C’est une goutte d’eau dans la mer.

C’est une goutte d’eau dans la mer.

say ewn goot DOE dah lah MARE. Click below to hear this pronounced!  

It’s a drop in the bucket.

Or rather, a drop of water in the ocean.

Une goutte, a drop–in a bucket or in the sea–is an infinitesimally small thing: insignificant, without effect, changing nothing.

Or is it?

J’ai la goutte au nez means I have a runny nose (literally, I have a drop in my nose). Very annoying, and enough to prevent you, let’s say, from making that important speech or singing a solo. (Pronounce: zhay lah GOO toe nay.)

Il prend la goutte means He’s having a nip (of alcohol). What if he has a few gouttes, and then gets behind the wheel of a car? Don’t even think about it. (Pronounce: eel prah lah GOOT.)

On lui a fait du goutte-à-goutte means They put him on an IV drip (literally, They did a drop-by-drop on him). Lifesaving, perhaps, and not in the least bit insignificant! (Pronounce: aw lwee yah fay dew GOO tah GOOT.)

And don’t forget the ripple effect, or l’effet de vague (the wave effect, lay-fay duh VAHG)! It only takes une goutte, une seule (just one) to start it.

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