French Expression of the Day: j’en peux plus

French Expression of the Day: j'en peux plus
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At the end of your tether with someone or something? We have just the phrase for you . . .

Why do I need to know j'en peux plus?

Complaining is an essential part of French life and the more ways you can do it, the better you'll fit in. 

In fact, there are many different verbs for complaining – aside from se plaindre which is the most frequently used – including râler, rouspéter, ronchonner, grommeler, grogner and maugréer.

So, what does it mean?

J'en peux plus means 'I can't take it anymore', 'I've had it' or 'I can't do it anymore'. 

You might hear someone using this phrase while involved in an intense conversation on their phone on a cafe terrasse. 

The expression is informal and is used when the reason for the speaker's despair is obvious to the other person in the conversation, with the en (it) representing whatever that might be.  

It's important to note that the absolute correct version of this expression is je n'en peux plus but like so many phrases in French the ne is often dropped in everyday usage. 


Il arrive un moment de la journée où je n'en peux plus, et je suis pratiquement arrivé à ce point. – There comes a point in the day when I can't take it anymore and I have almost arrived at that point. 

Le bébé pleure tout le temps, j'en peux plus. – The baby cries all the time, I've had it. 

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