[Ravensfort] Pas d'armes
lizardkeep at sbcglobal.net
Mon Nov 11 15:00:24 PST 2002
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I was going to send this to HE Brian and then thought that I might as well send it to the list so that we all can benefit.
Pas ( from the latin passus) has two meanings. The first, as a noun, is "step" like in foot step or a march. It is also used in a military sense to mean a cadenced or orchestrated step or march. The second meaning, as an adverb, indicates a negative as in "not", or "none", or "not either".
D' is the contraction used for the preposition "de". It is used when de is in front of a noun starting with a vowel ( just like you use "an" rather than "a" in front of a vowel in english).
"Arme" (from the latin arma) means weapon. The "e" at the end is "mute" or silent. This is the reason why a lot of people, including native french speakers, will make the mistake to drop the "e" entirely. "Arm" doesn't mean anything in French! To indicate the plural you add a "s" at the end.
So, the correct spelling is:
If it is a single weapon tourney: pas d'arme.
If using more than one weapon: pas d'armes.
And the reason I giggle so much each time I hear it? It's pretty simple: due to the double meaning of "pas" you end up with a terrible pun! You see, pas d'arme also means "no weapon"! Just visualize it: an entire tourney fought with "air swords"!!!!
PS: remember if you have any question about French culture/language/food don't forget to use the resources at hand! Ask your resident French native, I'm there to help.
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