le jeu en vaut la chandelle

< Previous | Next >
  • geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Hello Jane66, et bienvenue sur le forum :)

    It means "it's not worth it". It is apparently linked to gaming :

    Le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle : Cette expression signifie communément ne pas valoir la peine.
    A l'origine (XVIième siècle), elle signifierait que les joueurs (de cartes, de dés) estimaient que les gains remportés ne suffisaient même pas à payer la chandelle qui les éclairait durant la partie.
     

    CARNESECCHI

    Senior Member
    French / France
    Hello,
    Just a little thing, geve, "it's not worth it" = " le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle" while Jane66 asked for "le jeu en vaut la chandelle", just to be sure she's not confused !!!!
    Anyway, Thanks for the explanation, I'll remember!!!!!
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    CARNESECCHI said:
    Just a little thing, geve, "it's not worth it" = " le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle" while Jane66 asked for "le jeu en vaut la chandelle", just to be sure she's not confused !!!!
    oops :eek: I guess I'm more used to seeing it in the negative form...
     

    edwingill

    Senior Member
    England English
    In English we also say the game is worth the candle but usually in the negative the game isn't worth the candle
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Interesting to know !
    There are probably card players in England too, who used to light the room with candles all the same... And it's probably more common to use it in the negative, since when a game is worth the candle it's usually worth more than the candle...
     

    imot3p

    Member
    French
    saw somewhere this in French as a translation for "the juice is worth the squeeze"
    but it was in the past where I saw it, it was"the juice was worth the squeeze" translate by " le jeu en valait la chandelle"
     

    Janni65

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    I know this expression has been discussed previously on the forum and I understand what it means, but I am looking for a good, idiomatic English expression to convey its essence.

    I have never heard 'the game is worth the candle' and I don't think it would mean much to English readers.

    An expression which I saw on another thread was 'the juice is worth the squeeze', which I like.

    I just wondered whether there were any others which I have not thought of.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Googling The game is not worth the candle returns more than 8000 hits.

    Question: Is it always used in the negative form?
     

    Janni65

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    Thank you everyone for your input and your links.

    After much deliberation I'm going to translate 'le jeu en vaut la chandelle as 'it's a risk worth taking'.
     

    Antipodean

    Senior Member
    English (Australian)
    I share Suehil's view.

    There is also an informal expression we use in Australia very frequently : It's a mug's game. According to the OED, it relates to an activity that is foolish to engage in because it is likely to be unsuccessful or dangerous. I'm pretty sure this is understood and used in BE in general - but I'm not sure about AE.
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    I share Suehil's view.

    There is also an informal expression we use in Australia very frequently : It's a mug's game. According to the OED, it relates to an activity that is foolish to engage in because it is likely to be unsuccessful or dangerous. [...]
    OK, but Suehill's phrase (expressed in the negative) is the opposite of the thread title.
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    "The game's not worth the candle" (I, too, have only seen it expressed in the negative), suggests a risk that is better forgone; a potentially wasted effort.

    You want to ask that Republican group to contribute to the Obama campaign? Forget it. The game's not worth the candle.
     

    JulieH

    Member
    English, American
    Don't waste your breath? Or more appropriately, it's not worth wasting your breath over...
     

    djamal 2008

    Senior Member
    arabic
    he risk should pay off.
    And it's worth taking a chance.

    It reminds of a line in Casablanca : I'm not sticking out my neck for no one...
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    Don't waste your breath? Or more appropriately, it's not worth wasting your breath over...
    Oops... Like Antipodean's suggestion, this is the opposite of the thread title.
    L
    e jeu en vaut la chandelle means that it is worth taking the risk.
     
    Last edited:

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Valoir la chandelle, "to be worth the candle," dates back from the 16th century when, at night, one would have to ask oneself if something was worth the candle to light the room in which to do it.
     

    jwalk

    New Member
    Russian
    Another question about this expression --
    Why does the pronoun "en" have to be used here?

    Thanks!
     

    Lacuzon

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hi,

    Valoir la peine de = to be worthwhile to.
    En valoir la peine = to be worthwhile.

    I guess the whole locution is le jeu ne vaut pas la (peine de la) chandelle which explains the en.

    But I'm not grammarian!
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top