I want to create flashcards (French <-> English) about idioms like "to put all your eggs in one basket". Those idioms have to be written in the infinitive form but I don't know what do to with possessives adjectives like "your" in my example.

If I literally translate the French expression, I should use "his eggs", but is it the same rule in English?

What should I write to replace "your"? Or should I delete it?

  • 1
    "To put all one's eggs in the same basket" ? – WS2 Apr 2 '18 at 9:24
  • @WS2 That generalises the idiom, but it's not an idiomatic version. Though the arbitrary rule these idioms have to be written using the infinitive makes things harder. They're always used in context rather than 'textbookese'. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, Jim. / I'm afraid I've put all my eggs in one basket. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 2 '18 at 9:34
  • Both "all your eggs" and "all one's eggs" work fine. "All his eggs" and "all the eggs" (which Google shows are both used in French) don't work. – Peter Shor Apr 2 '18 at 9:34
  • I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve here, but why do you want to write it as an infinitival - whatever you mean by that? The imperative proverb "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is already an infinitival construction. – BillJ Apr 2 '18 at 9:42
  • You can easily find the answer by looking up idioms in two or three online dictionaries. Very often "one's" is used but learners need to use the appropriate possessive pronoun when necessary. – Mari-Lou A Apr 2 '18 at 9:50

I think your question is: what pronoun do you generally use in the infinitive form of an expression in English? The answer is either you or one. I'd say that one is slightly more formal and you is slightly less formal, but there is only a minor difference in formality.

Your example is a little misleading, because in English it usually takes the form of an imperative: Don't put all your eggs in the same basket. So if you searched for this particular expression, you'd find that the pronoun you was usually used.

But with a different idiom, one can find dictionary entries for both pull oneself up by one's bootstraps and pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Don't use "to put all his eggs ..." or "to put all the eggs ..."; these don't sound right, even though they seem to be the two forms used in French for this expression.

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