2

C'est dans l'ordre des choses.

As I understand it, the sentence above means "that is only natural". In the following sentence, however, this expression seems to carry a different meaning – which has me puzzled.

Sache que dans l'ordre des choses, il nous est bien plus précieux que toi.

  • In English, this would be the order of things, and it would not be: "that is only natural". Also, that is not really the right use of précieux in French. A French person would say: il nous est bien plus cher que toi. You should know that in the order of things, he is more precious to us than you. être cher à quelqu'un. Il m'est cher: He is precious to me. – Lambie Nov 14 '16 at 15:20
  • @Lambie: Nothing wrong with précieux (I. 2. b). It has a slightly different meaning than cher. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 14 '16 at 16:13
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 14 '16 at 18:32
  • @LUNA: It seems that second sentence comes from the subtitles of a movie with least English, French, Dutch and Polish variants. Did it simply come across while looking for the meaning of this French expression on reverso? Do you maybe know what movie they come from? – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 14 '16 at 18:39
  • Apparently it's from The Puppet Masters, originally in English. “All you need to know is that in the scheme of things, she is much more valuable to us than you are.” – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 14 '16 at 18:50
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You are right, in the first sentence “l'ordre des choses” expresses a natural consequence. “Ordre” has temporal and causative implications. Wiktionary provides the following definition:

Ce qui arrive, ce qui se passe, sans qu’il soit possible de le discuter, de le refuser.

Quite surprisingly, in the second sentence it's used with a much more literal meaning. If all things were ranked according to how precious they are to us, he would come before you (by far). “Ordre” is to be understood as a comparison order, but using “ordre des choses” for a universal, absolute scale of importance in this way sounds very unusual1 and quite literary.


1. Apparently it was chosen for lack of a better translation that fits the format of subtitles.

  • Do you think that "in the (grand) scheme of things = putting things into perspective" is a good translation for "dans l'ordre des choses" in the second example? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 14 '16 at 19:06
  • “Ordre” may have a meaning similar to “scheme” or “arrangement”, “organization”. And this is a more accurate description of my own understanding than the comparison order I mentioned previously. What the translation team came up with is rather ok but unusual. The use of “ordre des choses” is really confusing here because it's a normally a dedicated idiomatic expression that implies causality, which it cannot be in this sentence. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 14 '16 at 19:20
  • So we are discussing translation from English into French from a sentence that comes from a badly translated movie script? The French has at least three mistakes in it. – Lambie Nov 14 '16 at 22:11
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meaning

expressions-françaises :

Le dictionnaire des expressions et locutions définit l’expression française c’est dans l’ordre des choses comme un événement normal, inévitable et prévisible.

wordreference :

that's the way it goes, that's the order of things, nothing to be done about it


Particular sentence

Sachez que dans l'ordre des choses, il nous est bien plus précieux que toi.

In your particular sentence, the verb savoir indicates the speaker is reminding the context, the natural, bounded to happen, order of things. In this context, "il" is more valuable than the listener.

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