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Passer du coq à l'âne

French expressions analyzed and explained

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Expression: Passer du coq à l'âne

Pronunciation: [pah say du kuh ka lahn]

Meaning: to change the subject, jump from one subject to another, make a non sequitur

Literal translation: to pass from the rooster to the donkey

Register: normal

Notes: "Changing the subject" is a very literal English expression - it means exactly what it sounds like. The French expression passer du coq à l'âne, on the other hand, is a lot more interesting, with a distinct barnyard flavor. I wonder if after you pass from the rooster to the donkey you might then go on to the horse, the pig, and the goat.

Variations:
   sauter du coq à l'âne - literally, "to jump from the rooster to the donkey"
   faire un coq-à-l'âne - literally, "to do/make a rooster-to-donkey"

Related: un coq-à-l'âne - abrupt change of subject, non sequitur

Example
   Oui, je veux bien voir le film. Et pour passer du coq à l'âne, as-tu parlé à ton frère récemment ?
   Yes, I'd love to see the movie. And, on another subject, have you talked to your brother recently?

Post your comments about the French expression passer du coq à l'âne on my French blog - just hit "comments" at the bottom of the post.

Opposite expression: revenons à nos moutons

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