To be top of the class and to graduate first

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by net, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. net Senior Member

    In a university context what do the following sentences mean?
    1) "He was top of his class"
    2) "He graduated first"

    I would translate them respectively as:
    1) "Egli era il più bravo/il migliore del suo corso" (or "tra i migliori"???) --> Which is it?
    2) "Egli si laureò per primo" (referring to time and not to skills).

    Are those right?

    I mean, what does "to graduate first" mean exactly? Does it refer to the skills of the student (= he is the best of all) or to the amount of time it took him to graduate? (Because finishing before others does not necessarily mean being the most skilled or having the highest grades). So which is the correct meaning?

    Thank you. :)
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  2. smart_woman07

    smart_woman07 Senior Member

    io credo che:
    "He was top of his class" significhi "Era il migliore del suo corso" e
    "He graduated first" "Egli si laureò per primo" (rispetto alle persone del suo corso).
  3. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    Ciao net

    per il primo, potrebbe essere anche: Era il migliore nella classe

    Per il secondo, ci vuole più contesto per dire con esattezza se si riferisce a tempo oppure a "skills"
  4. net Senior Member

    Unfortunately, I do not have more context, since it is something I heard in different occasions, for example in some films (some of them a long time ago) and something like that.

    Anyway, I think it is difficult in a whole university class not to find at least two people who have about the same grades/scores, so wouldn't it be better to translate "top of his class" with "tra i migliori" (and not "the very best")? When you hear someone you do not know say "I was top of my class", what do you first think? That's what I'm asking.

    As for the "graduate first", so it could have both meanings. Which one does it usually (in most cases) convey?
  5. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    For the first, if someone is top of his class, I would interpret that as being the one with the highest marks or grades, and not just among the best.

    For the second, if the phrase is a stand alone one, then I would say it would refer to skills rather than to time.

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