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se mettre en quatre pour quelqu’un

“Se mettre en quatre pour quelqu’un” is a French expression that translates literally to “to split yourself into four [pieces]”. Here are some English meanings:

  • to bend over backwards for somebody
  • to do everything for somebody
  • to put yourself out for somebody
  • to go out of your way for somebody

Another meaning could to to completely devote yourself or to do everything possible using all your efforts.

Here’s an example sentence:

  • Pierre s’est mis en quatre pour que ses enfants puissent profiter des vacances mais ils étaient ingrats. Pierre bent over backwards so that his kids could enjoy vacation but they were ungrateful.

Here are some synonyms:

  • se décarcasserto bend over backwards
  • se démenerto go out of your way to do something
  • se démancherto make an effort

more French expressions

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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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