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This may be a simple question but I don't have people to check the exact meaning.

'ça veut dire'  this phrase I heard over the radio;  does it means ' that is to say' or does it means ' it means'. 

     What about ' c'est à dire' -  here it means 'that is to say' ?

    1.  ça veut dire

     2: c'est à dire

   Oh, please give some examples .

     Merci d'avance pour m'aidez.

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I think you get it right :

"Ca veut dire" means "it means"

"C'est-à-dire" means "That is to say"


I don't have many examples for you unfortunately, since I don't use a lot "that is to say". I've found this on the internet :

"We're only human -- that is to say, we don't always think with our head." (Nous sommes seulement des humaines - c'est-à-dire que nous ne pensons pas toujours avec notre tête)

Merci Lauris, I find the french use some of these expression very often, for example, 'tout simplement',

I hear certain expressions quite often now I cannot think of any of them. Anyway I need to get use to listening and do what they do I guess.

I don't know if this helps you find more examples, but it's probably more common to use other expressions such as:


"in other words..."

"put another way..."


Neil, you mean to say "c'est à dire"  also means  'put another way' ?

And 'ça veut dire' also means 'in other words' ?

Yeah, if those are what they meant then those phrases are not being repeated over and over all the time .  Now I realised why I thought they kept repeating those phrases as if they like using them.

     Thank you ever so much Neil, now I get a much better understanding of these phrases than just imitate whatever I heard over the radio. ( i had speakers all over the apartment so i get to listen to radio france whereever I go in the apartment much to the anonyance of my house mates. I told them they had better start learning french, because the french with the US will be colonising us soon  :-0) we were under 4 colonial power over a period of  400 years, Portuguese, Dutch, English and Japanese. No this is not a joke , a historical fact.

     Once again Neil, Merci . Great help, much appreciated.

To complete what Neil said :

"Ca veut dire" is a litteral translation for "it means". So you can use any expression you would use to express the idea.

But "In other words" and "put another way" have equivalent expressions in french (well, their translations are used : "en d'autres mots", "dit d'une autre façon")


Yes, sorry if there was confusion in what I said, it was the second expression "c'est à dire" that has these alternative translations.


It's also true that there are other ways of saying "c'est à dire" in French: the ones that lauris mentions, plus "autrement dit" springs to mind as well. However, of the various expressions in English, I don't think "that is to say" is very common compared to the other alternatives (and similarly, off the top of my head I don't think that in French, "dit d'une autre façon" is as common as "autrement dit" or "c'est à dire").

I was all set to disagree with you, Neil, about that is to say being less common than alternatives, but then I reflected and realised that, in conversation, everyone these days would just say "I mean..."

I'd use that in written English, too, in anything other than a very formal context.

Now, i don't know which is which.  Will someone be kind enough to start all over again ?

      By the way the phrase "By now it is too late"  Do you use the "Ce jour" as "By now"?

  e.g.  'ce jour il est trop tard'

Please help. Merci de toujours m'aider Neil. 

     Recently I find myself having more confidence in speaking french not because my french have improved it's just that I don't care anymore if I speak good or bad french, the french will have to take it all, ugly, dirty, poor, bad just take it man that's all I have . And it seems to me that they are happy with all the rubbish that I got :-))

     So I came to the conclusion that it is this false sense of confidence that is really helping me , well, keep up my spirit for a start. Placebo helps a lot of patient with psychological problems. Doctors don't say to you "hey, I am giving you placebo" do they?


I'd translate your phrase by A présent il est trop tard or Maintenant il est trop tard.


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