Je l’ai passé au peigne fin.

Je l’ai passé au peigne fin.

zhuh lay paa-SAY oh PEN-yuh FAA. Click below to hear this pronounced!  

I went over it with a fine-toothed comb.

You’ve lost your cellphone, and this is what you do to the whole house while trying to find it. Often spoken in exasperation!

Even when expressions are the same, they’re not the same! The fine-toothed comb is there in both languages, but in French you can’t say you went over something using the verb aller. In general, passer is the verb of choice when go over would be used in English, unless you are going over a bridge; that verb is traverser, to cross. The French language likes precision! There is a right word for everything in French. (See our posts on le mot juste and les verres de verre vert.)

So I hope you find your phone soon! Would you like me to call it for you?


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