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Thread: As X as Y

  1. #1
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    As X as Y

    What are the ways "as ADJECTIVE as NOUN" expressed in Hebrew? Google translate gives [ADJECTIVE] כמו [NOUN] but the problem is when you negate it, "לא X כמו Y", the meaning seems to change. Is there no way to specify whether something's "not as big as an elephant" (it could be big, but it's not as big as an elephant) or "not big like an elephant" (it's not big, unlike an elephant)?

  2. #2
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    Re: As X as Y

    מהיר כברק
    איתן כסלע
    ערמומי כשועל

    You can prefix by אינו to negate.

  3. #3
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    Re: As X as Y

    1)לא איקס כמו וואי
    2)לא באיקס של וואי
    1 is for not as X as Y
    2 is for not X Y
    All the seats are taken in the parliament of fools!

  4. #4
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    Re: As X as Y

    The examples of origumi are tipical to the Bible language.
    In coloqial Hebrew the tendency is to say
    ראיתי איש גדול כמו פיל
    לא נכון, הוא אינו/לא גדול כמו פיל

    (כמו פיל = כְּפִיל)
    Cuanto más sé, tanto más entiendo cuánto aun no sé

  5. #5
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    Re: As X as Y

    So just to be clear, how do you distinguish between:
    He is not as big as an elephant
    He is not big, like a mouse.
    He is not big like an elephant.
    1&3 are similar but 1 suggests that he is not exactly the same size, whereas 3 suggests that he is not big. 1 could mean that he is anywhere on the scale of size below the elephant, whereas 3 suggests that he is much lower on the scale.

  6. #6
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    Re: As X as Y

    Is this correct, concerning my last post?
    1 הוא לא גדול כמו פיל
    2 הוא לא גדול, כמו עכבר
    3 הוא לא גדול כמו כן הוא פיל
    I have no idea really, but I didn't want to just bump the thread.

  7. #7
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    Re: As X as Y

    I guess the context will discriminate between the two meanings... The context... Always.

  8. #8
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    Re: As X as Y

    Number 3 as you written it means "It is not big, additionally it is an elephant"

    In colloquial spoken Hebrew I would use these (note the changing stress):
    1. הוא לא גדול כמו פיל
    2. הוא לא גדול, הוא כמו עכבר (if you meant here that "X is as Y")
    3. הוא לא גדול,כמו פיל

    In general, arielipi's is right but it really depends on the context however, as other structures could be used (depending on the emphasis).

  9. #9
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    Re: As X as Y

    Quote Originally Posted by C_J View Post
    Number 3 as you written it means "It is not big, additionally it is an elephant"

    In colloquial spoken Hebrew I would use these (note the changing stress):
    1. הוא לא גדול כמו פיל
    2. הוא לא גדול, הוא כמו עכבר (if you meant here that "X is as Y")
    3. הוא לא גדול,כמו פיל

    In general, arielipi's is right but it really depends on the context however, as other structures could be used (depending on the emphasis).
    "הוא לא גדול, הוא כמו עכבר" clearly means "He's not big, he's like a mouse", and sounds extremely informal, or at least it does for me.
    I would suggest using a sentence like "הוא לא גדול, כמו עכבר" (He's not big, like a mouse) or "הוא לא גדול, בדיוק כמו עכבר" (He's not big, exactly like a mouse).

  10. #10
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    Re: As X as Y

    I agree, there are far better ways to phrase such comparatives.

    I'm just not sure what arielibre meant in his 2nd example. To me, his English example also sounds very informal, and that's what guided my translation (he didn't write "He's not big, just like a mouse [isn't]" so I understood it more like "He's not big, [he's more] like a mouse".

  11. #11
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    Re: As X as Y

    The way I wrote my examples, the meaning can be a bit obscure. I did mean 'he is not big, like a mouse (isn't)'.
    The other two:
    He is not as big as an elephant. (But he is still big)
    He is not big like an elephant (is).

    Hopefully now that is clear, how would you distinguish between each nuance of meaning? (Provided the context doesn't make it clear, which it usually would)

  12. #12
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    Re: As X as Y

    Hard to convey the difference. We use intonation.
    הוא לא גדול כמו פיייייייל (emphasis on the pi sound) as if you're trying to say another sentence afterwards. = He isn't as big as an elephant..." (but he's still big)
    !הוא לא גדול כמו פיל (you say pil distinctively with an exclamation mark) = He isn't as big as an elephant (I don't agree that he's big)

  13. #13
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    Re: As X as Y

    He is not big, like a mouse (isn't) - הוא לא גדול, בדומה לעכבר / בדומה לעכבר, הוא לא גדול
    He is not as big as an elephant (but he is still big) - הוא לא גדול כמו פיל (אבל הוא עדיין גדול
    He is not big like an elephant (is) - הוא גדול, אבל לא כמו פיל / הוא לא גדול כמו פיל

    Since this is not as X as Y anymore it is possible to use other comparatives such as "bigger/smaller than".
    He is not big, like a mouse (isn't)> He isn't bigger than a mouse - הוא לא יותר גדול מעכבר, He is as small as a mouse - הוא קטן כמו עכבר

  14. #14
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    Re: As X as Y

    I agree. We usually say exactly what we mean. The best way to avoid ambiguity is to not evoke it.
    But I still stand behind my previous post regarding intonation.

  15. #15
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    Re: As X as Y

    Are you suggesting that in English, we don't "say exactly what we mean" ?...
    And thank you for the tip : to avoid ambiguity, let's just not talk about it.
    Wow.

  16. #16
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    Re: As X as Y

    Are you serious? you're taking things way out of context...
    I said we use intonation to make the difference, and if not that, we avoid the ambiguity by using other constructions.
    Who the hell talked about "not saying what we mean" in English?

  17. #17
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    Re: As X as Y

    Well I guess this wasn't what you meant, but even in context, you got to admit that the wording you chose was calling for a reaction....

  18. #18
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    Re: As X as Y

    You see! ambiguity should be avoided!

  19. #19
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    Re: As X as Y

    Youre straying off the question; again, there is not 1:1 translation as hebrew is different here from english in its sentences producing structure, it just doesnt work that way, what I gave is the closest form I can think of in most general way, other than that it is context.
    All the seats are taken in the parliament of fools!

  20. #20
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    Re: As X as Y

    It boils down to this : even in the affirmative form, Hebrew doesn't seem to distinguish between "he's big like an elephant" and "he's as big as an elephant".

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