De trop isn’t really an expression, but rather something that you tack on to a verb to modify it. It’s technically an adverbial phrase, but knowing this won’t help you use it. Its translation can best be thought of as “too many”, “too much” or on more rare occasions “unwanted”. As always, context is the best way to truly understand something new in a foreign language, so let’s look at the three main ways you can use de trop in a sentence.
Examples of de trop used in context
The only difficult part of learning how to use de trop is that for an English speaker it may seem that it can be used in a wide variety of situations. The reason for this is because what may be translated a few different ways in English is just translated as de trop in French. Let’s look at some examples of de trop used in context.
Using de trop to say too many
Here are some examples of de trop best translated into English as “too many”.
Il a bu un verre de trop – He drank one drink too many
J’ai acheté deux bouteilles de trop – I bought two bottles too many
As you’ll see in the above examples, when de trop is used in this sense it’s typically preceded by a number (as opposed to just saying “I bought too many bottles” or “I drank too many drinks”).
Using de trop to say too much
Now let’s take a look at some examples of de trop when best translated into English by “too much”.
Ma mère se plaint que je lis de trop – My mother complains that I read too much
Tu manges toujours de trop – You always eat too much
Using de trop to say unnecessary, uncalled-for, or unwanted
This is probably the hardest sense of de trop for an English speaker to understand. Nevertheless, with a bit of practice you should be able to get it down without too much difficulty.
– Tu veux venir avec nous ce soir ? – Do you want to come with us this evening?
– Euh.. Je ne veux pas être de trop – Uhh.. I don’t want to be a 3rd wheel
Ce qu’elle demande est de trop – What she’s asking for is crazy (too much, unnecessary)
Je me sens de trop dans sa vie – I feel wanted in his / her life
Using de trop in English
Believe it or not, de trop actually makes itself into the English language at times. When you do see it in English, it takes on the meaning of “too much” like in the sentence “Her new outfit was too much” or “unwanted” like the way we just went over above.
Her outfit was a bit de trop
I felt de trop and left to go home
His remarks were de trop
And there you have it. De trop is something that you may need a bit of practice to nail down, but once you get it you’ll never forget it. For more vocabulary and expressions check out our French vocabulary page.