the French expressions

Well, here we go again…It doesn’t eat bread?! No, it’s not that. Breath, take it easy and enjoy the ride!

What does it mean?

When something doesn’t demand a lot of effort, doesn’t have any consequences or doesn’t imply a big risk, we use the expression “Ca ne mange pas de pain”. But, why “bread”? Well, you must know now that France is known for its big consumption of cheese, wine and of course bread.

Where does this expression come from?

Let’s start with a little bit of history so that we can understand the word choices. This expression was first used in the Middle Ages, when bread (pain) was one of the basic foods in people’s diet. Hence, it represented a big part of every house budget. 

Decisions had to be made in order to keep the food budget in balance, so people had to choose products that didn’t limit the bread intake, most of all in modest families. On that account, people would buy inexpensive goods or, in French, products that “ne mangent pas de pain”. In fact, the verb “manger” (to eat) acquires in this phrase the meaning of “coûter” (to cost), which leads to the idea of products that don’t require high expenses.

In which context can we use this expression?

This is a very common expression that we use in daily conversations. It can be used as a little stratagem to convince others at the end of a negotiation, for instance. If it is as easy and simple as it sounds, people will easily feel tempted to agree with you and try their luck. Let’s see some examples in daily life :

Example N°1 :

Isabelle, tu peux quand même faire un compliment à ta sœur, ça fait plaisir et ça ne mange pas de pain ! (Isabelle you can at least make a compliment to your sister, it’s nice and it doesn’t do you any harm!)

Example N°2 :

Il faut penser à un plan B concernant cette stratégie. Nous éviterons les soucis et ça ne mange pas de pain. (We must think of a plan B for this strategy. We’ll avoid problems and it will be easier.)

Example N°3 :

Allez vas-y essaie ! Tente le coup, ça ne mange pas de pain ! (Go ahead, try it! Try your luck!)

Nevertheless, nowadays the gluten intolerants are popularizing this expression in its literal sense. Now there are less people eating bread because of this type of allergy, so to describe this you can say “Il/elle ne mange pas de pain”.

Anyways, now you know how to use this expression and convince people to start this business you’ve had in mind for a while ! Don’t hesitate, it won’t do any harm! 😉

Written by: Ingrid Hernandez

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the French expressions

the French expressions

the French expressions