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Bien entendu

French expressions analyzed and explained

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Expression: Bien entendu

Pronunciation: [by(eh) na(n) ta(n) doo]

Meaning: of course, obviously

Literal translation: well understood

Register: formal

Notes: The French expression bien entendu is a polite way of saying "of course," when that is the expected response to a question or request.

   -Avez-vous lu le rapport ?
   -Bien entendu !

   -Did you read the report?
   -Of course!

   -Pourriez-vous m'aider à porter les valises ?
   -Bien entendu, monsieur.

   -Could you help me carry the suitcases?
   -Of course, sir.

Bien entendu can also be used within a statement in reference to something obvious or expected:

   Il faut que nous travaillions ensemble, bien entendu.
   Obviously, we need to work together.

   À l'exception, bien entendu, des enfants.
   Except for the children, of course.

   Bien entendu, il est parti tôt.
   He left early, of course.

Bien entendu cannot be modifed with que oui or que non, which makes it less flexible than its less formal synonym bien sûr.

Bien entendu (or just entendu) can also mean "agreed, understood":

   -Je ne veux pas parler de ces questions.
   -Bien entendu.

   -I don't want to talk about those issues.
   -Understood.

   Voilà, c'est (bien) entendu ?
   That's it, understood? ... agreed?

Il est bien entendu que + subordinate clause means "of course it's understood / it must be understood that...."

   Il est bien entendu que vous travaillerez tout seul.
   Of course it's understood (of course you understand) that you'll be working alone.

   Il est bien entendu que l'accès à mon bureau est interdit.
   It must be understood that my office is off-limits.

Attention: Bien entendu is not always a set expression; it can also be the adverb bien modifying the past participle of the verb entendre (to hear, understand) or s'entendre (to get along).

   Est-ce que je vous ai bien entendu ?
   Did I hear you correctly?

   Il s'est bien entendu avec les autres enfants.
   He got along well with the other children.


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