The series finale of Downton Abbey airs Sunday, March 6 at 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS. The show’s creator, Julian Fellowes, has made navigating English aristocratic manners and hierarchies a drama of its own, quite apart from sudsy plotlines, so we're saying farewell with an examination of one of the class markers he inserted into his scripts: the use of French words and phrases by the noble and wealthy characters.
Referring to her education, Lady Mary says: “All we were taught was French, prejudice, and dance steps.” When a character on Downton Abbey speaks French, they're signaling that they share that background. It's a way to show that a character belongs.
Arrivistes needn't despair—we've collected the most important phrases right here.