he almost died

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by kompetenzteam, May 17, 2009.

  1. kompetenzteam New Member

    How would you translate "almost" in this context:

    "He almost died, but fortunatly somebody saved him at the last minute."

    My try:

    (Lui) ??? sarebbe morto, ma fortunamente qualcuno lo ha salvato all'ultimo minuto.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. neutrino2 Senior Member

    Maybe this works: Egli stava per morire, ma fortunatamente qualcuno lo salvò all'ultimo minuto.
    Se è uno scritto formale direi che è meglio egli, altrimenti puoi scrivere lui.
  3. elisatbd Senior Member

    Italy Italian
    Era quasi morto, ma fortunatamente all'ultimo minuto qualcuno lo ha salvato.
  4. kompetenzteam New Member


    So you can use "quasi" in a temporal sense?
    To me "era quasi morto" sounds like "he was almost dead" (condition) as opposed to "he almost died" (temporal). I'm not sure if I can give a proper explanation of the difference.

    neutrino2, thank you, but I'm not familiar with the expression "stare per morire" and I couldn't find a translation on the internet.:eek: Maybe you're right..
  5. elisatbd Senior Member

    Italy Italian
    Yes you are right, "era quasi morto" is a statical situation. The closest literal translation would be "stava per morire", but in my "era quasi morto" opinion is sounds better in Italian.

    Then if you want to use "stava per morire", it is more correct to use the passato remoto in the second phrase:

    Stava per morire, ma fortunatamente all'ultimo minuto qualcuno lo salvo'.
  6. uncleben New Member

    Era quasi morto is conditional: you can use it in case the person is both conditianlly and temporally on the point of death. For instance in a sentence like:

    Gli spararono ed era quasi morto, per fortuna arrivò un'ambulanza poco prima che morisse.

    But if you are, for example, talking of a man who is driving drunk and is going against a wall but his wife steers at the last second you want to say something like:

    Stava per morire, per fortuna sua moglie tirò il volante all'ultimo secondo.
    Sarebbe (certamente?) morto, per fortuna...

  7. kompetenzteam New Member


    As I understand, "stare per morire" seems to be very close to "being about to die", which would capture the temporal aspect of the sentence. But if "essere quasi morto" sounds more natural, I guess I'll stick with that version.

    Thanks again!
  8. Memimao Senior Member

    Busto Arsizio, Italy
    United Kingdom English
    One of the kings of France (Louis the ?) very nearly had to wait (Il m'a fallu attendre!).

    Gli mancò morire.


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