Bien – Several meanings


You know that “bien” means ‘well’, there are several very useful additional meanings.


1. Bien means ‘really’ and is an adverb.


Il est bien trop vieux: he is really too old

Elle est bien sûre d’elle: she seems really sure of herself

C’est bien mieux comme ça: it is much better (or really better) this way.

Les enfants ont bien ri: children had a good laugh.

Il y a bien longtemps: a very long time ago.

C’est bien dommage: it is really a pity!

Tu as bien compris? Is that clear?

C’est bien joli, mais on fait quoi? that’s all very well, but what will we do?

Le voisin est bien plus riche: the neighbour is far richer.

C’est bien trop cher: it is too far more expensive.

Bien sûr: of course!
On verra bien: we will see!

Tu peux très bien le faire: you can easily do it.

C’est bien lui? is it him?

C’est bien de lui! it is just like him.



2. Bien after conditional mood means ‘gladly’


J’irais bien avec toi, mais ce soir je travaille: I would love to go with you, but tonight I will work.

J’aimerais bien essayer: I would love to try.

J’irais bien à Paris: I would not mind going to Paris.


3. Bien means ‘a lot of’


Tu as bien de la chance: you are really lucky.

Il s’est donné bien du mal: he has gone to a great deal of trouble.

Mon fils me donne bien du soucis: my son is a great worry to me.


4. Bien means “at least”


Il a bien 90 ans: he is at least 90 years old.

Il y a bien une semaine que je ne l’ai pas vu: I haven’t seen him for at least one week.



Aimer bien: to like (less strong than to love)

Aller bien: Ta chemise et ton pantalon vont bien ensemble: your shirt and your trousers go well together.

Bel et bien: Il est bel et bien mort: he is truly dead.

Bien fait pour toi: you deserve it! serves you right!. (bien fait also means well done or well made).

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