Valoir le coup

Athènes, ça vaut le coup
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Worthy French Expression

Meaning to be worth it, to be worth doing
Literally to be worth the effort
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Pronunciation [vah lwar leuh koo]
IPA   [va lwaʁ lə ku]

Usage notes: You might not hear the French expression valoir le coup in its infinitive form very often, but you’ll definitely hear it conjugated into different tenses and moods, such as

  • ça vaut le coup – it’s worth it
  • ça valait le coup – it was worth it
  • ça vaudra le coup – it will be worth it
  • ça vaudrait le coup – it would be worth it

Par exemple…

Ce bouquin n’est pas mal, ça vaut le coup.   This book isn’t bad, it’s worth it, worth reading.
J’ai beaucoup aimé Athènes, ça valait le coup.   I really liked Athens, it was worth it, worth visiting.

While impersonal phrases like the above are the most common, valoir le coup can be used with personal subjects as well.

Ce bouquin vaut le coup.   This book is worth it, worth reading.
C’était un voyage qui valait le coup.   It was a worthwhile trip.

When the worthwhile activity is an infinitive, you need the preposition de in front:

Ça vaut le coup de lire.   It’s worth reading.
Ça valait le coup de visiter.   It was worth visiting.

Informally, you can say that something is worth doing with il or elle as the subject and a subordinate clause in the subjunctive.

Il vaut le coup que tu le lises.   It’s worth reading.
Athènes est une ville intéressante, elle valait le coup que nous y allions.   Athens is an interesting city, it was worth going there.

Synonyms

  • mériter – to be worth
    Ça mérite une visite – It’s worth a visit
     
  • valoir la peine – literally, "to be worth the pain"
    Ça vaut la peine de le lire – It’s worth (the pain of) reading

 Related lessons

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Valoir le coup
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