semmai

mwebster

Senior Member
United States/English
Can someone please clarify the use of “semmai” in this sentence for me? I attempted to translate it to English in blue. It seems that “if ever” doesn’t seem to fit. In English, if I say “if ever”, it means (at least to me) it is very likely that I will never do something. That doesn’t seem to fit the context, of the letter this sentence came from. Does "semmai" have a different meaning in Italian?
Thanks
Mark

…questa è una storia lunga e semmai te la racconterò in seguito.
…this is a long story and if ever I will recount it to you later.
 
  • platoelio

    Senior Member
    Italian

    …questa è una storia lunga e semmai te la racconterò in seguito.
    …this is a long story and if ever I will recount it to you later.
    The meaning of the sentence is: "This is a long story and maybe I will (I might) tell it to you later on"
    Having written "semmai" instead of "forse" means that the possibility of the speaker telling the story might be unlike to happen.

    However, "Semmai" has two common meanings:

    "se mai" = "semmai" cong. • Col sign. di “nell'eventualità che”, “nel caso improbabile che”, “se proprio”, introduce una frase ipotetica con il v. al congiunt. o all'ind. (spec. futuro): se mai il bambino si addormentasse, mettilo nella carrozzina; se mai tornerai da queste parti, vienici a trovare
    • In funzione di cong. testuale, col valore di “piuttosto”, “tutt'al più”: non mi devi nulla, se mai sono io che devo esserti riconoscente

    The meaning of "semmai" in the Italian sentence you provided is closer to the second one: you could say "E' una lunga storia e tutt'al più te la racconterò più tardi". The dictionary translates "tutt'al più" as "at most" but I'm not sure of the meaning of this expression in English.

    I hope I have been useful... Ciao!


    PS Feel free to correct my English! ;-)
     

    Stevo_Evo_22

    Senior Member
    English
    Ciao platoelio!

    Fantastic information! In English "at most" probably wouldn't work here, but you have done very well.:)

    Steven

    Is there some more context that would help?
     

    mwebster

    Senior Member
    United States/English
    Hi platoelio,
    It seems that "forse" fits the context better but I guess I will have to get a clarification from the author of the letter. Thanks for the help.
    Mark
     

    mwebster

    Senior Member
    United States/English
    I am not sure more context would help, but there would be no reason that the author would with hold the information. Again I suppose I will just ask them. Thanks again for the help. I was hoping "semmai" had a softer meaning or maybe as slang meant something else, like in the US when kids used to say that something was "bad" it meant it was really "good".
    Thanks again.
    Mark
    :)
     
    Last edited:

    platoelio

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Ciao platoelio!
    Fantastic information! In English "at most" probably wouldn't work here, but you have done very well.:)
    Thank you, Steven! What does "at most" means exactly? Can you tell me a sentence where it would fit? Is it kind of "at worst"? (It is always good to learn new expressions!;))


    Hi platoelio,
    It seems that "forse" fits the context better but I guess I will have to get a clarification from the author of the letter. Thanks for the help.
    Mark
    You are very welcome!

    I am not sure more context would help, but there would be no reason that the author would with hold the information. [...]
    I was hoping "semmai" had a softer meaning or maybe as slang meant something else
    There might be no reason why the author would hold the information... he might simply be too tired to tell all the long story he is referring to... or he might think the long story is not that interesting to be told... or he might be wanting to speak about something else and think he will go too off-topic telling the long story... You might be able to understand that from the whole context. Anyway I suppose "semmai" sounds softer than "if ever" in English (according to the "definition" you gave).
    And, "semmai" is definitely not slang in Italian, but it is good that you checked it out! ;-)

    I'm going to bed.
    Good night! (;) It's 10am over here!)
     

    Stevo_Evo_22

    Senior Member
    English
    platoelio,

    "At most" means "not more" in the following sense.

    There were 3, maybe 4 apples at most. (For lack of a better example;))

    Here, it means there was an absolute maximum of 4 apples (at most means definitely no more).
     

    mwebster

    Senior Member
    United States/English
    platoelio said:
    There might be no reason why the author would hold the information... he might simply be too tired to tell all the long story he is referring to... or he might think the long story is not that interesting to be told... or he might be wanting to speak about something else and think he will go too off-topic telling the long story... You might be able to understand that from the whole context. Anyway I suppose "semmai" sounds softer than "if ever" in English (according to the "definition" you gave).
    And, "semmai" is definitely not slang in Italian, but it is good that you checked it out! ;-)
    Your response was very helpful, thanks platoelio,
    and thanks again Steven.
    Mark
     
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