LEARN FRENCH IN 3 MINUTES - French idiom: Avoir du pain sur la planche

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LEARN FRENCH IN 3 MINUTES - French idiom: Avoir du pain sur la planche


Hello everyone, I hope you are well.

Welcome to this video, where we will see a French expression in a few minutes. Today, we will see an expression that was asked to me by a subscriber.

This expression means having a lot of work to do. You asked me what this expression means, but also where it comes from. So let's see it together today.

Having work to do means that you have a lot of work to do, you have a lot of tasks to accomplish. For example, if you are organizing a party, you can say the guests are coming in an hour and I still have work to do.

I have to decorate the room, bake a cake, make the cocktails and do my makeup. I still have a lot to do. I really have a lot of work to do.

Here's some more context to help you understand. If you've just bought a new apartment or house and there's a lot of work to be done, you might say there's so much work to be done to make this apartment livable and pretty.

We have to redo the kitchen, break down walls, repaint, decorate. It is sure that we have work to do.

But where does this expression come from and why is it used in French?

There are many stories around this expression. We'll have two together.

The first story explains that the origin of this expression, to have bread on the board, goes back to the 19th century. As the peasants fed themselves with a lot of bread, it was essential to have sufficient reserves for the winter.

And when we said we had work to do, it meant that we had enough reserves to see it through. So there's this metaphor between bread and tasks.

So, it's not food reserves that we have anymore, but it's work reserves. So we still have a lot of work to do.

The second explanation of the origin of this expression goes back to the same period. The judges gave bread rations, portions to the criminals who were sentenced to do forced labor.

So, their sentence was to work for the state, so to do forced labor. So, this expression could also come from there. To have to work, to receive bread rations, that presaged a rather difficult future with very hard work.

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