J’étais à deux doigts de le faire!
zhay-tay ah duh dwahd luh FAIR. Click below to hear this.
I was this far from doing it! I was this close to doing it!
Whatever it was–giving someone a piece of your mind, calling a long-lost friend, buying the lucky lottery ticket, getting on the train that derailed… The expression doesn’t indicate whether it was my better judgment, my poor judgment, or just dumb luck that won out, but I was two fingers away from doing it.
Deux doigts can also be an actual measure, though an approximate one! If someone offers you more wine, and you only want a little, you say
Juste deux doigts, Just two fingers. if you want even less, say Un doigt, one finger.
Which is a pretty small amount, no matter how big the wine glass. So if you are à deux doigts de faire something, you are pretty close. Let’s hope you narrowly missed a bad outcome, not a great opportunity.
Are you wondering, by the way, why the sentence doesn’t say “du faire”? That’s a common question for beginners to ask, because you are taught early on that de + le = du. The exception to that rule is that you cannot use the du contraction unless le is the article before a noun. If le is being used as a direct object, it must stand on its own two feet.