November 28, 2022

NOV 28, savoir-faire: the avant-garde savant

Authors' Note: The present participle (participe prĂ©sent) is used much less commonly in French than in English; the good news is that this form is regular for all but three verbs (to know, to have, to be). In contrast, infinitives are used more often, so 'knowing and doing' is described by savoir-faire.

Savant, an archaic form derived from savoir, is still in use as a noun for 'someone who knows' (a prodigy).
Avant looks as though it should be the present participle for avoir, but in fact it derives from the Latin preposition abante; but, as a loanword, e.g. avant-garde, it has become associated with the 'forefront'.   

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