Il nous faudra travailler d’arrache-pied!

Il nous faudra travailler d’arrache-pied!

eel noo foh-drah trah-vah-YAY dah-RASH-peeYAY!  Click below to hear this pronounced.  

We will have to work like the dickens!

While we’re on the subject of feet (see this post!)…here’s one for you. Travailler means to workArracher means to yank off. Pied means foot. So we are going to work until we yank our feet off? No, thank you!

Actually, it means to work hard and without letting up. Your feet are safe, no one’s going to do anything to them. No one knows how this expression came about, but it has been around since the year 1515 at least, so it’s probably here to stay! And it’s picturesque, to say the least.

The rest of this sentence is a good model for expressing the concept of having to. Il faut que means it is necessary that…, but you have to use the subjunctive after il faut que.

If your French is still wobbly and you’d rather avoid the subjunctive, use the following pattern. Leave out the que, and use an infinitive (the to form of the verb in English): il faut travailler, it is necessary to work. This could mean I, you, he, she, we, they–anyone must work. To specify who must work, add a pronoun: Il nous faut (we must). Il me faut (I must). Il lui faut (he must). And so on.

Then, to make a statement about the future (…will have to), say Il faudra. That’s the future of this very irregular, very weird verb.

That way, il ne faudra pas travailler d’arrache-pied just to express yourself in French!

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