There is no such thing as a free lunch

jobu

Senior Member
canada english
Buon giorno;

Sono scrivendo un favela per la mia classe Italiano. Vorrei dire "le morale: non c'e cosa come un pranzo gratuitamente." C'e un frase migliore? My translation seems a bit too literal to me.

Grazie per tuo auito.

Jo
 
  • winnie

    Senior Member
    italy, italian
    jobu said:
    Buon giorno;

    Sono scrivendo un favela per la mia classe Italiano. Vorrei dire "le morale: non c'e cosa come un pranzo gratuitamente." C'e un frase migliore? My translation seems a bit too literal to me.

    Grazie per tuo auito.

    Jo
    EDIT: I MADE TWO TYPOS.

    i don't know if there is a better sentence anyway i'm going to make some correctionS, hope yUO don't mind
    Sto scrivendo una favola per il mio corso di italiano. Vorrei dire "la morale: non c'è cosa migliore di un pranzo gratuito." C'è una frase migliore?

    HTH
     

    winnie

    Senior Member
    italy, italian
    ... another little thing

    grazie per il tuo aiuto (singular)

    grazie per il vostro aiuto (plural)
     

    Favonio

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    Winnie, that correction is perfect!

    Anyway, also
    Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito
    leads to the same, exact meaning. :)

    Ciao, Favonio.
     

    winnie

    Senior Member
    italy, italian
    Favonio said:
    Anyway, also
    Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito
    leads to the same, exact meaning. :)

    Ciao, Favonio.
    yes, you are right, your attempt it's more Italian styled too. my translation was as close as possible to the original.
     

    Vanzo Scheì

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Favonio said:
    Winnie, that correction is perfect!

    Anyway, also
    Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito
    leads to the same, exact meaning. :)

    Ciao, Favonio.
    This translation confuses me a little bit; maybe someone could help to clear the waters?

    "Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito" means

    "There is no such thing as a free lunch"

    and NOT

    "There is nothing like a free lunch"?

    This second phrase could be idiomatic to English- it means, in other words, "There is nothing that compares to a free lunch" ("Un pranzo gratuito è unico"?), which does not have the same meaning as the original maxim.

    Thanks in advance.
     

    Favonio

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    There is nothing like a free lunch -> There is nothing that compares to a free lunch
    Yes, it seems you've got an equal expression in English, Vanzo.

    Obviously it's an exaggeration in order to let others understand that you like *a lot* that thing.
    I mean: when you say that in English you express an "happy" opinion about something , don't you? (just that)

    1. Non c'è cosa migliore di un pranzo gratuito.
    2. Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito!
    3. Non c'è cosa come un pranzo gratuito.

    They all have got the same meaning.
    I know that the third translation I've just inserted may result a bit confusing, but it is currently used too.

    Non c'è cosa come andare al mare di luglio!

    If you are not sure, search in Google for "non c'è cosa come" (apixes included).
    Inspite of the few result of such a search, that form is as used as other ones. ;-)

    Ciao.
     

    Vanzo Scheì

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Favonio said:
    There is nothing like a free lunch -> There is nothing that compares to a free lunch

    2. Non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito!

    Ciao.
    So if I understand correctly, "non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito" means "there is nothing that compares to a free lunch" and not "there is no such thing as a free lunch", which means, literally, "Non esiste un pranzo gratuito o tale cosa." It's a cynical expression which means that nothing in life is free. (and how true)

    *Edited
     

    winnie

    Senior Member
    italy, italian
    Vanzo Scheì said:
    So if I understand correctly, "non c'è niente come un pranzo gratuito" means "there is nothing that compares to a free lunch" and not "there is no such thing as a free lunch", which means, literally, "Non esiste un pranzo gratuito o tale cosa." It's a cynical expression which means that nothing in life is free. (and how true)

    *Edited
    so we were totally wrong in our interpretation!
    we have an idiom:

    nemmeno il cane muove la coda per niente

    it conveys the same meaning in Italian. a literal translation would be 'neither dog wags its tail for free'

    dear jobu i beg your pardon, the right translation is
    "la morale: nulla (a questo mondo) è gratuito"
     

    Favonio

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    Perfect Vanzo.

    However, the cynical expression may be phrased in different manners:
    Non esiste il pranzo gratuito (il and not un because you are speaking of pranzo in a general meaning)
    You can even omit the article:
    Non esiste pranzo gratuito! (sounds better followed by !)

    An other way:
    Il pranzo gratuito non esiste.

    Trust me: feel free to use such forms and be sure that your cynical meaning "hits the target". :)

    Ciao.
     

    cecil

    Senior Member
    USA American English
    Vanzo Scheì said:
    Bellissimo!

    A slightly better translation: "Not even the dog wags its tail for free (or without reason)"
    Wouldn't "Not even A dog wags its tail for free" be even better?

    cecil
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Sorry to interrupt, but your tail-wagging dog idiom misses a key sense of the original.

    The original comes directly from the business lunch. The sales person invites the customer to have lunch (free of course). But at the end of the lunch either tries to sell the customer something or probes for information that will be helpful in future - hoping that the customer will be more likely to co-operate while sitting captive over the coffee.

    In other words, you may think you are getting a free lunch, but in fact the sales person is expecting to get real value from their investment, either in direct sales or in information gained.
     

    Vanzo Scheì

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    cecil said:
    Wouldn't "Not even A dog wags its tail for free" be even better?

    cecil
    I don't agree. In this case, "the dog" actually sounds better to me than "a dog", probably for the same reason that Favonio prefers to use "il pranzo" to "un pranzo". When you are talking in a metaphorical sense, the definite article is more commonly used. Think of common examples like "The early bird gets the worm".
     

    Panpan

    Senior Member
    England, English
    The way I have heard this phrase used in England, it means 'You can't get something for nothing'

    How about;
    Non esistono le pranzi gratuito.

    Please excuse and correct my mistakes
    Panpan

    (Edit - my apologies, I didn't notice this discussion had already gone to two pages and the point had already been made)
     

    Favonio

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    If you want to keep the plural form, you have to say:

    1a. Non esistono pranzi gratuiti.
    or
    1b. I pranzi gratuiti non esistono.

    However you can rephrase it in other ways:

    2. Non esiste pranzo gratuito.

    3a. Non esiste il pranzo gratuito.
    I'd advise against this last one, because the reversed form sounds better:
    3b. Il pranzo gratuito non esiste.
    ___________________________________

    Non esistono le pranzi gratuito.
    Here we have two mistakes:
    1) Wrong article. It's not le, but i : in fact pranzi is plural, but masculine , not feminine.
    2) gratuito is masculine singular adjective, and that's wrong, being pranzi plural.

    Ciao.
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    C'è un modo di dire "no such thing" in italiano? Il pranzo gratuito non esiste = A free lunch doesn't exist (or Free lunches don't exist). Ma there is no such thing as mi sembra più enfatico. As another example, There is no such thing as a ghost strikes me as more forceful than saying Ghosts don't exist. The former is almost a taunt.

    Saluti,
    Elisabetta
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Panpan said:
    The way I have heard this phrase used in England, it means 'You can't get something for nothing'
    This is right, and if I'm not mistaken some of the responses are misinterpreting or straying from the meaning of the quote.

    The idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch is an axiom in the field of economics to illustrate the idea of opportunity cost. I heard this term all the time in my lower division economics courses and books in colorful substitution for a winded discussion of opportunity cost: the point being that resources are scarce and by taking up something (even a "free lunch") a person forsakes some other opportunity ... and ultimately the cost is taken up by someone, somewhere. Milton Friedman, the Nobel prize winning free trade economist, popularized this expression.
     

    3aSZ

    Senior Member
    LF
    Catalan, Spanish
    Bongiorno

    per caso mi sono trovata con i messaggi sulla frase "there's no such thing as a free lunch". So che è passato molto tempo, ma credo che la frase più adatta sia proprio "Tutto ha un prezzo in questa vita". Anche se le parole usate non hanno niente a che fare, conserva il senso generale.

    What I mean is that sometimes popular sayings or expressions don't have an exact translation, and it's better to try to find the exact meaning than to translate the sentence literally.

    I hope that, even more than a year later, it may help you somehow (not for your essay, of course)

    3asz
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    C'è un modo di dire "no such thing" in italiano? Il pranzo gratuito non esiste = A free lunch doesn't exist (or Free lunches don't exist). Ma there is no such thing as mi sembra più enfatico. As another example, There is no such thing as a ghost strikes me as more forceful than saying Ghosts don't exist. The former is almost a taunt.

    Saluti,
    Elisabetta
    Repeating my question 18 months later... ;) Can you say "Non c'è una cosa come..." in Italian, or does it sound weird?

    Elisabetta
     

    furs

    Senior Member
    Italian
    O semplicementer: non esiste....pranzo gratis (anche se ovviamente non esiste un'espressione idiomatica del genere in italiano)
     

    giovannino

    Senior Member
    Italian, Neapolitan
    I agree with furs. "There is no such thing as..." means that something doesn't exist, that it's nowhere to be found. "Non c'è niente come..." means "there is nothing like (i.e. nothing better than)...", which is different.
    To me Paul's "non esiste nulla di simile a..." is more like "there is nothing quite like..." (In Inghilterra ci sono le "public schools". In Italia non esiste nulla di simile). You couldn't say "non c'è nulla di simile a un fantasma" (Elisabetta's example) to say that ghosts don't exist.

    So Elisabetta's question remains unanswered: how to say "there is no such thing as a ghost" in Italian in a more emphatic way than a simple "i fantasmi non esistono"?
     

    Baco

    Member
    english-spanish
    OK people REALITY CHECK! "no such thing as a free lunch" is a sarcastic comment on society. Even if you think something is free, you're going to have to pay for it "somewhere down the road" (another idiomatic expression meaning, "later" or "in the future"). Forget about ghosts and the like. Traduzione...chissa..."pranzo gratis...non esiste!"
     

    giovannino

    Senior Member
    Italian, Neapolitan
    OK people REALITY CHECK!...Forget about ghosts and the like.
    Hi, Baco, and welcome:)
    Actually I was not posting about the idiomatic phrase in the thread title but replying to Elisabetta, who had asked how to say "there is no such thing as..." in Italian in general, "there is no such thing as a ghost" being the example she gave.
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    Ciao, Baco. We've moved beyond the specific phrase of the title to a more general discussion of "there's no such thing as." My use of "ghosts" was simply an example. There are many other contexts besides "free lunches" in which one hears the expression "there is no such thing as..." in English. For example: "There is no such thing as the ideal WRF forer@." ;)

    Elisabetta
     

    Joan bolets

    Senior Member
    Italian/Sicilian
    Hi, to add confusion to confusion (or maybe to shed a bit of light on the subject), in the following sentence:

    Last week John G. explained that we shouldn’t worry about the growing number of Americans without health insurance, because there’s no such thing as being uninsured. After all, you can always get treatment at an emergency room.

    Should I translate it into : non esistono in effetti gli sprovvisti di assicurazione or any other translation playing down the consequences usually associated with being uninsured.

    Am I on the right track?

    Thanks in advance for your advice...
     
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