Impossible n'est pas français

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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).

Example

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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Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "Impossible n'est pas français." ThoughtCo, Oct. 23, 2017, thoughtco.com/impossible-nest-pas-francais-1371316. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, October 23). Impossible n'est pas français. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/impossible-nest-pas-francais-1371316 Lawless, Laura K. "Impossible n'est pas français." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/impossible-nest-pas-francais-1371316 (accessed January 16, 2018).