Ce n’est pas la mer à boire

Informal French Expression

Ce n'est pas la mer à boire
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Meaning It’s not that big a deal, it’s not that difficult
Literally It’s not the sea to drink
Register informal
Pronunciation [seu neh pah lah meh rah bwar]
IPA   [sə nɛ pa la mɛ ʀa bwaʀ]

Usage notes: When someone complains about the impossibility of a task, the French expression ce n’est pas la mer à boire is the answer; you can use it to let that person know that whatever they have to do, it’s not as difficult as drinking the entire sea would be.

Par exemple…

Je dois tout refaire mais ce n’est pas la mer à boire.   I have to redo everything but it won’t be that difficult.
Ce n’est pas la mer à boire d’aller au boulot en vélo.   It’s not such a big deal to ride my bike to work.
– J’ai trois rapports à écrire en trois jours !
– Allez, arrête, ce n’est pas la mer à boire !
  – I have three reports to write in three days!
– Come on, knock it off, it’s not that hard!

 Origin: Tout cela, c’est la mer à boire, Les deux chiens et l’âne mort, by Jean de La Fontaine

Somewhat synonymous

Ce n’est pas la fin du monde   It’s not the end of the world
se faire une montagne d’une taupinière   to make a mountain out of a molehill
se faire une montagne de rien / d’un rien   to make a mountain out of a molehill
(literally, “to make a mountain out of nothing”)

 Related lessons

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Ce n'est pas la mer à boire
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