Elle est toujours là pour m’épauler.
eh lay too-zhoor lah poor may-po-LAY. Click below to hear this pronounced!
She’s always there to back me up.
Q: When is a shoulder not a shoulder not a shoulder?
A: When it’s taken aback!
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that!
But this expression is just plain backwards, all the same, whichever way you look at it. That’s why it’s so much fun!
If une épaule means a shoulder, then épauler must mean to shoulder, as in shoulder a burden. Right?
Nope. That’s endosser, which is related to back, or le dos. (Did you know that when you “dosido your partner” in a square dance, it means to “go back to back”? In French that’s dos à dos, pronounced do-zah-do.)
So in French, you say, Il a endossé la responsibilité, or He shouldered the responsibility.
But when someone backs you up in English, you say Elle m’épaule: Literally, She shoulders me. She’s letting you lean on her shoulder.
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