French in a sentence, please explain this sentence for me.

In that last moment, she sensed, mars had flashed au revoir, not adieu.

This is the last sentence of a story. Can you explain it’s meaning please. I think using this sentence at the end was very bad form for the writer. For me it’s the equivalent of a library book missing the last page. Looking the the words up didn’t help me enough to get the meaning of the sentence.

Thank you.

“Au revoir” means something along the lines of “see you around” or “see you again” whereas “adieu” is much more final. If it was the latter “she” would not hold out much hope of seeing “mars” again.

Thank you.

Literally, “au revoir” means “when we see each other next”, while “adieu” means “to God”, and is therefore more final a farewell.

Several Romance languages differentiate between “goodbye for now” and “goodbye forever.”

Back in 1980, the Lake Placid winter Olympics were very badly run, and European athletes were complaining (justifiably) about nearly everything. As the Italian contingent was packing to go home, one American said sadly, “I guess it’s ‘Arrivederci, Lake Placid,’ eh?” “No,” snarled an Italian athlete. "Arrivederci means maybe I come back some day. It’s “Adio, Lake Placid!”

In regular French, “adieu” is essentially never used, outside of dramas, novels, etc… Thinking for a moment, I thought of a situation where it might conceivably be used : you split up with your significant other and you feel extremely melodramatic, or at the contrary want to state clearly you hope you’ll never see him/her again. Or maybe you could use it ironically, for instance mentioning you have witnessed “heart-splitting adieus” when a couple of teenagers won’t see each other for an entire month. Or maybe emphatically : “I bid adieu to visit wonderful country I just spent wonderful vacations in”. “Adieu” means, indeed, that you won’t see the other person again, so that’s not something you’re going to say, if you’re not playing a person on his deathbed on TV. Or singing, like Jacques Brel, “Adieu, l’Emile je t’aimais bien, tu sais” (also on his deathbed).

On the other hand, in southern France, “Adieu” is commonly used like “Adios” in Spain, to say “goodbye” or perhaps even more frequently and weirdly enough : “hello”.

True, I don’t think I’ve ever used “adieu” unless I was joking or quoting something!

Around here, people are more likely to say “Salut!” (both as a hello and goodbye), “bye!” or “à bientôt!”, “à la prochaine” or… well, I think there are a million things people would say before reaching adieu! In fact, I think I’d likely hear any of those before “au revoir”, at least amongst friends, though I do hear it often enough.

I’m going to have to start paying attention to people now…!

I think it’s mostly a case of rarely running into a situation where you need to bid someone farewell forever.

This reminds me of an exchange from the movie Les Ordres. This film, based on true story, recounts the ordeals of a number of regular citizens who were arrested without charge (and for no good apparent reason) during the October Crisis. At the end of the movie, when they are at last released, one of the prison guards instinctively tells one of the prisoners “au revoir”. The reply: “Mark my words: you’re never ever going to see me again!” Delivered with a sense of just barely contained anger.

I think you’ll find many Francophones in Montreal saying “Ciao” quite frequently.