How to say “makes sense” in French
This week on French Friday I want to tell you all something very useful and something you’ll want to say very often when speaking French. Are you ready? It’s “that makes sense” and “does that make sense?”. Even after 18 months I’m still using this one regularly. It’s one of those where you can’t just use the direct translation of “ça fait du sens”. Well you can, but from what I understand it’s only used in literary contexts. Here we mainly care about speaking!
If you think about when you’d want to say “that makes sense” or “it makes sense” in English you’d use each at different times.
“It makes sense” = “C’est logique”
In English maybe you have just been explained why someone did something that before you didn’t understand. You suddenly see there are no alternatives so you’d say “it makes sense” or even “that makes sense”. It’s logical one might say. So in French you would use “c’est logique”.
Other uses of “c’est logique”
Perhaps the most straightforward is when something really does add up, like a sum. Or perhaps you’ve found a love for languages so “c’est logique” that you’re going to learn more.
“That makes sense” = “C’est clair”
I could imagine saying “that makes sense” in English if someone like my teacher asked me “does that make sense?”. Another example would be if someone had just given you directions. You would say “Oui, c’est clair”. That’s clear.
Other uses of “c’est clair”
If something’s obvious, or it’s clear that an assertion you’re making is correct. It’s clear that you’re right.
What about the negative?
It depends on context of course but I’d use the rules above to decide. For example you could say “c’est pas logique” in the cases where you might use “c’est logique” but when it’s doesn’t make sense. Another contender is “ça n’a pas de sens” or “ça a aucun sens”.
Language loves exceptions
Of course I’ve tried to keep it simple but in the life of a language learner I think these are the two you’ll need to use most often!
There are 2 further ways, 1 of which is more of a logical translation from English, to say when something makes sense:
- Ça a du sens – That has sense. I’m trying to move away from this as I don’t hear it very often.
- Ça prend tout son sens – It’s starting to make sense, it makes sense. This one I’ve heard once or twice, but I think it will get into my daily speech further in the future.
Of course if I start finding the above two used more I’ll update this list! But here is your weekly insight into real, spoken French in France for this week!
Let me know what you think in the comments below. See you soon. Bon week-end !