Tout lui réussissait à souhait

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New Member
Brazilian Portuguese
I was reading "Blanche Belle" by Le Chevalier de Mailly and I came across that "tout lui réussissait à souhait" part.
Firstly it was a little confuse to me to understand but it became clearer when I found the expression (can I say it is an expression?) on other contexts.
I could understand it means something like "everything was running smoothly" but I do not get the construction yet.
And, maybe because it is an old tale, maybe because of the other sources I found, I have this impression that it sounds a little outdated, is that right?
I can understand "réussir" as succeed and "souhait" as desire, but I cannot see a reason in the order, the pronoum "lui" (can it be changed?) or the preposition. Sorry if I am asking a silly question but I can just speak French like a tourist and this literary language is quite new to me. Below the other sentences I found and could also guess the meaning of it as "everything was okay":

"Annibal, ravi de ce que tout lui réussissait à souhait, pensa à faire réussir le reste"
"Tout lui réussissait à souhait, lorsqu'un des glaçons que charriait alors le fleuve fit chavirer l'un des bateaux qui portaient les canons"
"Après divers essais heureux sur panneaux et sur muraille, Timoteo vit que tout lui réussissait à souhait"
"Elle était dans les mains du Seigneur. Comme elle ne voulait rien que la volonté de Dieu en tout ce qu'elle entreprenait, il arrivait que tout lui réussissait à souhait"
"Il avait conduit son affaire avec sagesse, jusque-là tout-lui réussissait à souhait"


  • Fadi.

    Senior Member
    Hi Alec,
    not easy to explain but I'll try.

    I think that what troubles you is that: the verb "réussir" can be used in several ways.
    You may say:
    - Réussir quelque chose (as a transitive verb, meaning = achieving something) For ex: il a réussi son examen
    - Réussir à quelqu'un (as an intransitive verb, meaning = something turns out well for somebody) For ex: sa nouvelle vie lui réussit

    It might be helpfull to look at this thread "réussir à"

    Now, "à souhait" only means "at will" or "as he/she could wish".

    Hope this will help you!


    New Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Fadi, je vous remercie!

    It is really a little difficult to get used to these "multi-meaning" verbs, thanks for the link and sorry I didn't think of searching the words separatedly (I thought it was an expression)! But now I see that what also caused my confusion was the fact that I couldn't figure "à souhait" as "at will". Probably I misunderstood it by any form of the verb "souhaiter". Anyway, everything got clearer now. Perhaps I should say: "Tout me réussissait à souhait!"

    Best regards,

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