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Apparamment c'est très à la mode d'avoir un tatouage français aux États-Unis! 

The second person in a couple months has asked me how to say something in French for a tattoo so I do not want to get it wrong and would like a native speaker's confirmation.   The person would like an  "always look forward" tatoo.   (I guess they do not want, "Don't look back".)  I was thinking "regarder toujours vers l'avant"  but that doesn't seem correct.   Can any native speaker help with this?


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Not a  native speaker myself (I am sure you will get help from them too) but "vers l'avant"  sounds wrong to me .I think it should be "en avant" .

I am not sure .Would simply  "toujours en avant" do ?


"Regarder toujours vers l'avant" :  c'est correct.  Inversé c'est correct aussi : "Toujours regarder vers l'avant"

La version de George "Regarder toujours en avant" est correcte aussi.

On a aussi "Regarder toujours vers l'avenir" dont le sens est plus direct. Mais je ne suis pas sure que le sens soit exactement le même que celui de votre phrase d'origine (c'est le sens précis en anglais dont je ne suis pas sure).


Est-ce qu'il y a quelque différence entre 'vers' et quand il n'est pas là?
Regardez les montagnes.
Regardez vers les montagnes.


To me, vers carries a sense of 'toward' or 'to' involving motion.

Regardez les montagnes  = look at the mountains

Regardez vers les montagnes = look toward the mountains

That's how I've come to understand it.   Vous allez a Paris (You are going to Paris). Vous allez vers a Paris (You are going toward Paris)

I am not a native French speaker, but I am a native English speaker.  You are trying to turn an idiomatic use of the English word "forward" into an untranslatable French construct.  Your friend's sense of the phrase "always look forward" implies the future--looking ahead toward what is to come, not what is past.  I would use Chantal's l'avenir.  To my mind, avant implies objects just ahead, as in seeing what's in front of you--a curb, a tree, a passing car, a red light. "Always look forward" in this sense is related to "moving forward", that is "into the future"--not simply physically walking in a forward direction.  Therefore,  Toujours regardez l'avenir or Regardez toujours l'avenir (Always look to the future or Look always to the future) would be the closer to the meaning you seek.

Yes I was thinking there must be some idiomatic expression that would be better that a direct translation.  In English we might say something like  "Don't ever look back"  or "Always move forward"  when it comes to not dwelling on the past but what lies before us so if someone knows how to capture that sense in French it would be optimum I think.      Toujours regardez l'avenir or Regardez toujours l'avenir  sound like good suggestions.   If anyone has anything additional that would be good too then the person could choose the best one.

Lisa, I wonder if there is another important consideration before you commit the tattoo:

(1) Regarder toujours l'avenir.
(2) Regardez toujours l'avenir.

It seems that (1) is your personal outlook, whereas (2) is what you tell people to do. Mais je ne suis pas certain.


As a French native speaker I would go for "toujours aller de l'avant"

it means not to look backward and go ahead with drive which  in a way encapsulates nicely  the American spirit too....

Suppose I want it for a tattoo or a street slogan, which is best?
Aller de l'avant
Allez de l'avant
Allons de l'avant

Aller de l'avant : sounds notional; a general concept to be followed, kind of motto

Allez de l'avant : word of advice or an order you give to people

Allons de l'avant : you are part of the movement and you encourage people to follow you

So it'll depend on your point of view!


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