enfoncer une porte ouverte, enfoncer des portes ouvertes

  • Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I'm looking for an English equivalent of "Enfoncer des portes ouvertes".

    I could simply use "to state the obvious", but I'd like to find a more vivid, idiomatic expression, with a similar degree of metaphor to the French original.

    Any ideas would be welcome.

    Ws:)
     

    Wopsy

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Wopsy, d'you mean we say that to mean "you're stating the obvious"? (That's a new one on me!)

    Ws:)
    I have seen it used in the context of one person justifying a request for something, and the other person saying 'You're pushing an open door', meaning 'You're going to get it, there's no need to justify your request'. Rather like 'You're preaching to the converted'.

    What is your exact context?
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...]
    What is your exact context?
    A French colleague asked me how to say in English (spoken) and in similar idiomatic style: "Si vous présentez ces arguments à (audience X), vous risquez d'enfoncer des portes ouvertes".

    We discussed what he meant exactly, and he considered that it could simultaneously contain different nuances:
    (1) risk stating the obvious
    (2) risk nagging in vain
    (3) risk teaching them how to do their jobs
    (4) risk giving them information they already have.
    (5) risk 'selling' them a viewpoint that they already share

    I can think of idiomatic sayings for:
    (2) ... flogging a dead horse (or 'whipping a dead horse' — thanks, Runan)
    (3) ... teaching grandmother to suck eggs
    (4) ... taking coals to Newcastle
    (5) ... preaching to the converted (or, Wopsy, your 'pushing an open door')

    But he felt that (1) was the strongest element of what he had in mind — simply 'stating the obvious' — and I'm stuck for an idiomatic expression that doesn't carry one or another of the specific nuances.

    Ws:)
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Interesting list provided by Wordsmyth.
    (4) ... taking coals to Newcastle
    (5) ... preaching to the converted
    are normally both rendered by : "prêcher un converti" [also "preaching to the choir"], a bit different than : enfoncer une porte ouverte / enfoncer des portes ouvertes which is basically what has been said already :
    stating the obvious
    .
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I would say that 'you're (quite) likely to be ...' is a better translation of 'vous risquez de'.
    Right on, Wopsy. 'Risk' was just a bit shorter to read five times over.:p

    Interesting list provided by Wordsmyth.
    (4) ... taking coals to Newcastle
    (5) ... preaching to the converted
    are normally both rendered by : "prêcher un converti" [also "preaching to the choir"], a bit different than : enfoncer une porte ouverte / enfoncer des portes ouvertes which is basically what has been said already :
    stating the obvious
    Aoyama, I agree that those examples stray away from the simple "stating the obvious" — which is why I was looking for another idiom.

    On the other hand, there does appear to be a second meaning for "enfoncer une porte ouverte": Definition (1) here. Could there be a difference in usage between "une porte ouverte" and "des portes ouvertes" ?

    Ws:)
     
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