Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day and R.S.V.P.

Happy Bastille Day to my French friends today. :) I remember taking a few years of French class when I was younger. I adored it. My mom used to call me 'mon petit chou' when I was a little, little girl & I loved it. (This is a term of endearment that translates to 'my little cabbage' and I think that's why I liked it--just odd. What's so lovable about a cabbage?!)

In the spirit of French words today, I give you a little lesson. Well, scratch that. I'm not sure if this is really a spelling/grammar lesson so much as a run-on of my thoughts.

The other day I was completing these invitations (some of my favorites!!) for a customer. Notice how I say 'please r.s.v.p.'? My lovely customer asked me to remove 'please' as it's like saying 'please respond if you please'. Of course! Four years of French in school and I didn't even realize this.

R.S.V.P. stands for répondez, s'il vous plaît in French which means 'respond please'.
I mentioned this to my mom & her theory is that English-speakers have used it for so long that we use it as more of a verb (i.e.: to r.s.v.p.) than thinking of it in terms of 'respond please'. I know I frequently say, "I need to r.s.v.p." instead of simply, "I need to respond."

Interesting. I doubt there's a proper stand on it. I could be wrong. There are my thoughts--I'm not sure which way I'm leaning.


Rachel Wagner. said...

Good question. Here is a link to a grammar girl episode on this very topic.


Rachel Wagner. said...

Sorry here it is.


Joan said...

Oh fantastic! Thanks! :)
Off to check it out.


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