"Too," meaning "more than is permissible/possible."

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paieye

Senior Member
English - British
A useful device in English is to use "too" to convey the above meaning:
"The sea is very cold, but it is not too cold" i.e., so cold that we cannot swim.
"We are very late, but we are not too late" i.e. to be allowed into the auditorium.
"This cardigan is very expensive, but it is not too expensive" i.e. for me to be able to buy it.

The dictionaries give the impression that there is no single way of saying this in Greek. Is that really the case ?
 
  • tropicalia

    Senior Member
    Español
    Hi,

    I'm not native, but I would say all the "too" from your examples with "πάρα πολύ".

    Η θάλασσα είναι πολύ κρύα, αλλά δεν είναι πάρα πολύ κρύα".
     

    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    An interesting question, paieye, which has been at the back of my mind. One thing I learnt from experience in shops buying clothes you can say something is too big/small simply with "ειναι μεγάλο/μικρό". That suggests that you definitely want a smaller/bigger one. There might be a situation e.g. with a T shirt when μεγάλο is good depending on your fashion choice!!

    I await further enlightenment from our ever helpful native Greek speakers.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    I would say all the "too" from your examples with "πάρα πολύ".
    The problem with πάρα πολύ is that it can also simply mean ''very much'', and not always ''too much'' (if I'm not mistaken).
    Cf. expressions like Σε ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ. This would never mean ''I thank you too much''.
    But does it always mean ''too'' before adjectives or adverbs?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    A useful device in English is to use "too" to convey the above meaning:
    "The sea is very cold, but it is not too cold" i.e., so cold that we cannot swim.
    "We are very late, but we are not too late" i.e. to be allowed into the auditorium.
    "This cardigan is very expensive, but it is not too expensive" i.e. for me to be able to buy it.
    It's true Greek lacks a single word to convey the meaning of "too". "Πάρα πολύ" is a strong "πολύ" ("πάρα" is an intensifier), but it's not an exact equivalent of the English "too". To show the difference between "very + adj/adv" and "too + ad/adv" , we can translate the first one as "πολύ + adj/adv" and the latter as "πάρα πολύ + adj/adv" or "υπερβολικά + "adj/adv".

    My suggestion:
    "Η θάλασσα είναι πολύ κρύα, αλλά όχι πάρα πολύ/υπερβολικά κρύα".
    "Αργήσαμε πολύ, αλλά όχι πάρα πολύ/υπερβολικά".
    "Αυτή η ζακέτα είναι πολύ ακριβή, αλλά όχι πάρα πολύ/υπερβολικά ακριβή".

    Here's a similar thread: no Greek word for too late, too much, too old, too far

    One thing I learnt from experience in shops buying clothes you can say something is too big/small simply with "ειναι μεγάλο/μικρό". That suggests that you definitely want a smaller/bigger one.
    Of course, by just saying "μεγάλο" or "μικρό" doesn't give information whether it's too big/small or how big/small it is, but it fulfills the communicative need to express that this specific product does not fit you because it is big/small for you, so you need another one.
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    The problem with πάρα πολύ is that it can also simply mean ''very much'', and not always ''too much'' (if I'm not mistaken).
    Cf. expressions like Σε ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ. This would never mean ''I thank you too much''.
    Yes, in that case it means "very much".
    But does it always mean ''too'' before adjectives or adverbs?
    Not always. I would say it covers semantically both very and too.

    "Αυτά τα παπούτσια είναι (πάρα) πολύ μικρά για μένα" can be trasnlated "these shoes are too small for me".
    "υπερβολικά μικρά" would do the same job, but it's more formal.
    "Σκέψου το (πάρα) πολύ προσεκτικά πριν αποφασίσεις" can be translated "think about it very carefully before deciding".
     
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    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    In spoken gr. we also use the expression "είναι ... αλλά όχι και τόσο." meaning "it is ... but not that (much) ". This "όχι και τόσο" can also stand alone: e.g.
    - Is it expensive?
    - Όχι και τόσο.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Also, to denote exaggeration ("too much") we can create compound verbs with the prefix "παρα-" ("παρακάνω, παραλέω, παραείμαι", etc.). Eg. "Αυτά τα παπούτσια παραείναι μεγάλα" (These shoes are too big). Note, that "παρά-" has other meanings too.

    Another way is to create compound words with the prefix "παν- (παμ-/παγ-/παλ-/παρ- before specific consonants)", which denotes exaggeration: πανάκριβος (extremely expensive), πάμφθηνος (dirt cheap).
     
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