Rien que d'y penser

SeanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Rien que d'y penser

Lots of interesting idioms in this exercise like - "rien que d'y penser" and "sans que j'y puisse quoi que ce soit". 

I'm trying to break down "rien que d'y penser" into English.  Rien que = nothing that or nothing but.  De = I'm just starting to recognize that "de" often comes after "que" in certain phrases (Je dors plutot que de travailler).  Y penser = to think about it. 

I still don't see how sans que j'y puisse means I can't or I am not able.  What does "y" refer to?

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi everyone,

Just to add to your excellent answers, these are two interesting idiomatic expressions.

Rien que d'y penser = At the very thought/idea of it

Sans que je puisse ( y faire) quoi que ce soit = Without being able to do anything about it 

'Y faire ' is implied by just using the y 

You might be more familiar with - 

Sans pouvoir rien y faire which means the same thing and could have been used instead.

Hope this helps! 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Perhaps it's the same as this:

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/expressions/je-ny-peux-rien/

SeanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

It seems like "faire" is understood "je n'y peux rien" but not used in this phrase, which makes it hard conceptualize.  The next dictee also had a good idiomatic phrase, "rien de tel que" - "there's nothing like a ...".  Helpful because the meanings of these little French sayings are not immediately obvious to me.

AmirC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I believe the closest meaning to sans que j'y puisse is "Out of my control" and I think y is a replacement for à + [thing(s)] / [object(s)] 
So basically y is the thing that is out of my control

SeanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Amir, I still don't get the use of "y" with "sans que j'y puisse".  You would say, "Je peux le faire" not "je peux à le faire."  So, what does "y" refer to?

"Rien que d'y penser" is different because "je pense à quelque chose" so the use of "y" makes sense.

Sean asked:View original

Rien que d'y penser

Lots of interesting idioms in this exercise like - "rien que d'y penser" and "sans que j'y puisse quoi que ce soit". 

I'm trying to break down "rien que d'y penser" into English.  Rien que = nothing that or nothing but.  De = I'm just starting to recognize that "de" often comes after "que" in certain phrases (Je dors plutot que de travailler).  Y penser = to think about it. 

I still don't see how sans que j'y puisse means I can't or I am not able.  What does "y" refer to?

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