All These Little French and American Words…


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

And I thought X would be my challenge…

Two expressions and not a word for the letter Y

*One is used in the USA and the other one in France. None has an equivalent when literally translated.



This popular expression in the USA has no direct translation in French. The closest meaning is ‘c’est ton/votre choix, c’est ta/votre decision.’

Depending on the context, ‘comme tu veux’ or ‘comme vous voulez’ is a possibility.

Your call ou It’s your call est une expression très fréquente aux USA. Elle s’utilise dans une discussion personnelle ou professionnelle quand une décision est laissée au choix de son interlocuteur.

Par exemple:

A- Est-ce que tu préfères manger mexicain ou japonais ce soir?

B- J’aime les deux. It’s your call. (Comme tu veux. C’est ta décision.)



My fiancé found this vintage British phone in London in the late 1980s.

Should I buy it, he asked me.

Your call, I said.

It was mine to move it with us to the USA.



The French expression Y aller mollo implies taking it slow, doing something without rush or exaggeration.

For example:

Vas-y mollo avec ma voiture quand tu l’empruntes samedi soir.

Take it easy with my car when you borrow it Saturday night.


Y aller mollo can also be used with the negation: Ne pas y aller mollo.

For example:

Tu n’y es pas allé mollo quand tu as dit à ton collègue qu’il était un bon à rien.

You went overboard when you told your colleague that he was a good-for-nothing.



Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter Y that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre Y qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

Promise I’m back tomorrow with not only One word but Two starting with the letter Z!


  1. Ah ! j’ai bien aimé celle – ci ! 😉

  2. Ooh, I didn’t know this expression “Y aller mollo” …it’s a good one! Merci 🙂

  3. “Your call” comes out of sports. When the referee or umpire makes a decision, it’s known as “a call.” When they do a coin toss at the beginning of a match, they will say “Call it” which means you say whether you want heads or tails (top or bottom of the coin). A lot of sports terminology — especially baseball and football — has crept into English idioms. I didn’t realize it until I started actually watching sports.

    • And I didn’t know until reading your comment…because I don’t watch sports. What other terms have appeared in our daily conversations and originate from sports? You make me curious, now.

  4. Behind the Story says:

    It’s a pleasure to look more closely at the idioms and phrases we use all the time. I like Marilyn’s explanation of “your call.” It also brings to mind card games.

    • Thank you, Nicki. I’ve heard and used “Your call,” or “It’s your call,”without knowing that it had something to do with sports. Like you I love idioms and phrases and even more now that I live far from my homeland. I’m curious to learn their equivalent in both English and French or to find out that there is no match. Thank you for your visit.

  5. I’m reading these in reverse order as I catch up after a week on the road. Good job with the ‘Y’ of things. “It’s your call” will always remind me of the scene near the end of “Gone in 60 Seconds” when Nicolas Cage’s character should be arrested but is about to be set free.

    • Right! I forgot about this movie. My husband wondered if the expression didn’t come from the medical field when doctors answer calls, are on calls and have also to argue cases with other doctors where ultimately a diagnosis will be someone’s call. In any case, it’s a popular expression in the USA.

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