סיים/גמר

Macnas

Member
English and Russian, United States

שלום לכולם!

מספר מילונים שבהם הסתכלתי מתרגנים את הפועלים "גמר" ו"סיים" לאנגלית כמו "finish, complete". מה ההבדל בינהם בדיוק?

תודה!
 
  • talmid

    Senior Member
    UK English
    210807 1300

    I am not a native speaker of Hebrew, but have the feeling that

    לגמור
    might be used to refer to the completion of a series of actions , repeated over an extended period of time
    as in : "You've been digging the garden for hours. When will you ever finish?"

    whilst
    לסיים
    might be used to refer to the completion of a single "one-off" event of short duration, as in:
    "Have you finished eating your meal?"

    My instinctive feeling may not be correct and
    I'd be glad if someone would please confirm whether my feeling is valid
    Thanks
     

    JaiHare

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'm not a native speaker either, but I happened to ask my friend here about these verbs just recently. He told me that in most situations, they are interchangeable. He didn't give me an example of a situation in which they are not, but most of the time it can go either way (I think).
     

    bat777

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    I don't think that there is a "dictionary" distinction between these words, but there is something important to know about these verbs. In the past the common, colloquial word for 'finish' was לגמור, while לסיים was high register. slowly לגמור came to carry a sexual meaning (I think 'to come' is the expression used in English for this meaning). As a result לגמור gradually disappears and is replaced by לסיים. For me it still sounds strange to hear 3-year-olds using לסיים because it is still classified as somewhat high register in my mind, although it's actually not any more.

    If I may connect two threads, I want to add a comment. In the thread "סוסתה" I argued that pragmatic rules are important rules of the language, and the story with לגמור-לסיים is another example of such a pragmatic rule. A new speaker of Hebrew might use לגמור for years without understanting why people around him move uncomfortably when he says it.
     

    girloncrack

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    I am not sure if this applies in every instance or only in the imperative, but siparta li bachur me'israel she im ani omeret "tigmor" le'bachur it definitely will be taken to have sexual connotations... and that if I want to tell someone to finish something I should use "sayem".
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    I think לגמור is not used transitively. For example, if someone is asking a long question to a professor and then pauses, the professor might ask, גמרת? (Are you done/finished?)

    On the other hand, you use לסיים transitively. For example,

    האם סיימת את שעורי הבית שלך?
    Are you done with your homework?

    I don't think you could say האם גמרת את שעורי הבית שלך?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I don't think you're correct about that. Either one can be used with an explicit object or with an implicit object.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thank you, Drink!

    By the way, if siyem has a yod as the middle letter, the verb should be somem, like komem, motet, romem, konen, and 'orer, shouldn't it?

    They mean to put up, to kill, to heighten, to put down/to prepare, and to wake up, respectively.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Some roots have פולל forms, others have פייל forms. Some roots even have both. I think the פולל forms are older, while the פייל ones are found in later books of the Bible and post-Biblical Hebrew.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    לגמור can also mean 'to accomplish' or 'to disappear', which לְסַיֵּם cannot. E.g.

    הוֹשִׁיעָה יְהוָה כִּי גָמַר חָסִיד (תהלים יב, פסוק ב)

    "Help [us], Y-----, for a believer has disappeared."
     
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