Came across this sentence in Astérix and had no idea what it meant. The main character, Astérix, says "J'aimerais bien une bonne bagarre," and his friend Obélix responds "Faut pas trop y compter."

What does his response mean?

  • 4
    Good choice of "bandes dessinées" ;)
    – SwissFr
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 6:51
  • Just started the series! There's so many of them though....doubt I'll ever get through them all. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 7:42
  • Yeah right, there are 36 of them. But I think it's worth
    – SwissFr
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 7:57

4 Answers 4


"Faut pas trop y compter" has a simple correspondence to English:

  • "Faut pas" - must not
  • "trop" -- too much
  • "y" -- may depend on context but in this case, 'on it' or 'on that', i.e. "what you just said"
  • "compter" -- count

So "Must not count on it too much".

More idiomatically,

  • I'd really like a good fight
  • "[you or we] Can't count on that!" or "You'd better not count on that too much", implying, "That good fight you're counting on might not happen"
  • Your answer + GAM PUB's answer together give all the info I need, wish I could accept both. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:11

The y is for “il y a une bonne bagarre”, the compter is “to count on” with the nuance of anticipation, prevoir in french.

Therefore : You should not count on it (on any good bagarre).

  • 1
    I'm sorry, I still don't follow. Is faut short for Il faut... ? I don't know what it means at the beginning of a sentence on its own. You've perfectly explained the y compter, but I actually don't understand Faut pas trop either. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 7:42
  • I would have interpreted your question the same way oldergod did
    – GAM PUB
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 8:11
  • @Aerovistae: yes, "faut" is a shortcut of "il faut", here. Happens a lot in spoken french (which the BD (Bande Dessinée) describes) (note: I use "Happens" instead of "It happens", as an illustration of the same kind of shortcuts in English common langage ^^) Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 12:28
  • @GAMPUB that makes no sense. There should be no interpreting going on, I asked about one sentence and only half of that sentence was explained. How does it make sense to "interpret" my confusion as only pertaining to the y compter? Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:11
  • @GAMPUB moreover you then went on to answer my question perfectly so I'm especially confused. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:16

So two things in your question:

  1. faut is a standard truncation for il faut, a necessity modality marker; in this context => you shouldn't
  2. y compter stands for compter sur ça => count on it

Dropping the impersonal il happens with other verbs:

  • faire: fait froid, fait suer, ...
  • y avoir: y a rien, y a pas photo, ...

But not all, with meteo verbs, it's not common to drop the pronoun:

  • il pleut => [iplø] but not [plø]

Faut pas trop y compter is a shortcut for

Il ne faut pas trop compter là-dessus.

faut is third person of the defective verb falloir.

This translates:

One shouldn't count too much on it.


One shouldn't rely too much on it.

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