How to Use the French Expression 'Ça Marche'

The English equivalent is roughly 'OK, that works'

Ça marche
Ça marche. Artpartner-images / Getty

The informal French phrase ça marche, pronounced sa marsh, is one of the most common idiomatic expressions in the French language. It means literally "that runs." But in colloquial language, it conveys the meaning of "OK, that works," and in a restaurant, it means "coming up."  

The Many Meanings and Uses of 'Ça Marche'

Here are some of the ways the French expression ça marche is used idiomatically, which is usually figurative, and literally.

1) To acknowledge or agree with what was just said:

  •  Il faut arriver avant 10 heures. > You need to arrive before 10 a.m.
    Ça marche ! > That works!
  • Et apporte quelque chose à grignoter. > And bring something to eat.
    Ça marche ! > OK!

2) In a restaurant after you order:

  • Faites marcher deux œufs au plat !  > Two fried eggs!
    Ça marche ! > Coming up !
  • Une salade et un verre de vin blanc, s'il vous plaît. > A salad and a glass of white wine, please. 

    Ça marche. >
    Coming right up.

3) Modified by the preposition 'pour':

  • Ça marche pour samedi. > Saturday is fine. / Saturday works.
  • Ça marche pour nous. > That works for us.

 4) Literally:

  • Comment ça marche ? > How does it work?
  • Ça marche à l'électricité. > It works / runs on electricity.​
  • Ça ne marche pas. > That doesn't work. 

5) Generally:

  • Du moment que ça marche ! > Whatever works!
  • Alors les études, ça marche? > So what about your studies? Everything OK?
  • Et je tiens à que ça marche. > I do want to make it work.
  • Ce sera mon cadeau de mariage... si ça marche. > A sort of wedding present. If it works.
  • Peut-etre, mais ça marche. > Maybe, but it works.

Additional Resources

Most common French phrases
French restaurant vocabulary
Ça and other indefinite demonstrative pronouns

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ThoughtCo. "How to Use the French Expression 'Ça Marche'." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). How to Use the French Expression 'Ça Marche'. Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "How to Use the French Expression 'Ça Marche'." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 20, 2018).