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Impossible n'est pas français

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: Impossible n'est pas français

Pronunciation: [eh(n) puh seebl nay pa fra(n) say]

Meaning: There's no such thing as can't

Literal translation: Impossible isn't French

Register: normal

Notes: The French expression impossible n'est pas français is actually a proverb, equivalent to "there's no such thing as can't" or simply "nothing is impossible." In French, you should never say that something is impossible, because - according to the proverb - impossible isn't even a French word. Likewise, in English, you should never say that you "can't" do something because the concept of "can't" doesn't exist. In other words, nothing is impossible and there isn't anything you can't do. It would make a good motivational poster in either language (if you're into that kind of thing).


Tout le monde m'avait dit que c'était impossible ; moi, je leur ai répondu qu'« impossible n'est pas français » et puis je l'ai fait.
Everyone told me "you can't do that"; I told them that there's no such thing as can't and then I did it.

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