The other day I was at the hospital and I witnessed a conversation between two doctors about some intern:
Tu es sans pitié, dis-moi... En même temps, elle n’aurait pas autant envie de nous rattraper si on n’était que douceur avec elle. [user Con-gras-tue-les-chiens, on French Stackexchange, cc by-sa 3.0]
- Could you explain in simple terms what that last part means or what you understand from it?
- Is that last bit a typical, meaningful and clear French expression or construction, can you explain how it works, why is there a noun (douceur ; softness) and not an adjective (doux ; soft) here, is that a comparison, a metaphor, is that colloquial, is that (seemingly word for word "to be but something with someone") an idiom?
- What would be other idiomatic ways to express this or to rephrase the last part of the sentence, are there synonyms to douceur which would be more typical in this context, are there any set expressions with a similar meaning in French?
Once I figure this out I'll be able to find an equivalent for these in any language I please on my own.