Last week, I came across the phrase ‘win-win’ in a document.

It instantly reminded me of the last presidential elections in France, more particularly the defeated candidate Ségolène Royal and the first time she had used « gagnant-gagnant » in a speech. It was a literal translation. It was a clumsy translation. And she got mercilessly deriled for it.

Journalists were the first to pick it up and to sneer; then the public read about it or heard it and jeered; and people, repeating the phrase, squeaked. In Parisian dinner-parties, when you mentioned the election, someone would say « gagnant-gagnant » and everybody would scoff.

Yes, it was not an appropriate choice of words. But the worst is, a few days later people started to mention « gagnant-gagnant » without laughing, using it almost naturally, because they had got used to it.

Luckily, the fad didn’t last.

Therefore, after this cautionary reminder of what should not be done, I focused on the text again and wrote, « une solution qui profite à tout le monde… ».

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