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Click here for definition (1) Click here for definition (2)

I would like to know if I can use this expression when I receive good news qui dépasse tout ce que je pourrais imaginer about another person (e.g. a friend) and I am happy for that person / friend or do I only use this expression when I get news qui dépasse tout ce que je pourrais imaginer and that makes my life harder?

Thank you for your help! :)

2 Answers 2


You can't use that expression for good news.

C'est un comble is used to react to something you strongly disagree with, something outrageous.

On the other hand, you can use comble with a positive value in expressions like:

Je suis au comble de la joie !

  • 1
    I would tend to agree with you, but the first example given in the question is actually quite positive, and I must say it doesn't sound too far off, even though I probably wouldn't use the expression there myself... or anywhere actually it's not really part of my usual registry, I find it a bit outdated and/or formal
    – Laurent S.
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:49
  • @LaurentS. Not that positive in my opinion. The person telling that is possibly jealous or at least unhappy with the sequence of events.
    – jlliagre
    Feb 19, 2021 at 9:55
  • 1
    aaah maybe you're right indeed... I'm too positive :-) "C'est un comble !" could maybe be here replaced by "Enfoiré !"...
    – Laurent S.
    Feb 19, 2021 at 10:00
  • @jlliagre The person (which is “I”) isn’t jealous. Simply, I hear good news of another person e.g. a friend qui dépasse tout ce que je pourrais imaginer and I’m happy for that person/friend.
    – SFR
    Feb 19, 2021 at 15:27
  • 1
    @LaurentS. Probablement avec summum ou apogée ? Perso. je trouve l'expression familière mais je suis au comble de la joie, soutenu. Feb 19, 2021 at 18:33

No, you do not use this expression when your news are good; the proof of that is that, from the definition, you can equate this expression to "c'est insupportable", which means "it is unbearable".

The expression "c'est un comble", possibly slightly modified, is perfectly proper in all types of spoken language. Here are instances of its use in various conversations.

Football, Marlène Harnois, froid chez soi, garer sa voiture

  • @ LPH Thank you!
    – SFR
    Feb 19, 2021 at 17:03

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