"Sorry I thought you were a tape".


Senior Member
the Netherlands ~ Dutch.
Hi everybody !! :D

YEAH - I'm back on-line :) and missed you all a lot (esp. Lev! hihi)
Anyway, guess what happened Thursday. Really, something this stupid
does only happen when you're Martine ;) . OK, I wanted to call someone
who knows Russian very well and talk to him to practise a bit. Someone
answeres the phono in a very monotone voice, so I thought it was a
tape and hung up. Wrong. It was the person I wanted to talk to! :eek:
*shame shame*

So, now I'd like to send him an e-card with a Russian text... something
like "Sorry I thought you were a tape". :eek: How does one explain this?
My try:

Огорченно для висеть вверх по телефону, я честно думала что вы
были автоматической лентой!

All suggestions are welcome! :D Love, Martine.
  • Lev Yakupov

    Hi, Martine, glad to see you here again!

    Well... a funny situation :)

    And first part of the suggested answer of you, which is pretty complicated.

    Many english verbs consist of two parts (verb + preposition), but very-very often translated to russian as a one word, which has: stem - as a translation of the verb; and special prefix to fit the meaning of the preposition. For example:
    to hang - висеть
    to hang up - повесить
    to hang out - вывесить
    Endings changed because they have different infinitives, and in case of that different conjunctions.

    Thus, we got:

    К сожелению (unfortunately), я повесила трубку (I hang up a phone) ...

    Also, note, that I used a по prefix, which usually mean a instantaneity of some asction.

    But you second part:
    я честно думала что вы
    были автоматической лентой!
    Is perfect! Only minor corrections here: we call tape - автоматическим ответчиком or more short variant автоответчиком. And again по prefix here more convenient ;)

    So, finally construct next sentense:
    К сожелению (unfortunately), я повесила трубку (I hang up a phone), потому что подумала (because I thought), что вы были - автоответчиком (that you are were a tape).

    Grey words can be cutted off as you will, while the meaning remains.

    I hope you explain yourself to him and finally get your practice :)


    Senior Member
    the Netherlands ~ Dutch.
    Hi Lev !!
    Thank you sooooo much for your help, - again! :D
    Did you receive my e-mail with the "thank-you-bear" ??
    Hope so, love, Martine. xx


    Russia, russian
    Вы были автоответчиком sounds quite weird. Actually, it sounds like you are talking about man's profession. As you didn't know that was a human (=)), you should write like "i thought it was an answering machine", and in russian, where we dont change tenses in such cases, it would sound like потому что я подумала, что это [был] автоответчик