noyer son chagrin dans l'alcool

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New Member
French - France
Hello :)
I would like to say in english "il aimerait noyer son chagrin dans l'alcool"
Can I say "he would like to drown his sorrow in alcohol" ?

Thank you !
  • Mezzofanti

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of pukka UK English
    Unless you are referring to a very specific "chagrin", the plural "drown his sorrows" would be more natural and, in my opinion, "in alcohol" is superfluous. The expression "to drown one's sorrows" is already a well-known metaphor for using alcohol to escape from distress.

    The Prof

    Senior Member

    The expression that we usually use is 'to drown one's sorrows', so just pluralize the word sorrows. It is not even necessary to say 'in alcohol':
    -He would like to drown his sorrows. ;)

    Having thought about it, I realise that it would also be possible to use your original suggestion: 'He would like to drown his sorrow in alcohol,' but there is a subtle difference between them.

    'To drown one's sorrows' means to drink to forget one's problems, or to get over an upset of some kind (quite possibly something of little importance). It is very clichéd.

    'To drown one's sorrow in alcohol' is much more literal (and literary). It suggests that the person feels deep and genuine sorrow, and really does intend to use alcohol to eradicate it from their mind, if only temporarily.

    That is how I would differentiate between the two, anyway. :)
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