Tu ne devrais pas le tenir pour perdu.

English Translation

You should not give him up for lost.

The english sentence does not make sense to me. “Lost” is an adjective so this is a strange use of the word and the sentence structure seems grammatically incorrect?

The phrase in English “to give (someone/something) up for lost” is a set phrase or idiom, meaning to accept the fact that someone/something is probably lost (or in the case of a person, it could mean to accept that they are not going to survive).

In this case the English sentence could mean to not lose hope about someone who is physically lost, and often in a dangerous situation (e.g. your teenage son has been out in the mountains in a snowstorm for three days, but we’ve sent out a search party so “you shouldn’t give him up for lost”). It could equally refer to someone seriously ill in hospital who is not expected to survive, but where there is still some chance that the person might live.


Makes perfect sense. Thank you for the thorough response!