Sharp as a knife


is there anyone who can help me with the translation of this sentence? It's an article about children affected by attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

"He wasn't exactly sharp as a knife to begin with, but even so he seemed to have lost the will to live".

The sentence above is uttered by a teacher remembering one of his former students, affected by ADHD, who was treated with drugs such as Ritalin (derivated from anfetamine). Before the treatment, the child was a whirlwind in the classroom. After, instead, was like a zombie ("he became a ghost of his former self and drifted around school and through lessons for years", the teacher adds).

The article's main idea is that nowadays doctors/teachers/parents are too inclined to give drugs to ADHD children instead, for example, of following other therapies (e.g. talking therapy).

My suggestion: "Diventò il fantasma del bambino che era prima e per anni ha continuato a giare a zonzo attorno alla scuola e per le classi. Non aveva più quella turbolenza di un tornado come all’inizio, ma anche così sembrava aver perso la voglia di vivere"
  • elfa

    Senior Member
    This is referring to the student's intellectual abilities. To be "sharp" is to be quick, bright, clever, quick-witted etc - more referring to innate intelligence rather than intelligence through having studied hard - so the sentence means that before the treatment, the child wasn't exactly the brightest/cleverest/most quick-witted child, but after the treatment, he deteriorated to the extent of seeming to lose the will to live.
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