almost never

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by candleinthewind, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. candleinthewind Member

    italy italian
    Hello, I would like to ask about the difference between hardly ever and almost never. If I look up in dictionaries I find hardly ever for "quasi mai" and almost is supposed to be used in affermative sentences so why is almost never popular?
    Thanks
     
  2. delenda1

    delenda1 Senior Member

    Italy
    English - US
    I would say that "almost never" is "quasi mai"
    and "hardly ever" is "difficilmente"

    I think almost never is not as popular because it sounds wrong, you have a "tentative" preposition (almost) and then a very strong adverb (never) right after. It sounds almost paradoxical.

    Hardly on the other hand sounds stronger, harsher, so it seems to work better.

    then again, this is just supposition on my part. For all I know it's wrong.
     
  3. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    They're virtually synonymous with one another. I think using one instead of the other is largely a question of personal preference: I'm a "hardly ever" person (that is, I hardly ever use almost never):D
     
  4. candleinthewind Member

    italy italian
    Thanks, I agree with both of you. I prefer hardly ever too.
     
  5. Veledan Senior Member

    Stoke, UK
    English - BE
    Agreed they're synonymous. I favour hardly ever too.
    Almost never is obviously a literal match for quasi mai, but (out of interest) how would you render the literal meaning of hardly ever in Italian? A malapena una volta?
     
  6. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    Veledan, I'd say solo raramente/di rado.

    I hardly ever go to the beach. Vado al mare solo di rado.
    That thing hardly ever works. Quell'aggeggio funziona solo di rado (or sono poche le volte che funziona).
    That hardly ever happens. Non capita che di rado.
     
  7. Sandrokkio Senior Member

    Napoli
    Italian
    Perché non pensare anche di tradurre con il più informale "quasi mai"? "di rado" va bene, ma mi suona un po' letterario o formale.

    Non vado quasi mai al mare.
    Quell'aggeggio funziona raramente/non funziona quasi mai.
    Non succede quasi mai/Capita raramente.
     
  8. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian, standard
    Perché no?
    Tu userai quasi mai, io invece di rado e ognuno visse felice e contento della sua scelta.;)
     
  9. candleinthewind Member

    italy italian
    Thanks everybody.. In Italian I agree for the .. quasi mai.. translation.
    Sounds like most people agree for the hardly ever in English.
    Veledan? you agreed they are synonymous but do British people really use almost never?
    thanks a lot for your help
     

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