I'm reading a novel, here's part of it

Son neveu le prince Fouad lui ressemble : une même soif de vivre, mais avec en plus un sens aigu des réalités. Très conscient de ses intérêts, il sait céder un peu pour obtenir beaucoup. Des situations difficiles il se tire par son charme. En cet instant il ne résiste pas à l'envie de taquiner Hatidjé sultane.

How to understand this line, “Des situations difficiles il se tire par son charme.”?

I guess it shall mean something like “for difficult situations, he is attracted by their charm”. Here “their” means “situations'“.

So questions:

  1. In the original sentence “son charme” shall be “leur charme”, right?

  2. Which unit of the sentence does “des situations difficiles” serve as? It's not subject, object, or anything, it's just dangling there! Like my example, “for difficult situations, he is attracted by their charm”, at least I would need a “for” there… but in the original sentence, no, there's nothing!

1 Answer 1


The sentence is oddly phrased, some kind of stylistic effect maybe. The object “des situations difficiles” comes first in the sentence. The normal way of writing it is the following:

Il se tire des situations difficiles par son charme.

That is “He gets out of difficult situations with his charms”.

  • thanks, now i got it, i misunderstood the meaning of "tirer".... sigh, "tirer" is too abstract, it can almost mean anything... :(
    – athos
    Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 15:00
  • 3
    @athos: “Se tirer” is used here, it's different from “tirer” (which has multiple meanings indeed). Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 15:04
  • Ok... Something new to know :) thx!
    – athos
    Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 15:35

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