French phrase of the day: Y’a pas photo

French phrase of the day: Y’a pas photo
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Learn to be more decisive by using this phrase.

Why do I need to know y’a pas photo?

Because not only will you sound very French, you’ll also appear more confident.

What does it mean?

Il n’y a pas photo is used when comparing two or more things – it means that one is clearly ahead of the others.

In informal conversation it’s often shortened to y’a pas photo.

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It comes from horse racing, where a photo finish is used for incredibly tight races. When it’s difficult to see which horse crossed the line first, you need to check the photo.

By extension, il n’y a pas photo (literally “there’s no photo”) means there’s no need for a photo finish, because the winner is clear.

You can use it to compare pretty much anything, and the person you’re speaking to will understand immediately how strongly you feel.

There are plenty of potential English translations, including:

  • It’s a no brainer
  • Hands down
  • No contest
  • It’s not even close
  • By far

Use it like this

Le PSG est la meilleure équipe en Ligue 1, il n’y a pas photo – PSG is hands down the best team in Ligue 1

Je préfère la cuisine française à la nourriture britannique, y’a pas photo – I prefer French cooking to British food, no contest

‘Tu préfères quelle robe ?’ ‘La rouge, il y a pas photo’ – ‘Which dress do you prefer?’ ‘The red one, by far’


De loin – by far

Largement – easily

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