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mettre la charrue avant les boeufs

“Mettre la charrue avant les boeufs” is a great French expression that translates literally to “to put the plow in front of the oxen”. The English meaning is:

  • to put the cart before the horse

A French meaning on is “attaquer un problème à l’envers”, or “to attack a problem from behind”. Here’s an example sentence:

  • Tu dois considérer ta santé mentale et physique avant de penser à l’argent. Sinon, tu mets la charrue avant les boeufs. You need to think about your mental and physical health before thinking about money. Otherwise, you’re putting the cart before the horse.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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