Une vraie histoire

LorieC1Kwiziq community member

Une vraie histoire

In the expression "une vraie histoire," is there any implication that the elaborate story is untrue? In English, "quite a story" can suggest that the audience might doubt the truth of the story. Is there any of that implied in French?

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Sorry I missed this interesting discussion...

In French it is simpler I think -

Un vraie histoire means a story worth telling for its merits, not for the fact that it is true. 

Une histoire vraie emphasizes the fact of its veracity, maybe it's so outlandish that it is hard to believe and you want to insist on the fact that you are not lying.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

une vraie histoire -- a real story (quite a story)
une histoire vraie -- a true story

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

But that doesn't answer the question. Or are we supposed to assume the answer is "no"?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The question whether the story is actually true or not is not a language question. I don't really know. I tried to clarify what I thought pertained to learning French. Maybe you can answer it?

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

As a native English speaker, I can say that "quite a story" is sometimes used to imply that a story is false. That is a language question. Probably only a native French speaker can say whether that is also true for "une vraie histoire"

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, "quite a story" can mean that it is either not true or that it is an unexpected or really remarkable story. So it is still ambiguous, even in English.

The native speaker I polled on this (Alsacienne) said that une vraie histoire can be both, just like in English. To her, it could mean either that it was a remarkable story or a spun tale.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I wouldn't say it's ambiguous, exactly. It always means a remarkable story, but in certain situations it clearly implies that you thought it was untrue. But is this also the case in French? Maybe it's never used in this sarcastic sense. We don't know, which is why Lorie asked the question. What does your friend mean by "a spun tale"? Of course "une vraie histoire" can be fictional, but that's not the question. We're talking specifically about the case where someone presents a story as true, and the listener uses the phrase to cast doubt on it. Is that what she means?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In English it is ambiguous. Depending on your tone of voice and context it can mean either. And that seems to be born out in French as well. That's why I gave the English translation in my first response the way I did.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

If that's really what you meant by your first response, a few more words would have been helpful.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Well, thanks to you, now there are a lot of words in this response and the answer made clear. :)

Une vraie histoire

In the expression "une vraie histoire," is there any implication that the elaborate story is untrue? In English, "quite a story" can suggest that the audience might doubt the truth of the story. Is there any of that implied in French?

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