Lui dire ces petits mots doux à l’oreille ou bien par texto vous fait toujours plaisir, notamment quand il répond en vous donnant un nickname à son tour. Attention à ne pas trop en faire au début de la relation.

{vs}: Attention à ne pas en faire trop au début de la relation.

From a sentence structure standpoint: In the first case, "trop" is considered to be much more linked to "pas" than to "en". In the second case, on the other hand, "trop" is related solely to "en" with little to do with "pas".

The "pas trop" version comes more naturally to me, but I can't put my finger on exactly why. I wonder if it is because in the construction "preposition + (ne pas) + infinitive", an adverb tends to be placed as close to the preposition as possible, as in:

Tu as l'air de bien t'en sortir.

  • 1
    Just adding a comment here. French is my mother language, and the second one sounds better to my hears, and is easier to say/read. In common discussions, I would rather use the second one ! Anyway, for a native, both mean the same.
    – Ob1lan
    Dec 4, 2017 at 14:54
  • @Ob1lan Hi. In English, for instance, I tend to prefer to place at the end an important word that packs more punch than others -- in this case, the word "trop". Ending this part with the word "faire" kind of gives the impression of the sentence petering out, as the most important word here is "trop", not "faire". I wonder how French speakers generally think about this? Dec 4, 2017 at 15:09
  • La 1ére formulation est plus littéraire, surtout si la liaison est faite dans "trop en". Le ton est plus doux, vous avez raison, que quand "trop" est en fin de phrase. Do you mean "Attention a ne pas trop bien t'en sortir" vs "Attention à ne pas t'en sortir trop bien" ? Nobody would say "tu as l'air de t'en sortir bien", because you don't know what "bien" refers to. But "tu as l'air de t'en sortir pas trop mal" is OK.
    – jcm69
    Dec 4, 2017 at 21:14
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    Que voulez-vous dire par "stylistiquement meilleur" ? Tout dépend de l'effet que vous voulez produire. Cela dit, j'ai très rarement entendu "nickname" dans une conversation en français, surtout dans ce contexte. Si jamais on utilise ce mot, c'est toujours dans le sens d'un pseudonyme qui cache votre identité (surtout sur Internet) et non dans le sens d'un surnom qu'on se donne dans une relation amoureuse.
    – Distic
    Dec 5, 2017 at 12:22
  • @Distic Je suspect un ami Québécois ! Dec 5, 2017 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


I'd say (but it is very subjective, I must admit) that "en faire trop" has a slight tinge of "overplaying or overdramatizing something" to it whereas "trop en faire" seems to have a kind of exhausting-oneself-by-overwork hue to it. It's a bit far-fetched though and a lot of people might not feel like I do.

  • I agree that this slight change in word order creates a nuance along the lines you describe that might even cause ambiguity about exactly what warning is being given. This might not be what you're saying, but I could take "Attention à ne pas en faire trop" as a warning against "making too much of/exaggerating the importance of" this early flirting, whereas "Attention à ne pas trop en faire" could perhaps be seen as a warning against "engaging too much" in this sort of behavior/early flirtation. Regardless, +1.
    – Papa Poule
    Dec 6, 2017 at 17:19

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