In the French language, I'm searching for a natural way to say,

  • There's no harm in applying a little coat of paint, though.

My intention in saying or writing this is to express that someone has a magnificent house but there are some spots here and there where the paints are peeling and I think a little paint job might be needed. I don't want to make it a pushy advice. I just want to make it a milder recommendation. I don't know how I can get across this softer meaning without becoming too pushy.

  • Here's a (tongue-in-cheek) alternative to the English version that tries to rely on the assumption that the owner is already aware of (and planning to address) the problem, and which might sound less pushy (and, unfortunately, be less successful) (regardless, I wouldn't know how to put it in idiomatic French... sorry): ... "Your house is magnificent [and the color scheme is perfect]! Please tell me that you're not planning to change the colors during the repainting!" – Papa Poule Aug 28 '18 at 21:33

I'd say something like:

(C'est une jolie maison.) Un coup de peinture subtil ne lui ferait quand même pas de mal...

The wording "un coup" and "subtil" (with understatement) as well as the conditional "ferait" serve to make your suggestion sound less direct, even if the house could definitely use some serious repainting...

  • In the question the house is being talked about as being magnificent ; you'd certainly displease the owner if you would call it only "jolie", that is a certitude as far as French is concerned. – LPH Aug 28 '18 at 20:16

3 options (subject to context); shouldn't be taken as the last word on the question

  • Une réfection des peintures ne ferait cependant pas de mal.

  • Il ne manque qu'une légère couche de peinture pour une touche finale parfaite.

  • De nouvelles peintures est tout ce qu'il manque à cette maison pour parfaire son élégance.

  • If you don't mind my asking, on the scale of "pushiness," where do you think "ne serait pas de trop" and "ne serait pas inutile" would fall vis-à-vis: (1) each other and (2) "ne ferait pas de mal"? (for what it's worth, I'd say "ne serait pas de trop" more clearly establishes a minimum than the other two and is therefore the most pushy of the three, but between "... pas de mal" and "... pas inutile," I'm not sure if I see a big difference [except that maybe using "... pas inutile" might require adding a verb: "Faire une réfection/ Donner une couche ... ne serait pas inutile]) Thanks! – Papa Poule Aug 28 '18 at 22:29
  • @Papa Poule Vis-à-vis each other they appear to say the same thing from a factual point of view: what's too much is often not useful and vice-versa, and I see no other point of view. Either of the two, weighed on the scale of pushiness, make for a rather blunt statement of opinion: you are sure of what you assert. In such a context, the use of "pas de mal" is not factual but, as it seems to me, it has more or less the same effect as the other two: it makes for a rather blunt statement of ideas. However the terms of the English used ( There is no harm...) (continued) – LPH Aug 29 '18 at 8:06
  • @Papa Poule do confer already a certain bluntness; I would probably have opted for another form of the verb: something as "There might be no harm...", even used a question form (There might be no harm..., wouldn't you think?). Then the use of the French rather equivalent term is in keeping with the translator's obligations: (continued) – LPH Aug 29 '18 at 8:07
  • @Papa Poule he may make use of grammatical constructions that are not equivalent, he may also use translations that are more or less litteral but he should not temper to any appreciable degree with such caracteristics as tone and register. Perhaps I should not have considered the plain statement (There is no...) as what was to be rendered into French and realised that the mind of what can be read in "My intention...pushy." was to be made part of it, wouldn'you say? I misread the question then as a problem of translation when it is really a problem in writing in French. – LPH Aug 29 '18 at 8:07

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