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Thread: בשביל vs. ל

  1. #1
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    בשביל vs. ל

    What is the difference between these two words when you want to say "for"? And are there other words for "for"?

    For example:
    "This fork is for the salad"
    "You're smart for an 8-year-old"
    "I'm doing a favor for you"
    "This course is too hard for me"
    "I came back for my keys"
    "I was gone for 5 hours"
    "I'm helping you for free"
    "This letter is for Rob"
    "Take this for good luck"
    "I'm running for autism"
    "You're getting punished for spitting"

    Thanks
    Dave S

  2. #2
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    ל is used usually for indirect objects and experiencers. Also for certain constructions like "Institute/laboratory for research/development", "school for blind children", "cure for cancer".
    בשביל is more specialized than ל, "for someone's benefit"/"corresponding to", and from English influence it has accrued other meanings such as the "from X's perspective" meaning of "for".
    Thank/punish/reward etc. for is translated as על.
    עֲבוּר is a higher register word mostly interchangeable with בשביל (also for "from X's perspective"), except for example in לשלם עבור "pay for".
    לְמַעַן is "for [the sake of]".
    בְּעַד is "in favor of".
    בְּמֶשֶך is "for [a time duration]".

    Here's my attempt at translating:
    "This fork is for the salad" "המזלג הזה בשביל הסלט"
    "I'm doing a favor for you" "אני עושה לך טובה"
    "This course is too hard for me" "הקורס הזה יותר מדי קשה לי\בשבילי\עבורי"
    "I came back for my keys" "חזרתי לקחת את המפתחים שלי"
    "I was gone for 5 hours" "נעדרתי חמש שעות" (?)
    "This letter is for Rob" "המכתב הזה בשביל רוב"
    "Take this for good luck" "קח את זה בשביל מזל טוב"
    "You're getting punished for spitting" "אתה תיענש על שירקת"
    Last edited by trigel; 13th April 2013 at 4:55 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    In many cases both are good. Nevertheless, native speakers minimize the use of בשביל and reserve to emphasize "for the benefit of". For example: אני עושה את זה בשבילך.

    There are cases that בשביל sounds unnatural or requires some change:
    * "I'm running for autism" (does it sound good in English? If it was "I'm running for those who suffer autism" then בשביל would be appropriate)

    Some of your sentences cannot be translated as בשביל because they contain a different "for". English speakers may have difficulties to tell this difference:
    * "I was gone for 5 hours" (time measurement)
    * "I'm helping you for free" (idiomatic)
    * "You're getting punished for spitting" ("as a result of" rather than "in order to" or "for the benefit of")

  4. #4
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    What is the difference between these two words when you want to say "for"? And are there other words for "for"?

    For example:
    "This fork is for the salad" = "המזלג הזה נועד לסלט"/"המזלג הזה הוא לסלט"
    "You're smart for an 8-year-old" = "אתה חכם בשביל ילד בן 8"
    "I'm doing a favor for you" = "אני עושה לך טובה" and בשבילך and למענך can be used also.
    "This course is too hard for me" = "הקורס הזה קשה מדי בשבילי" / "הקורס הזה קשה לי מדי"
    "I came back for my keys" = "חזרתי בשביל המפתחות שלי" though we'd usually say "חזרתי כדי לקחת את המפתחות שלי"
    "I was gone for 5 hours" = "נעדרתי למשך 5 שעות" / "הלכתי ל5 שעות"
    "I'm helping you for free" = "אני עוזר לך בחינם" or "אני עוזר לך ללא תמורה"
    "This letter is for Rob" = "המכתב הזה נועד לרוב" / "המכתב הזה הוא לרוב" / "המכתב הזה הוא בשביל רוב"
    "Take this for good luck" = "קח את זה למזל טוב" / "קח את זה בשביל מזל טוב"
    "I'm running for autism" = "אני רץ למען אוטיזם" both ל and בשביל are not possible here in my opinion.
    "You're getting punished for spitting" = "אתה נענש/תיענש על היריקה" as origumi mentioned, in this example "as a result of" will be used (instead of the "על")

    Thanks
    Dave S
    Little note for trigel, "key" is a masculine noun "מפתח" , but in the plural it takes the suffix "ות". So it's actually מפתחות and not מפתחים.

  5. #5
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    בשביל is more like למען, for (someone/thing)
    while ל- is for (the)
    All the seats are taken in the parliament of fools!

  6. #6
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Thank you everyone!

    Are there cases when only בשביל will work, and NOT ל? When both are possible, is one more formal than the other?

  7. #7
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    When used in בשביל ש (so that) I suppose ל can't be substituted in, but 'bishvil she' is also not "correct language", even though it's common.
    Also, בשבילי, as used before making a statement of opinion can't be substituted by לי. I'm sure there are plenty of other instances. As for formality, I suppose bishvil is slightly more formal but neither is very high register.

  8. #8
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Quote Originally Posted by airelibre View Post
    'bishvil she' is also not "correct language", even though it's common.
    It's common for the last 2000 years, therefore I'd say it's correct.

  9. #9
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Quote Originally Posted by origumi View Post
    It's common for the last 2000 years, therefore I'd say it's correct.
    So would I! But it's been argued otherwise by members of this forum.

  10. #10
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    I dont know about bishvil she, it does indeed not sound correct to my ears.
    All the seats are taken in the parliament of fools!

  11. #11
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Quote Originally Posted by arielipi View Post
    I dont know about bishvil she, it does indeed not sound correct to my ears.
    This is because modern Hebrew is closer in several aspects to the Biblical language than to the Talmudic or Maimonides.

  12. #12
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    Re: בשביל vs. ל

    Quote Originally Posted by origumi View Post
    This is because modern Hebrew is closer in several aspects to the Biblical language than to the Talmudic or Maimonides.
    ב של בשביל היא כמו ב של בראשית, ואכן אינני זוכר את המונח ל שביל וראשית (תיאור פועל?) אבל אסור לבוא אחרי כזה דבר ש.
    All the seats are taken in the parliament of fools!

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