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Pour et contre

French expressions analyzed and explained

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Expression: Pour et contre

Pronunciation: [poo ray ko(n)tr(eu)]

Meaning: for and against, yes and no, aye and nay, pro and con

Literal translation: for and against

Register: normal

The French expression pour et contre can be used in various ways:

1) Alone, with the two words serving as adjectives:
     les voix pour et contre - the votes for and against

2) With numbers, as nouns:
     5 pour et 4 contre - 5 ayes and 4 nays

3) With articles:
  • Singular, when referring to actual pros and cons:
    peser le pour et le contre - to weigh the pros and cons
    Synonym: les avantages et les inconvénients
     
  • Plural, when referring to people:
    les pour et les contre - supporters and detractors, people who like and people who don't, pros and antis

Notes

No matter what pour and contre are being used as, they are prepositions and thus invariable.

Whatever you do, don't translate "pros and cons" as "pour et con." Not only is it a mistranslation, but the French word con is vulgar.


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