In « Le Lambeau » by Philippe Lançon, there is the line « Rien de ce qu'on vous dit n'est, quand vous entrez dans le monde où ce qui est ne peut plus être vraiment dit. » which I cannot understand, and neither can DeepL which chucks out a garbled "Nothing you are told is, when you enter the world where what is can no longer really be said. " which isn't even a full sentence. For context, this quote is a response to the rhetorical question « Un an pour récupérer? ».

So could someone help me put this into comprehensible English?

  • 1
    Pour être honnête, cette phrase m'était totalement incompréhensible avant de lire la réponse de jlliagre.
    – XouDo
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 8:57
  • The translation is kinda straightforward in a way, but I'm actually very impressed that DeepL wasn't completely lost. Athough, thinking about it, it's not too surprising as it was likely fed with tons of literary works. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


The verb être is used with its philosophical meaning here so might translate to "be real" or "exist".

Think of Descartes' Je pense donc je suis (cogito ergo sum / I think therefore I am).

Deepl translation might be slightly modified that way:

Nothing you are told is (for) real, when you enter the world where what is real can no longer really be said.

See the TLFi:

Être [...]
B.− [En parlant d'une chose] Exister, être réellement comme le vérifie l'expérience; en particulier être conforme à la réalité. Ce temps n'est plus; le temps n'est plus où... :

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