Discover the French idiom "Mettre les points sur les i"

You are going to discover all the things you have to know about the basic French expression “Mettre les points sur les i”.

Are included a complete explanation of what it is and how to use it in a dialogue with an audio example. And that’s not all, we also added super useful stuff like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!

Oh and… you will also find our others expressions explained on this page and all our French words explained on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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French to English

Pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?

Definition

  • Mettre → To put
  • Les points → The dots
  • Sur les “i” → On/over the i’s

You are copying the super long WiFi code from the router and the last letter is “|“. But wait, is it a small “L” or a capital “i“?! You try the first option: failed. You have to type everything again.

What was the problem here? Easy, they just, literally, didn’t put the dots over the i’s: they were not crystal clear with the instructions.

That’s why when someone is being super precise with something, he/she is “putting the dots over the i’s” (“Il/elle met les points sur les i“)

a.k.a. this person is being so precise that there is no possible confusion.

How to use

To be more precise, we can use it in two cases.

The first one being what we explained above, for example, to express: “I had been very precise about it” you can say “J’ai mis les points sur les i“.

But there is a second scenario, linked to the first one but more subtle. On the example above “precise” was literally referring to precision, but it works also when “precise” is used to say “bossy” or “harsh” or “direct“.

For example, your boss just fired someone harshly and with a “bossy attitude“, then you can say “On peut dire qu’il a mis les point sur les i…” (We can say that he put dots over the i’s…).

Because once again, there is no debate, no confusion, this guy is fired. Period.

Synonyms and similarities

  • Mettre les points sur les i et les barres aux t. (“To put the dots over the i’s and the bars to the t’s“)
  • Mettre les points sur les i et les barres sur les t. (“To put the dots over the i’s and the bars over the t’s“)

Dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Tu vas le réprimander ? “
” Are you going to scold him? “
” Oui. Je vais mettre les points sur les i. “
” Yes. I’m going to put the dots over the i’s. “
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