I came across this sentence:

Comment ne plus se mettre dans tous ses états pour un oui ou pour un non ?

(It's the first sentence of the preface of Petite Philosophie Du Matin.)

This seems to translate to "How to stop being in all its states for a yes or a no?" That doesn't make sense to me. Is that a correct translation?

1 Answer 1


No, that is not a correct translation, and the reason for that is first, that "se mettre dans tous ses états" is an idiomatic expression that means "to get into a state" (strangely enough… when in French it's a matter of all of one's possible states (whatever that is), in English it is just a matter of one state (whatever that is)…), and second, that the same goes for "pour un oui ou pour un non" (for a trifle).

(Cambridge Dictionnary) se mettre dans tous ses états
get into a state to become very upset or anxious
♦ She got into a right state when her daughter did not come home from school at the usual time.

So your translation might be as follows.

  • How to avoid getting into a state for no apparent/good reason. (also, "for a trifle", "for any little reason", over nothing", "at the drop of a hat", Word Reference))

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.