À la fois

Essential French expression

Expression: À la fois
Pronunciation: [ah lah fwah]
Meaning: at the same time, at once
Literal translation: at the time
Register: normal

The French expression à la fois means "at the same time," even though the seemingly essential word même is not—indeed, cannot be—included. (But see synonyms, below.)

Examples

   Je ne peux pas lire et écouter de la musique à la fois.
   I can't read and listen to music at the same time.



   Ce film est amusant et éducatif à la fois.
   This movie is (both) funny and educational at the same time.

   Ne parlez pas tous à la fois, chacun à son tour.
   Don't all speak at once, everyone (will) speak in turn.

Synonyms and Related Expressions

  • avoir le don d'ubiquité - to be everywhere at once
  • se dédoubler - to be in two places at once
  • en même temps - at the same time
  • ensemble - together
  • mêner ___ de front - to ___ at the same time, e.g.,
       mener deux affaires de front - to run two businesses at the same time
       mêner plusieurs tâches de front - to perform two tasks at the same time

Expressions with À ​La Fois

chasser/courir deux lièvres à la fois
to try to do two things at once
(literally, "to chase/run after two hares at the same time")

On ne peut pas être à la fois au four et au moulin. (proverb)
You can't be in two places at once.
(literally, "You can't be at the oven and the mill at the same time.")

Nul ne peut servir deux maîtres à la fois.

(proverb)
You can't serve two masters.
(literally, "No one can serve two masters at the same time.")

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ThoughtCo. "À la fois." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, thoughtco.com/a-la-fois-1371067. ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). À la fois. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/a-la-fois-1371067 ThoughtCo. "À la fois." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/a-la-fois-1371067 (accessed May 22, 2018).