The French phrase "Il était une fois" explained

Ready to discover all the things you have to know about the basic sentence “Il était une fois”?

To be clear, it includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. And because we want you to make progress in French, we also added some super useful stuff like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Oh and before I forget, you can also find our others sentences tutorials on this page plus the directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Enjoy!

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English translation

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Un conte de fées
A fairy tale
Karine et Rémi finissent de regarder un film d’horreur.
Karine and Rémi finish watching a horror movie.
Rémi:   Wow ! C’était super !
Wow! It was great!
Karine:   Ouais, mais vraiment effrayant !
Yeah, but really scary!
Rémi:   C’est un film d’horreur ! Tu t’attendais à quoi ?
It’s a horror movie! What did you expect?
Karine:   Je sais. Mais c’était plus effrayant que ce que je pensais.
I know. But it was scarier than I thought.
Rémi:   C’est juste un film, rien de plus.
It’s just a movie, nothing more.
Karine:   Oui, tu as raison.
Yes, you’re right.
Plus tard cette nuit…
Later that night…
Karine:   Rémi, je ne peux pas dormir. J’ai peur.
Rémi, I can’t sleep. I am scared.
Rémi:   C’était juste un film… Les fantômes n’existent pas dans la vraie vie.
It was just a movie… Ghosts don’t exist in real life.
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