One of the best-known phrases in the French language is undoubtedly the expression voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir . It literally means “would you like to sleep with me tonight?” Although it is very popular internationally thanks to the song “Lady Marmalade”, it is not really common in France or other French-speaking countries. Its use is considered incorrect because it is a sentence with a very formal tone that is not adequate for the meaning given to the phrase.
French is the fifth most spoken language in the world and ranks 9th among the languages with the most native speakers. It is believed that there are approximately 300 million people who speak French. This language comes from Latin, so it is one of the Romance languages.
It is the official language of France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada, and is also spoken in other European countries. In addition, there are some variants of French, which are spoken in North Africa and America. These include related languages such as Cajun, Maghrebi Arabic, Antillean Creole, and Haitian Creole, among others.
Likewise, French is considered one of the most romantic languages in the world both for its pronunciation and for the accent of French-speakers when they speak other languages. French is also associated with romance due to the fact that the capital of France is Paris.
French culture has distinguished itself throughout history, and internationally, for its gastronomy, haute couture, good manners, refined tastes, and romance. In fact, the capital of France, Paris, is considered the city of love.
Added to this, the French language is also associated with romanticism, in part, because of the great works of French literature and music. Some writers such as Victor Hugo or George Sand, as well as artists such as Édith Piaf or Charles Aznavour, contributed to reinforcing the relationship between French culture and love through their novels and romantic songs.
What does voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir mean ?
The expression voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir is pronounced something like: vulé-vú-cushér-avec-mua-ce-suar and, as expressed above, literally means “would you like to sleep with me tonight?” This expression is formed by:
- Voulez : which is the verb vouloir , “to want”, conjugated according to the second person plural. This verb is used to ask something politely or address someone with respect.
- Vous : meaning “you” or, in this case, “you”, keeping the tone polite.
- Coucher : is the verb “to lie down”.
- Avec : is the preposition “with”.
- Moi : is the personal pronoun of the first person singular: “with me”.
- Ce : is a demonstrative pronoun, which means “this”, “this” or “that”.
- Soir : means “night.”
The full meaning of this phrase is an invitation to have sex or sleep with someone. However, despite being one of the most used French phrases by English speakers, it is not common to use it in the French language.
When to use voulez-Vous coucher avec moi ce soir
As with other cultures, French customs and traditions can be seen reflected in the French language, where certain protocols are taken into account when interacting with other people. And while the expression voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir is grammatically correct, it is not socially correct, as it goes against French social norms for different reasons.
On the one hand, it is a sentence that is written in a very formal tone, even adopting the term vous , which means “you”. On the other hand, it is an expression that is too direct and frontal on a sensitive subject, which is usually addressed in a more indirect way in everyday life. Likewise, for the French, the cold and distant tone of the question does not match the intimate act to which it refers.
Other similar expressions
For this reason, in the French language, to convey a meaning similar to that of the phrase: voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir , other more informal expressions are used. For example:
Veux-tu coucher avec moi ce soir ? / “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”
Another more informal expression is:
Tu as envie de coucher avec moi ce soir ? / “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?”
J’ai send de toi . / “I wish you”
Another expression that has a similar meaning and that is used in a more intimate and romantic context is:
J’ai très send de faire l’amour avec toi. / “I really want to make love to you.”
Other curious facts about voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir
In addition to the curious fact that a famous phrase such as voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir is not used in countries where the French language is spoken, there are other interesting facts:
- Most of the people who use the phrase voulez-vvous coucher avec moi ce soir do not know its meaning.
- The phrase became popular in the United States in 1921, after the release of the novel Three Soldiers , by American writer John Dos Passos. In one of the scenes, one of the characters claims that the only phrase in French that he knows is: “ Voulay vous couchay aveck mwah ?”.
- The American author EE Cummings introduced, a year later, the correctly spelled phrase in his poem: La guerre IV .
- Starting in 1974, the phrase achieved great popularity. In that year, the musical group Labelle released the song “ Lady Marmalade ”, where the expression voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir is repeated several times . There was another popular version in 1998, by the group All Saints.
- Finally, in the year 2001, the artists Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Maya and Pink, made a new version of “Lady Marmalade” for the soundtrack of the movie Moulin Rouge . This version was enormously popular and spread throughout the world.
- Turelli, E. Learn French: Sayings – Idioms – Popular Expressions. (2015). Spain. CreateSpace.
- Martínez Freund, C. Learn French from scratch. (2021). Spain. Vaughan.
- Dehouck, E. French: key phrases. (2018). Spain. Vaughan.