is also the expression

avoir beau jeu de = to be easy for, to have it easy

  • « Tu as beau jeu de dire cela, tu n'es pas à ma place. »
    "It's easy for you to say that, you're not in my shoes."

Tenses and Modes in French

présent : il a beau

passé composé : il a eu beau

futur : il aura beau


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Related: tenses and modes . Expressions with AVOIR . Expressions with BEAU and BELLE .


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