C’est pas gagné

C'est pas gagné
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Informal French Expression

Meaning it’s not a given; it’s not easy
Literally it’s not won
Register informal
Pronunciation [say pah gah nyayh]
IPA   [se pa ga ŋe]

Usage notes: C’est pas gagné* is a quick and easy way to say that something is not a given, isn’t guaranteed to happen, or isn’t easy to do. This is usually a huge understatement.

Par exemple…

Si je finis ce travail je peux aller au cinéma mais c’est pas gagné !   If I finish this work I can go to the movies but it’s not a done deal!
Nous espérons déménager en France mais c’est pas gagné.   We’re hoping to move to France but it’s not a given / it’s not guaranteed to happen.
Il veut acheter une nouvelle voiture mais c’est pas gagné.   He wants to buy a new car but it’s not (that) easy.

Variations

  • c’est pas gagné d’avance
  • ce n’est pas gagné*

It can also be used in the imperfect:

J’ai fini mon travail mais c’était pas gagne !   I finished my work but it wasn’t easy!
Il savait que trouver une voiture abordable, c’était pas gagné.   He knew finding an affordable car would be a long shot.

* It’s very common for the ne in ne … pas to be dropped in informal French.

 C’est pas gagné is more common than its affirmative counterpart, c’est gagné, from the passive expression être gagné – to be a given, a done deal; to be easy.

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Ce n'est pas gagné
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