What is the difference between using "faillir" and "il s'en est fallu de peu que"?

DeanC1Kwiziq community member

What is the difference between using "faillir" and "il s'en est fallu de peu que"?

For example, "J'ai failli le faire" vs "Il s'en est fallu de peu que je le fasse."

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Dean,

They are very close in meaning , it is the difference between to be close to doing something and to almost do something.

Up to you to judge which one to use...

DianeB1Kwiziq community member

I don't get the 2nd one...what is exact translation?

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Diane,

It is indeed a very interesting impersonal expression -

S'en falloir de peu/d'un cheveu  etc. = to have been close to something by a very  little margin

Take a look at the following examples to clarify its use, often in the perfect tense and is followed by a subjunctive :

Il s'en est fallu d'un cheveu qu'ils gagnent cette élection = They came within a hair of winning this election 

Il s'en est fallu de peu que tu te fasses renverser par la voiture = You came so close to being run over by the car

Hope this helps!

What is the difference between using "faillir" and "il s'en est fallu de peu que"?

For example, "J'ai failli le faire" vs "Il s'en est fallu de peu que je le fasse."

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