Il n'y a plus qu'à nous séparer

Carl in Mississippi

USA, Engilsh
I am reading Tin Tin again. He says "il n'y a plus qu' 'a nous separer." Looks like "the only thing to do is separate ourselves." Later Milou says "Il n'y a plus qu'une seule chose 'a faire." "There is only one thing to do." My dictionary gives "il n'y a que" as "we just have to." I think I can understand this usage. My question is why is the word "plus" included in the expression? For emphasis? Thank you.
  • Donaldos

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Not emphasis : a more accurate translation of Il n'y a plus qu'une chose à faire would be There is only one thing left to do.


    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Hi CiM... :)

    Your translations are good, but you might add "the only thing left is to..." and "there's only one more thing to do..."

    The "plus" suggests that all other options have been tried.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Il n'y a qu'à nous séparer. - We only have to split up.

    Il n'y a plus qu'à nous séparer. - There's nothing left but for us to split up.

    Without the plus, the expression could be saying that all they have to do is to split up.

    The plus adds the idea of there being nothing else left where there once had been something; it's the ne...que which supplies the idea of only.