als het ware

Pincadilly

Member
Italiano
Hi all,
I stumbled upon the phrase "als het ware", as in the following sentences from a book:

"In dit boek maken we vaker gebruik van oscilloscoopbeelden, omdat je met dit instrument als het ware 'in de elektronica' kijkt."

"Hij 'zweeft' als het ware."


I guess it means something like "as if" / "it's like":

"[...] because with this instrument it's like you were looking at the electronics"

"It's like it's gliding"

Am I guessing right?
Thank you for your help!
 
  • Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Nederlands (België)
    You are correct for these two sentences, but sometimes this expression has no meaning at all. You can just omit it. It is similar to "als dusdanig", which also means nothing. "As if" implies that you shouldn't take it too literally, but for "als het ware", you often can.

    "Er ontstaan als het ware kleine scheurtjes in je spierweefsel." - Small cracks appear in your muscle tissue.
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    "Er ontstaan als het ware kleine scheurtjes in je spierweefsel." - Small cracks appear in your muscle tissue.
    I would refer to the literal meaning: "als het ware", as if it were - implying something like: you could describe it that way but, or as if, like you suggested... Therefore I'd paraphrase the above sentence as: something like small cracks appear/ It is as if small cracks appear ... So they are not real cracks... I could also say: een soort scheurtjes, iets als ...

    I agree with Red Arrow that it can in some way be omitted but strictly speaking it suggests that the wording or description is not perfect.

    With als dusdanig, as such, you have something similar. So it had and has a meaning, but it is subtle, yet in my view not superfluous. There are a lot of those phrases that may seem redundant in a very practical context but strictly speaking they are not.
     
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