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"Il ne faut pas mettre tous ses œufs dans le même panier."

Translation:Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

December 21, 2013



Correct me if I'm wrong, but "oeufs" should not have the sound at the end. It is one of the words in French for which the sound is shortened when in the plural. (I think it is the same with boeuf and boeufs).

  • 1222

We are aware of this audio problem.

Fixing the audio problems is not trivial, that's why we could not fix these problems so far. We are keeping track of them, and we'll fix them as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience and understanding!


Are you a Contributor?


Yes, Remy is an administrator of French Duolingo.
If I got the detail right, administrators are those that prepared the initial tree before the moderators (like Sitesurf) came along.


How come you have a star in your picture frame?


If you had read the comments you might have deduced that it is because he is an administrator of French Duolingo.


I have looked deeper into it and it seems it was Aesop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesop) who popularised the expression in one of his stories (The farm girl who collected her eggs). So any culture that was influence by ancient Greece (that is a lot of them) probably has the saying.


Why is "he must not put all his eggs in the same basket wrong"?


Because it is not any of the ways native English speakers say this expression. It is an idiom, which is a fixed expression not just meaning the actual words used.


But the idiom is IN French, the language which we are here to practice. Indirect equivalencies are the work of the literary translator. Literal translations should be supported and rewarded - even in the case of idioms.


Hi - There are two problems.

1) Il ne faut pas does not mean HE must not - it means ONE must not (these days we tend to say "YOU" instead of "ONE") Il faut is a construction and in it IL refers to IT, not HE. You need an indirect object pronoun if you want the obligation to "belong" to someone.

  • Il ne LUI faut pas - means HE must not

2) If you support and reward literal translations, you can easily end up with sentences that don't make any sense at all, especially in this idiom section, but that applies to any section at all. Even simple sentences such as

  • On est samedi = We are Saturday

  • J'ai dix ans = I have ten years

Or take the idiom Il pleut des cordes = It is raining ropes

Even though we are learning French, there are lots of non-native english speakers that are learning French and also lots of Frrench people doing the reverse tree. The translations need to be the correct way to say something in each language, not a word for word translation. Google Translate can do that :)


I lost a heart for " Don't put all your eggs in the one basket", a bit harsh I thought, since this is the exact way we use the idiom in Ireland.

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@PaddyJohn: it is now accepted, thanks!


If an idiom has several versions depending on the country using it, they have to be submitted with "Report a problem". Please be specific (and if possible add links proving your point) when doing so, that way the staff will be more inclined to add your proposition.


Bravo! I was going to comment, but then you posted this and your response is so clear and well-stated.


It accepts literal translations of these idioms, if they're correct.


can someone please explain the difference between tout et tous?


Hey buddy, tout= masculine singular form(uncountable) of "all", and tous is its plural form. Hope this helps.


Why is it not 'toutes'?


That's feminine plural. (And "toute" is feminine singular.)


In French, we always use "TOUT" except in these cases:

-when "LES" is following "TOUS" like in "TOUS LES JOURS" (means "EVERYDAY") Another example: "tous les français apprennent l'anglais" (all the French people learn english) but: "touT le monde apprend l'anglais" (everybody learns english)

  • when it refers to a group of people (masculine or mixed form) , when it means "everybody", like in this expression: "merci à tous" (Thanks to all) Another example :"ils sont tous fous" (they are all crazy)

feminine form: toutes


in the first case we don't hear the "s" at the end of "tous" that's why it's difficult to know if you put a "t" or a "s" , so you have to remember this rule. in the second case , we hear the "s".


Is this expression really used by the French or is it a translation from the English saying? I lived in France for a while and never heard the expression. Can someone from France help out? Merci beaucoup!


This is both used and understood. Of course, as any such saying, it's more likely to be said by older people. HTH!


but what does it mean? do you know? is it something like 'don't put all your money on the same horse'? (I'm trying to translate from and into Dutch..)


Yes it's exactly the same (I am french)


Doesn't accept the literal translation of "he must not put all his eggs in the same basket"? Since there are many many variations in english, I thought the best thing would be to translate it - I guess not...


Try "one" instead of "he", I heard that works.


Translation is to convey the same meaning the way it is said in the new language, not to transpose each word. So, it would be better to report it as a problem, using the option My suggestion is right and explain when and where it is said as you think is correct to say it.


A question for English speakers: why is "One shouldn't put all HIS eggs to the same basket" and not "One shouldn't put all THEIR eggs to the same basket"?


The possessive pronoun (ie who owns the eggs) has to agree with the subject.

In this case, the subject is singular, and their is plural so it can't be used.

The possessive form of ONE is ONE'S So the "correct" answer would be One* shouldn't put all ONE'S** eggs in one basket.

BUT, usage dictates language and in the US, it is common to replace the possessive "ONE'S" with either "HIS", or even "YOUR".


Or "her", or "their", or "his or her", or ... there are a lot of options for those who don't believe in "one's".


What's the difference between "placer" and "mettre"?


To place and to put.


I am not a english native speaker...it really confused me why duo used ses if it means to say vos...i translated it to "dont put all his eggs in the same basket"……


Your trouble is that not the same words are used in the two languages. The French sentence is litterally "One should not put ..." (Il faut is a general formula meaning one/we/you should/needs/need depending on the context, but the actual pronoun used is il. The possesives of il/elle/on are son (masculine singular), sa (feminine singular) and ses (masculine or feminine plural). Here we talk about oeufs which is plural, thus ses.

So, French uses a totally different construction of the phrase than English.


Why doesn't the sentence on french directly address the 'you' in the translation?


Because this is an idiom. This section is full of idioms. They are matching the phrases closest in meaning between French and English. They will only rarely be direct word for word translations. If you were doing that you'd get something closer to 'It is necessary not to put all ones eggs in the same basket'. But that isn't what the English idiom is.


I thougt it was there is no need to put all eggs in one basket. Why false?


Because that is a different meaning.

There is no need to put all eggs in one basket means something like the situation is not such that there is any necessity to put all eggs together in one basket (we have access to more than one basket, we have enough arms to carry several baskets, we have enough time to go back and forward to collect the eggs).

But the meaning of this exercise phrase is to tell the listener to spread the risks. If you do put all eggs in one basket, and drop this basket all eggs are broken. But if you put some eggs in one basket and some other eggs in another basket and drop one of the baskets you still have some eggs left.


Because 'there is no need' means that it is not necessary to do something, although it would not actually harm the situation to go ahead and do it anyway. Whereas 'one should not' conveys that it is a bad idea to do the thing in question.

So here, there being 'no need' to put all eggs in one basket would mean that you shouldn't waste your time piling all your eggs into the specific basket when you could presumably distribute them among your baskets in an easier way. But that is not the meaning of the idiom in question: the 'should not' element of this idiom is important because it is risky to place all of your eggs in one basket, since if that single basket is compromised, then you might lose all your eggs.

To put it more simply, 'there is no need' is different from 'one should not', because 'there is no need' does not sufficiently advise against the risks of poor asset distribution, which is what this idiom is designed to do.


Question: When do you use "il est necessaire" vs. "Il faut que" and in this case why would the idiom not have "Il ne faut pas que" Doesn't "que" always go with the translated verb "faut?"


There are two ways of using "Il faut"

  • Il (ne) faut (pas) + Infinitive

  • Il (ne) faut (pas) + QUE + Subject + Subjunctive + Object (if needed)

With the first construction, you are just saying that something needs to be done, and with the second, you are saying what needs to be done and who needs to do it.

Il faut le faire = It is necessary to do it = It must/has to be done

Il faut que je le fasse = It is necessary that I do it = I must/have to do it

I'm not sure where this question is in the tree, but maybe DL hasn't introduced the subjunctive yet - or maybe this is the lesson on the infinitive.

You can also use the infinitive construction above with an indirect object pronoun to say who, as well as what needs to be done (eg Il ME faut faire ... versus Il faut que je fasse...)

I will link your question to someone who can tell us whether there is any difference in usage. I think that "proverb-like" expressions are usually expressed with the infinitive, if using il faut que for these types of expressions, the "obliged" person would be "on" (as the English "one")

"Il est nécessaire" can also take the infinitive if it is followed by DE = Il est nécessaire de faire... or the subjunctive if followed by QUE, Il est nécessaire que je le fasse

It is my understanding that "Il est nécessaire/C'est nécessaire is used less often than "il faut", but there may be other subtle differences. I will ask.


A good explanation. However, one thing that confused me was:

"There are two ways of using "Il faut" Il (ne) faut (pas) + infinitive Il (ne) faut (pas) + QUE + objet + Subjunctive"

Wouldn't it be more correct to say?:

Il (ne) faut (pas) + QUE + subject (not 'object') + subjunctive

'Il ME faire" = using what you called an 'object pronoun' is a new construction for me so maybe I don't understand. I don't think that after QUE the grammar construction is an object, but rather a subject with the subjunctive verb.


Thank you so much!! You were rightly confused - thanks for pointing that out. The subject follows que and the object (if used in the sentences) follows the subjunctive. I will edit my post as it is a rather major blunder. As was Il me faire - I left out "faut" - thats what happens when you don't reread what you have written!!

This site covers falloir really well if you want to take a peek.



Thanks! So if there was an object, how would I say it? For example, how would you translate, "I must do the dishes." (Il me faut faire des vessailles. ?) How about, "I must do them." (Il me les faut faire. ??)


We would use the pronoun.

So for your question "Tu as fait la vaisselle ?", we would answer:

"Non, il faut que je la fasse."

If you were to use "il me faut", then it would be:

"Non, il me faut la faire."


The French expression for "to do the dishes" is faire LA vaisselle So working with that, you can either say

  • Il me faut faire la vaisselle

  • Il faut que je fasse la vaisselle

Then if you want to use a pronoun for the dishes, it would be feminine singular (la vaisselle) and needs to go before the verb faire

  • Il me faut la faire

  • Il faut que je la fasse

So you were on the right track :)

BUT whether this construction would be used when you were talking about doing dishes, I'm not sure. I have seen it used with cooking and shopping so should be OK eg Il me faut le faire (un gateau) Il me faut la faire (une galette) Il faut que je les fasse (les courses - "grocery shopping") etc

A French native would be able to confirm it, but I will also check and get back to you :)


While the construction "Il me faut le/les/la faire" is strictly speaking correct, I've never heard it used in common French. We use the other one instead. So for doing the dishes:

"Il faut que je fasse la vaisselle." would be what people would tell you most of the time.


Thanks Arjofocolovi :) Just what I needed to know :) But would you need to repeat La vaisselle if asked you a question or would you use the pronoun in the Il faut que construction? eg Is this the "most likely" exchange ?

  • Tu as fait la vaisselle?

  • Non, il faut que je la fasse. (Rather than "Il me faut la faire")

And that if they use the Il me faut... construction, the object would follow the verb faire rather then a pronoun preceeding it.


I just heard back from the native speaker I asked. They said that here you need the infinitive because it is a proverb; they are usually phrased with the infinitive and cannot be changed, because they are a set phrase.

Use the infinitive when you are talking about a general thing (ie no-one in particular has to do the job, just that the job must be done) = Il faut manger

If you want to specify WHO has to do the job, then you can use either of the following - there is no difference

  • Il faut with the infinitive and an indirect object before the verbe = Il ME faut manger

  • Il faut with the subjunctive and a subject before the verb = Il faut QUE JE mange

Il est nécessaire is apparently less "absolute"- less rigid, less of an obligation, so in that sense it seems to be very much like our it is necessary versus must.

HTH :)


One must not put all the eggs in the same basket. Am I wrong???


the eggs = les oeufs

The expression is ses oeufs, which is possessive, so either your eggs (in the "general" sense of your) or one's eggs depending on whether your sentence has your or one as the subject. In your sentence, you have used One must, therefore you need one's eggs.


This should accept 'their'. As in 'One should not have eyes bigger than their stomach'. For starters one of the suggested answers 'Bigger eyes than the stomach' doesn't make perfect English, at least in my head. Because that implies that the stomach is some external object not related to the person.

Whereas 'their' indicates non-gendered ownership. It does not necessarily mean plural ownership, as some people on this page have contended.


You can certainly use a singular "their" in modern English, but it should match a singular "They". Here you started with "One", which better matches "one's" instead.


Right, as in "If they are a person who has needs give them their things".

However, don't you find "One should eat one's carrots" weird? Why should we repeat the same word twice? That sounds like poor, third-person English. I wouldn't say "Tim is going to eat Tim's carrot" I would say 'his' (or her if Tim is a girl).


Since ‘one’ is a pronoun in this position, it has its own possessive pronoun ‘one's’. But calling it a pronoun is kind of arbitrary. If you want to use ‘their’ (or ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘his or her’, etc) instead of ‘one's’, that makes sense, but the grammar books will disagree with you (and so Duolingo might too). But go ahead anyway, you may change things!


Haha, no I won't try to fight the system. xD But thanks for your information!


May be "Don't let the fox guard the hen house" is the same in this case.


No, that has a different meaning. That's about who is in charge of something - and don't put someone in charge who has a conflict of interest. 'Putting all your eggs in one basket' is different - it's about spreading your personal risk, or not pinning all your hopes on one thing.


Wouldn't this also be the same as "don't count your chickens until they've hatched?" Or is that different?


It's different. The sentence duo gives means that, you should do diversification(save some money, invest some in stock market, buy estate, etc) to reduce your risk of losing lots of money in one single event. For example, if you save all your money in one bank and then it go bust.


"Too many cooks spoil the broth" it is a good translation? I am an italian native speaker


No, that one means too many people contributing can overcomplicate matters and make things worse. This one means, don't depend on just one thing succeeding, spread the risk.


Why is "don't keep all your eggs in one basket" wrong?


1) mettre is put not keep. 2) The English idiom far more commonly uses 'put'. Since it is more common in the English version and matches the French verb, then why use keep?


I am Ghanaian (i.e. a near-native speaker of English). Over here, we use keep more often than put though both are used quite interchangeably.


I think that "Your"= "Vos" or "Tes", why it's not possible? because you tell about "You" not about "Her" or "Him".


It's an idiom. You don't translate it word for word. Please read comments.


I wrote: "You don't put all of your eggs in the same basket" and it was wrong. I think that it should have been accepted as a proverb (i.e. One doesn't put...)


It's not enough of a generalisation that way. It sounds like you could be saying that that particular person doesn't put all their eggs in one basket.

The trouble with you Jimmy, is that you don't put all your eggs in one basket

Rather than an instruction/order not to put all your eggs in one basket.


How about "on ne vit qu'une fois"? It is translated as "you only live once". I think it is enough generalization. Why not apply the same principle here?


Definitely correct with you only live once

But You don't is not the same. It is not a piece of advice any more. Because it is no longer in the imperative form, it is actually just a sentence.

I am a native speaker and if you put you in front of don't you no longer have the "proverb" effect.

Even with "one" it doesn't work with doesn't, because it just a sentence saying that people don't put all their eggs in one basket, plutôt On ne met pas tous ses oeufs.. au lieu de Il ne faut pas... or On ne doit pas...

It works with shouldn't or mustn't - You shouldn't/mustn't put all of your eggs in one basket.

So, don't alone is in the imperative form so works, otherwise, with you, you need should not or must not

Sorry if I wasn't very clear at first.


I thought il meant he or it. since when did it mean one?


Il faut, or il ne faut pas is a package. If you read more of the comments on this thread you will be enlightened as to its use. It's idiomatic. It doesn't literally mean one. It is translated as 'It is necessary to not' It's just that the most common English form of this idiom uses 'one must not' or sometimes 'You must not' using the impersonal you. Idioms are something that frequently cannot be translated word for word. I highly recommend reading prior comments before adding questions of your own. You will find often that it has already been asked and answered.


I did not read all 70 comments I admit. I realized that everyone was using it as a "package" but i did not understand its literal translation in which you have just explained so thank you. Also, I do apologize if this question was already asked. I'll read more carefully next time. Meany.


Do french people actually use this expression or are we just translating english expressions?


It's the other way around, we're translating French idioms into English. But as English shares some idioms with French, sometimes translations match an English idiom perfectly, like in this exercise.


Okay, so is "tous" supposed to have that sound at the end?


Question: is it customary to add negatives on have and must e.g. "ne faut" and "pas mettre"? And have them follow each other?


The negatives are all on faut 'il ne faut pas' is the package. mettre is just the infinitive that follows it.


What?!! I don't get it.


The meaning? The idiomatic French? The use of 'il faut'/'il ne faut pas'? Be specific if you want help.


I don't get the meaning of the idiom,that's what.


As has been mentioned elsewhere in this comment thread, it advises against risking all your assets on one thing. Spread the risk is the meaning of the idiom. Diversify your portfolio. Don't rely on the success of one thing.


One of the answers is really clumsy English. No one (in England at least) would ever say 'It is needed not to put all your eggs in the one basket'.

My answer 'It doesn't do to put all your eggs in the one basket' is the kind of thing we would actually say and should be accepted.


Why is "One shall not place all their eggs in the same basket" wrong?


Well, this is curious. We have a similar expression in Italian which can be translated literally with, "breaking the eggs in the basket" / "romper les oeufs dans le panier", but it has a complete different meaning: it's a (quite funny) way of saying, "hindering somebody's efforts" or simply "bothering somebody" (for example, it would be the perfect sentence for a Scooby Doo villain at the end of the episode).


American English here. Duo did not accept what I view to be a perfectly acceptable version of the idiom: "don't place all your eggs in one basket". What does everyone think?


Its not necessary to put all your eggs in the same basket. could use an up vote


damn this is wrong too: it is necessary to not put all your eggs in the same basket :( frustrated today with idioms.


I translated it to "do not place all your eggs in one basket" and it corrected it to put. Is it wrong to use place instead of put?

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