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I want to know if there is an expression I can use that is similar to "there is no chance in hell". How would a native French speaker convey this idea?

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  • There is the opposite : Le noir n'est pas si noir, and also Le pire n'est jamais sûr :-)
    – Istao
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 6:53

7 Answers 7

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I would suggest you for this kind of discussion:

Q: Will you go out with me?

A: There is no chance in hell!

the following in French:

Q: Veux-tu sortir avec moi ?

A: Même pas en rêve !

Or, in a more formal discussion:

There is no chance in hell that government approve this proposition.

Il n'y a pas la moindre chance que le gouvernement approuve cette proposition.

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I'm not aware of any French idiom with the same meaning that refers to hell. The typical idioms for “things that have no chance of happening” are:

quand les poules auront des dents

and

la semaine des quatre jeudis

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  • 4
    Thanks for the suggestion. I guess these would be equivalent to the English "when pigs fly" :) Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 14:06
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To stick with a hell-related expression, you could also use

Il neigera en Enfer avant que...

litterally meaning

It'll snow in Hell before...

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  • J'ajouterais : « Quand l'enfer gêlera. » Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 4:30
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    J'ai hésité à la mettre, car je ne saurais pas dire si c'est une traduction littérale de l'expression anglaise, ou si c'est vraiment utilisé en français... Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 8:09
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The positive expression “une chance d'enfer” is the only one that I know that involves “chance” and “hell”… but that's more like “a hellish luck”.

More seriously, to express that “there is no chance in hell” I might say

Il n'y a pas l'ombre d'une chance

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  • Il neigera en enfer avant que… also involves the chances of something happening, and hell. Yes indeed, luck has little to do with the OP's question. Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 16:34
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I'd say that in place of “there is no chance in hell”, in similar situations, we would often suggest someone “not to even think about it”. (Note that it doesn't necessarily convey the same “I will not allow it” meaning as in English.)

— Tu devrais lui demander.
— Parler à ce gars-là. Bah, n'y pense même pas !

(“There is no chance in hell I will talk to him!”)

Sometimes the suggestion goes to a third person:

— Il dit pouvoir remporter la médaille d'or l'an prochain.
— Ah ah ha ! Qu'il n'y pense même pas !

(“No chance in hell this could happen!”)

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Tu peux rêver ! (In your dreams!)

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    Ah ? Je dirais « tu rêves », ou à la rigueur « tu peux toujours rêver », mais pas « tu peux rêver ». Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 18:50
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Pas même en rêve est une expression récente (début du 21e siècle) dérivée directement de l'anglais in your dreams des séries télévisées. Un équivalent plus ancien est: tu peux rêver (dream on).

Pas la moindre chance would be closer to not a chance in hell. But more research is needed as they say.

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    Je n'ai jamais entendu Pas même en rêve, en revanche, Même pas en rêve est une expression bien française, plus ancienne que les séries télévisées ou même que la télévision.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 18:45
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