Let’s say it straight away: soit-disant with a t at the end of the first word simply does not exist! The correct spelling is soi-disant.
Right, but what does it mean?
In French, soi-disant can be both an adjective and an adverb.
If you are learning French, you already know that one of the characteristics of the French language is the number of exceptions you have to put up with. It seems there is an exception to every rule! 😮
Well, soi-disant as an adjective is one of them! But you might like this one because it is an invariable adjective. It means you will never have to worry about a feminine or plural form. Whatever noun you use it with, the spelling of soi-disant will never change!
Soi-disant as an adjective is the equivalent of the English so-called or would-be
Look at these examples:
- un soi-disant professionnel (a so-called professional / a would-be professional)
- une soi-disant musicienne (a so-called musician)
- de soi-disant amis (so-called friends)
Soi-disant can also be used as an adverb to mean supposedly.
- Il était soi-disant parti. (he was supposedly gone).
- Je suis soi-disant trop jeune pour voir ce film (I’m supposedly too young to watch this film)
In colloquial French, you can also use the phrase soi-disant que to mean apparently, it seems that –with a hint of disbelief– on the pretext that.
- Soi-disant qu’il était trop tard pour m’emmener au restaurant (Apparently it was too late to take me to the restaurant)
- Elle n’est pas venue soi-disant qu’elle était malade. (She didn’t come on the pretext that she was ill).
There you are! You now know how to spell soi-disant correctly in French and when to use it. Congratulations! 🙂