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Tenir la chandelle – French expression

Tenir la chandelle - French expression

What does the French expression ' tenir la chandelle ' mean? What does it sound like? How is it used in a sentence? Listen to Anne Audio.

Tenir la chandelle - tenir is to hold and une chandelle is another word for une bougie, a candle. tenir la chandelle - to hold the candle means to be the third wheel, to go out alone with a couple or to feel excluded.

  • « Non, je [ne] sors pas avec eux deux. Je [ne] veux pas tenir la chandelle. »
  • " No, I'm not going out with the two of them. I don't want to be the third wheel."

Tenses and modes

présent : je tiens la chandelle, nous tenons la chandelle

passé composé : j'ai tenu la chandelle, nous avons tenu la chandelle (/U/ sound)

futur : je tiendrai la chandelle, nous tiendrons la chandelle

Related: About LA CHANDELEUR . Expressions with TENIR .


2 comments to Tenir la chandelle – French expression

  • Kate

    J’adore cette phrase!! It provides such a great image.

    I know I’ve commented before, but I just want to tell you again how much I absolutely love this podcast. I tell all of my friends about how listening to the episodes on repeat every morning has helped improve my French a lot, especially with idiomatic expressions.

    I was wondering if there is any way to reload some of the old episodes onto the podcast. Unfortunately, they disappear after a month or so usually, and I really would love to be able to ecouter en boucle episodes from awhile back. Or, is there another place I can access these so I can listen to them easily? Merci beaucoup Anne!!

  • Merci mille fois, Kate. Yes Kate, you can download all the audio files and the worksheets on line or as PDFs. If you do that when they are published, you’ll keep them forever. Another way to do that, is to visit FrenchHour here (I’m in the process of filling this page in) or here, where you’ll find the same posts, my new site, because the material is going to stay there forever.



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