Il ne faut pas vendre la peau…

Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué.

el nuh foe pah VAH-druh lah PODE LOORSS aa-vahd laa-vwaar TWAY.  Click below to hear this pronounced!  

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Or, taken literally: You mustn’t sell the bearskin before you have killed it.

Because if you do, we may have to quote another proverb to you:

Ce qui est fait est fait.

skee ay FAY ay FAY.

It’s no use crying over spilt milk.

Or, taken literally: What’s done is done.

See? Everything has consequences, including using the expression il ne faut pas. Which, by the way, does not mean it isn’t necessary to, but rather you must not. After il ne faut pas , you have two choices: a verb in the subjunctive, or a verb in the infinitive.

And here’s a word of advice: always choose the infinitive if it’s a valid choice. Your life will be so much happier and more worry-free. And you have that option as long as the person who is referred to by the first verb (il ne faut pas) is the same as the person performing the action of the second verb (vendre).

In this example, you are the one fulfilling an obligation (you must), and you are the one not selling, so you can and should use the infinitive (vendre).

Of course, you are probably best off in the first place if you avoid bears altogether!


One response to “Il ne faut pas vendre la peau…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Il ne faut pas vendre la peau… | Spk Frnch --

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