Avoir du pain sur la planche

Informal French Expression

Avoir du pain sur la planche
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Meaningto have a lot to do, a lot on one’s plate, have one’s work cut out
Literallyto have bread on the (bread)board
PronunciationFrench sound files [ah vwahr du peh(n) sur la pla(n)sh]
IPA  [a vwaʀ dy pɛ̃ syʀ la plãʃ]

Usage notes: The informal French expression avoir du pain sur la planche is very similar to English’s “to have a lot on one’s plate." I find the equating of food to be eaten and work to be done very interesting, as one doesn’t normally think of eating as a chore, especially in France. Cooking maybe, but not eating.

Par exemple…

Je ne peux pas sortir ce soir ; j’ai du pain sur la planche. I can’t go out tonight; I have a lot (of work) to do.
Profitez bien du weekend, lundi on va avoir du pain sur la planche. Enjoy the weekend, on Monday we’re going to have a lot of work to do.

Similar expression

  • Il reste du pain sur la planche – There’s still a lot to do, a lot of work to do

 More French expressions with food

Related lessons

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Nous avons du pain sur la planche

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