1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Je suis en eau profonde."

"Je suis en eau profonde."

Translation:I am in deep water.

March 4, 2013

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemmingofdestiny

Do the French use this phrase as a common metaphor to mean "My situation is very serious."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It can be literal if you are a diver, of course, but figuratively, it may mean that you are in a situation you don't control for lack of visibility, and the form would rather be in plural : en eaux profondes. Yet, as Aurélien says, it is not very common.

Other close expressions like "entre deux eaux" are much more usual (= managing to not chose between two opposite parties/opinions).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aurelienche

Yes, you're right, « entre deux eaux » is far better! With water, I can also think of « en eaux troubles », literally “in murky water”, to express the fact you don't really know the situation you are dealing with.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemmingofdestiny

Thanks, interesting responses!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/avanade

être pris entre deux eaux = stuck in the middle


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kalukuhan

Better than being in deep doodoo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AwesomelyHumble

je suis en merde profonde.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I am in deep ... = je suis dans la ... jusqu'au cou (= up to my neck)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlbertChhab

Thank you for this expressive sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/michael.richters

The words I am given to choose from (translating French to English) force me to use the English translation, "I am into deep water." I'm not aware of any English dialect in which this is correct. "I am in deep water" works, but "into" requires another verb: "I am getting into deep water." Furthermore, this is not how an American would typically express this apparently metaphorical statement. As someone else pointed out, "I'm in over my head" would be far more common.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

What do you mean by words you were given to choose from? Do you mean the hints?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/misawa.mandi

No, if his was like mine, we were given word tiles to click on to build the sentence. Instead of "in" it gave us "into".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

The expression is really not idiomatic (natural) English with "into". If you see "into deep water" again, please report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shan007

Can you say "Je suis dans eau profonde" and does it carry the same meaning as "je suis en eau profonde"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"en eau profonde" is kind of idiomatic.

if you want to use dans, you need an article (as usual) : dans l'eau profonde


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdrianJosh

So in some stuff like countries you wouldn't use any articles after en?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

That's right, preposition "en" kind of contains the article, except in literary phrases.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VivianKN15

Could it mean something as to "I am in hot water"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

No, it means "deep water", i.e., to be in a difficult situation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elisabethshah

The English phrase "in hot water" usually refers to the specific category of difficult situation wherein one has run into trouble with some sort of authority (one's boss, the police, a parent or teacher, a regulatory agency, etc.).

Not wholly dissimilar, perhaps, but not quite the same either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

Right. It's one thing to be "in deep water" (a difficult situation) and another thing to be "in hot water" (in trouble)!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dapetras

We also say in English 'you are treading in deep water'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John787925

That doesn't sound very natural to me (British). It sounds like a combination of "in deep water" (in trouble, or in a difficult situation) and "treading water" (literally: swimming on the spot, or figuratively: doing things in a routine and boring way, not making any improvements, putting in the minimum effort to just get by). If you wanted to combine the two idioms, there's a third that contains aspects of both: "keeping your head above water", which implies both the risk of drowning and the lack of progress.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

keeping your head above water = garder la tête hors de l'eau

nager en eau trouble = in trouble, definitely (always figurative)

nager en eau profonde = in deep water (rarely figurative)

nager sur place = treating water (figurative)

nager entre deux eaux = between two worlds (figurative)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suchiththa

This has sort of been answered, but not quite fully in my mind, so I'm going to ask the question.

I understand that if we were to use dans, it would need to be followed by the definite article, at least in this particular case (or some other article in other cases), but I feel a chicken and egg problem coming along.

Do we use en because we use eau OR do we use eau because we use en? Also, why doesn't en need the article afterwards? Is there a historical linguistic reason for it? I'm very curious about this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Usually "en" is a substitute for "dans le/la/les", which explains why it goes without an article. The preposition "en" is often used in fixed phrases which behave with their own grammar, and most often with immaterial things, like time (en novembre, en hiver, en 2017) and places (en France, en Europe).

"En eau profonde" is fixed and has figurative meaning, whereas "dans de l'eau profonde" has a concrete meaning.

Please take a look at other fixed expressions with "en": "en effet" (in effect), "en outre" (furthermore), "en revanche (however), "en cours" (in progress), "en aucun cas" (in no way), "en avance" (ahead of time), "en retard" (late), "en bonne santé" (healthy)... there are hundreds!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suchiththa

To clarify, when you say 'fixed' you mean that these are established phrases, not just things someone can just make up? And most (if not all) of these phrases that have nothing to do with time often are idiomatic in nature, or convey more than just the literal meaning?

I'm starting to like French. Ç'est trés bon!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

When I say "fixed", I mean "set". And yes, many set phrases using "en" have nothing to do with time or space, and this is why they do not all translate to English phrases using "in".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suchiththa

Merci pour la clarté Sitesurf!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

You're welcome!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatthiasDenu

lol So I can't say "I'm in deep ❤❤❤❤" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tibbycat

Je suis en merde profonde?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

You can, but you have to promise to wash your mouth out with soap afterward....and be sure to use the Lifebuoy. But seriously, Matthias, to be "in deep water" just means you're in a difficult situation, not that you are necessarily "in trouble". Bonne courage !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/N.Rennard

Profonde = Profound


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

There is not a guaranteed word-for-word single answer for French words. Profond(e) has a number of meanings: deep, overwhelming, heavy, profound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mctrunfio

This does not make sense to a native English speaker. There must be an easier way to translate this or a more relevant phrase to use in French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

The expression is common enough but you may not have heard it. The literal expression "to be in deep water" is a metaphor for being in a difficult situation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gpbalis

your posts are always very helpful. I have another question I was marked wrong because I wrote profond instead of profonde. Is it profonde because eau is fem. ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2072

That's right. It can be tricky with the nouns that start with vowels because we don't see them as "le" or "la". Bon courage !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gpbalis

Merci beaucoup


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yutmen

This is what I find most difficult thing when seeing a noun starting with a vowel whether it uses le or la


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Yes, "une eau" is countable as well.

All French nouns can be learned with their indefinite article "un" or "une".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

C'est une eau pure et claire

Voici la ligne de partage des eaux.

Les eaux du fleuve sont polluées.

J'aime mieux l'eau gazeuse que l'eau plate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amir.pro

I don't understand when to use (en) or (dans). May someone help me?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

In many cases, "en" can mean "in" in a figurative, non-concrete way, whereas "dans" is used with physical and material things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shamshoomi

Look at the reply to my question above you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shamshoomi

When does one use "en" and "dans" when both meaning in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ketutsf

Both words can be used to mean in a location, but "dans" is used before nouns that require an article:

  • Je suis en eau profonde. = I am in deep water.
  • Je suis dans l'eau profonde. = I am in the deep water.
  • Elle est en classe. = She is in class.
  • Elle est dans la maison. = She is in the house.

The two words can also be used to talk about things happening in time, and there are rules that determine which one to use. Here is a link: dans vs. en


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shamshoomi

Thank you for the very clear explanation :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amir.pro

Really helped, thanks...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/naphira

I tried "I am in trouble" but it wasnt accepted. Too profonde of a stretch I guess!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shahrazad26

I have always heard it said "deep waters". Should be accepted. I can't report it cuz I'm on the Android app.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maryli82

Why isn't it "Je suis en l'eau profonde"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

As already said several times, we Can't use an article after en.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ali-Alreshaid

Duolingo confuses me with the liasons. It is not connecting the last 's' is "suis to the 'e' in "en".

Is there a lesson explaining when to use a liason and when not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BillLamber1

would "je suis dans eau profonde" be incorrect? I'm not sure when to use "en" and when to sue "dans".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suchiththa

Sitesurf explains a few comments above:

"In many cases, "en" can mean "in" in a figurative, non-concrete way, whereas "dans" is used with physical and material things." I think this is a solid way of knowing when to use it. I'm in deep water is not talking in this sense about literal water, but in the figurative sense. A bit like "I'm in deep ❤❤❤❤".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ketutsf

See replies to Shamshoomi and Suchiththa, above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

When you use "dans", you need an article: dans un/une, dans du/de la, dans le/la/les

When you use "en", you don't need an article: en février, en 2018, en colère (= angry), en eau profonde


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Z-Morg

So in French "profond" means both a "deep thought" and literally depth (as in water)?

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.