Il n'y a pas de quoi te payer à boire

j-Adore

Senior Member
English (BrE)
"Voici ta récompense. Il n'y a pas de quoi te payer à boire dans les meilleures hôtels de la cité, mais ..."


I understand that the expression "il n'y a pas de quoi (me remercier autant)" usually means "there's no need to do something", but I'm having trouble tanslating this expression in this specific sentence.


??? "There's no need for me to pay you so that you can drink at the fancier hotels in the city, but ..."
 
  • Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    Hi,


    in this precise context, "il n'y a pas de quoi faire XXX" means "there is not enough [money] to do XXX".

    Here is your reward. It's not enough money to drink at the fancier hotels in the city, but....
     

    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    @Michelvar Merci. Could you clarify two points for me?

    1. Regarding the preposition "à", does the reflexive "se payer à faire" mean "treat oneself to the pleasure of doing something"?

    2. Regarding the "de quoi", does this sentence translate more literally as: "There's not something/much/enough with which you can treat yourself to ..."?
     

    Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    "se payer à faire"
    It not this structure, it's not "se payer à".
    • "à boire" is a set structure meaning "something to drink", as well as "à manger" means "something to eat".
    • "se payer quelque chose" just means to buy something [for you own use].

    So, "se payer à boire" = to buy yourself a drink, to treat yourself with a drink.

    Regarding the "de quoi", does this sentence translate more literally as: "There's not something/much/enough with which you can treat yourself to ..."?
    yes, that's it.
    It's not especially for money. If you speak about a bucket of cement, you can say "il n'y a pas dans ce seau de quoi construire ce mur", there is not enough in this bucket to build this wall".

    "de quoi" = "assez pour".
    Also at the affirmative form : il y a largement de quoi manger à deux! There is plenty food enough for two!
     
    Last edited:

    j-Adore

    Senior Member
    English (BrE)
    @Michelvar Oh, thank you. Is it OK to omit "il n'y a pas" in casual speech and writing?

    "Voici ta récompense. Pas de quoi te payer à boire dans les meilleures hôtels de la cité, mais ..."
     

    guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    As Michelvar said = there isn't enough to pay/buy YOU a few drinks in the best hotels (however ....... e.g. you can buy a couple of bottles of wine at LIDL with your reward)
    The verb is not reflexive = se payer à boire means pay for yourself / pay for your own drinks. This means WE are giving you enough to buy yourself a couple of beers in a pub!
     
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