I don't trust you as far as I could throw you

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by papeya, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. papeya Senior Member

    Florence
    italian
    -I don't believe you feel nothing for me.
    -I care about you. I don't trust you as far as I could throw you. Which wouldn't be far.

    Qualcuno mi spiega la seconda frase? Non mi ci raccapezzo.
    Grazie
     
  2. cas29

    cas29 Senior Member

    Milan Italy
    Canada/English
    Trust=fiducia
    I don't trust you.. .non mi fido di te

    Throw= lanciare -- si lancia una palla - (a baseball per esempio)

    In effeto: mi fido di te quanto ti potrei lanciare -

    Più riduttivo: non mi fido di te per niente.
     
  3. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Everything said so far is right, but there's a mistake in the English, surely.

    It should read "I trust you as far as I could throw you" (ie without "not"). Then the irony of the expression becomes clear: "I trust you (apparently, because that is what I am saying to start with), but then I make it clear that the extent to which I trust you is not very great, because it is logically obvious that the distance over which I can throw you is never likely to be very great" ("ti fido nella misura in cui riuscirei a lanciarti (di peso))".
    Clearer? Hope so!
     
  4. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Your logic is impeccable, Gavin, but I think it's a variation on "I can't even trust you as far as I can/could throw you." The negative upfront front sounds more emphatic, sort of like "I could care less" has come to mean "I couldn't care less." Plausible? :)

    Elisabetta
     
  5. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Gavin, so this means that the speaker is playing ironically with the original idiom which is usually in the negative, right?

    not trust sb as far as one can throw them not trust someone at all
    (Longman Dictionary)

    I guess the "not" in the original idiom means "neanche" (la mia fiducia in te non è pari neanche alla distanza a cui riuscirei a scaraventarti)
     
  6. papeya Senior Member

    Florence
    italian
    Thanks to all of you.
     
  7. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    This is either all very interesting or all very confusing!

    I was about to say "Yes, Elisabetta, I agree that's plausible" (ie that "creative" adaptation of the "original" idiom) when Giovannino cites Longman (that old bugbear of mine) to back up the thesis that the "don't trust" version is the original idiom, a thesis which I feel I must refute... In other words, I'm sticking to my guns despite mounting evidence against me.

    Or else I'm just going completely round the bend today.

    What's your gut feeling on the basic expression, Elisabetta? Which Longman dictionary are you citing from, Giovannino (not that it makes much difference)? My LDOCE (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English) doesn't have it...

    EDIT: Giovannino, thanks for correcting my creative variant of "mi fido di te".... Sheesh!
     
  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Totally with Gavin,

    not trust as far as I could throw you sounds like nonsense to me.

    "I'd trust him as far as I could throw him"

    - Is the correct saying.
     
  9. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Phew!
     
  10. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Gavin, I quoted from the 2003 edition of LDOCE.

    The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary also gives the idiom in the negative:

    He's very charming but I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him
     
  11. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    Which is much like "I can't even trust him as far as I can/could throw him." Both are slightly different from "I do not trust him as far as I can/could thrown him" and therein lies the potential confusion/disagreement. ;)

    (In AE, it's more common to say "can" rather than "could" throw him. We like being more direct, I guess. :D )

    Elisabetta
     
  12. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
  13. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Thanks. OK, my take:
    Longman::thumbsdown:
    Cambridge: :thumbsup:

    This is apparently inconsistent, but may perhaps be explained thus: the basic idiom must be positive, eg "I trust her about as far as I could throw her". This kind of quasi-rhetorical device (which can probably best be defined as bathos, litotes or some device which relies on the fact that an expectation which is built up in the first part of the phrase is ultimately unfulfilled) can, I think, be seen also in similar (sarcastic?) phrases like "I need you like a hole in the head".

    But the phrase gets distorted. Through abundant use, there is no longer the effect of surprise in the disparity between the assumed expectation and its non-fulfillment. In other words, the other person already knows the end result (meaning, message) of the phrase ("I don't trust her at all"). So this meaning (the negative) is revealed (ie anticipated) right from the start. Still, while I like Cambridge's "wouldn't" (where the conditional verb retains some sense of an unfulfilled condition), I despise Longman's "don't".

    Have I mis-spelled "unfullfilled...?
     
  14. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    I'd say "unfulfilled" (and misspelt) , but hey, you're the Brit here..;)
     
  15. Murphy

    Murphy Senior Member

    Sicily, Italy
    English, UK
    To me it seems quite simple. You can use the expression in either a positive or a negative way.

    I trust you about as far as I could throw you. And that wouldn't be far.
    (I trust you very little).

    I don't trust you as far as I could throw you. And that wouldn't be far.
    (I trust you even less).

    Or maybe it's me that's simple?;)
     
  16. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    Your explanation makes perfect sense. I'd like to ask you why the LDOCE is a bugbear of yours but that would be totally off topic:)

    EDIT: Murphy's suggestion makes sense too!
     
  17. virgilio Senior Member

    English UK
    giovannino,
    Re: I guess the "not" in the original idiom means "neanche" (la mia fiducia in te non è pari neanche alla distanza a cui riuscirei a scaraventarti)"

    Absolutely right!
    My own favourite expression - often with reference to some politician or other - is "I wouldn't trust him (or her) as far as I could throw a grand piano".

    Best wishes
    Virgilio
     
  18. runningman

    runningman Senior Member

    London
    Italian - Italy
    I've just found another version of this idiom:

    I don't trust you any farther than I can throw you
     
  19. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Yep, this version is at least as common as the other one, I'd say. It might even help explain the differences in the exact phrasing of the other version of the idiom.
     
  20. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    "I wouldn't trust you any further than I could throw you" is the version I've known all my life. But I don't think it's the kind of thing you say to someone, but about them. "I wouldn't trust him any further than I could throw him".

    I don't remember ever coming across the positive formulation of "I'd trust you as far as I could throw you", but it makes sense, I'd know what it meant. I just can't imagine using it.
     

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