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On this page, we are going to teach you all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic proverb “Avec des si on mettrait Paris en bouteille”.
This include a complete explanation of what it mean and how to use it in a dialogue with an audio example. As well as the useful stuff we sprinkled like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonym and more!
By the way, you can also find more proverbs guides like this one on this page and all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!
“If only I was immortal.” or “If only I could fly.” or even “If only I was smarter than Einstein“. We all tend to say some crazy sentences starting with “If” like these.
Then, the purpose of this proverb is basically to discredit them and remind us that only (practical/tangible) actions matter. Need proof? Try to say: “Si seulement je pouvais mettre Paris en bouteille.” (“If only I could put Paris in a bottle“).
Chances are that you can say it, but can you do it?
Because with “Ifs” we could do anything, even putting Paris in a bottle, but it’s only with actions that we can make the world.
Let’s imagine you are talking with someone who often uses “If” sentences to make unfounded assumptions.
In this case, you can use “Avec des si on mettrait Paris en bouteille.” to remind this person that only action matter.
You can also add “Attention” (“Be careful“) at the beginning of the sentence if you want to emphasize the warning.
You probably wonder about the origin of this saying, well… it is unclear.
In fact, the most famous theory claims that it’s coming from “Avec des si on mettrait Lutèce en amphore“.
“Lutèce” (Lutecia) being the former name of Paris during the Roman empire. And “Amphore” (Amphora) being the name of antic vases used during this period.
* The French word “Scie” (“Saw” in English) is pronounced exactly like “Si” (“If” in English), adding a pun into the proverb.
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