The French idiom "Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser"

We are going to explain you everything you have to know about the funny expression “Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser”.

It includes a detailed explanation of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Along with the cool stuff we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!

If you want, on this page you can find our others expressions pages and all our tutorials about French words on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

  • Je → I
  • ne sais pas → don’t know
  • sur → on
  • quel → which
  • pied → foot
  • danser → to dance


According to various sources, this expression emerged during the 15th century.

And it means that you’re hesitating; you don’t know what to do or how to react; you are embarrassed. That’s why this expression is linked to a difficult situation, or a complicated choice.

But what’s the link with dancing?

In dancing, the order of steps is crucial. Then, if you don’t know “Sur quel pied danser” (On which foot to dance on) it means that you are lost.

How to use it

If you feel lost, don’t know how to react or hesitate between two choices, you can use “Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser“.

In case you want a simpler way to express this idea, you can use: “Je ne sais pas quoi faire” → “I don’t know what to do” or  “Je ne sais comment réagir” → “I don’t know how to react“.

Funny stuff

Similar expressions expresses the same idea, such as “Je ne sais pas où donner de la tête” (I don’t know where to give my head) or “Je ne sais pas à quel saint me vouer” (I don’t know which Saint to devote). And of course the (very familiar) expression “J’ai le cul entre deux chaises“, which emphasizes the feeling of dilemma and hesitation between two possibilities.


  • Je ne sais pas où donner de la tête → I don’t know where to give my head
  • Je ne sais pas à quel saint me vouer → I don’t know which Saint to devote
  • J’ai le cul entre deux chaises  → My ass is between two chairs (Vulgar)
  • Je ne sais pas quoi faire → I don’t know what to do
  • Je ne sais comment réagir → I don’t know how to react


Dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Tu vas voter pour qui ? “
” Who are you going to vote for? “
” Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser… “
” I don’t know which foot to dance​ on​​…* “
” Moi non plus “
” Me neither “
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