Elle me casse les pieds.

Elle me casse les pieds.

ell muh kass lay peeYAY.  Click below for the audio file!  

She breaks my feet? What on earth is that about? Is her dancing so bad? Did she drop a rock on my toes?

None of the above. She bores me stiff! (Or She bores me to tears, or She bores me to death!)

That’s more like it. Who knows how the expression arose? I picture standing at a party, shifting from one foot to the other, longing to walk away and maybe sit on that inviting sofa in the corner. My feet are killing me. But I can’t leave, because she’s still talking. Oh, elle me casse les pieds!

Brief grammar reminder: when you speak of body parts in French–your own body, that is–you use an indirect pronoun instead of a possessive adjective. That means, in plain English, that you don’t say my feet. You say She is breaking the feet to me. In other words, she is doing something to you. Whose feet could they be, then, if not yours?


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