Worth / to be Worthwhile to...

Waenelin

Senior Member
French
Hello all ! :)

J'ai un peu de mal avec l'emploi de ces expressions (grammaire et contexte); pourriez vous m'aider ?

En l'occurence, je voudrais dire "je sais que vous avez très peu de temps ; est ce bien la peine que je vous envoie quad même mon travail (pour relecture) ?"

Mais je me pose également la question des nuances de cette expression : "valoir le coup" => to be wortwhile to / it's worth your while ...ing, ... etc.

Thank U :)
 
  • LV4-26

    Senior Member
    D'après moi (mais je ne suis pas un aborilingue),
    "worth" s'emploie toujours avec un complément (compléments en gras ci-dessous) :
    worth doing, worth the trouble, worth it,...
    Alors que "worthwile" s'utilise sans complément.

    PS : Je ne comprends pas (ou je ne connais) pas l'expression suivante :
    it's worth your while
    EDIT : je vais quand même essayer une traduction...sous toutes réserves
    I know you've got very little time/I know you're very short on time. So is there any point in my sending you my work (for proofreading) ?

    Comme tu vois, je contourne la difficulté car je n'arrive pas à trouver quelque chose de naturel avec "worth" ou "worthwhile".

    Amendments by English speakers would be very welcome. :)
     

    Waenelin

    Senior Member
    French
    LV4-26 said:
    D'après moi (mais je ne suis pas un aborilingue),
    "worth" s'emploie toujours avec un complément (compléments en gras ci-dessous) :
    worth doing, worth the trouble, worth it,...
    Alors que "worthwhile" s'utilise sans complément.:
    OK. Alors comment dirais tu "Est ce que ça vaut le coup que je t'envoie mon travail" ? Is it worthwhile for me to send you my work ? :confused: C'est lourd !!! Impossible que ce soit ça...

    LV4-26 said:
    PS : Je ne comprends pas (ou je ne connais) pas l'expression suivante : it's worth your while
    "if something is worth your while, you will get an advantage if you do it. It's worth your while taking out travel insurance if you are going abroad. (often + doing something)"
    source : http://idioms.tfd.com/worth
     

    Waenelin

    Senior Member
    French
    LV4-26 said:
    D'après moi (mais je ne suis pas un aborilingue),
    "worth" s'emploie toujours avec un complément (compléments en gras ci-dessous) :
    worth doing, worth the trouble, worth it,...
    Alors que "worthwile" s'utilise sans complément.

    PS : Je ne comprends pas (ou je ne connais) pas l'expression suivante :


    EDIT : je vais quand même essayer une traduction...sous toutes réserves
    I know you've got very little time/I know you're very short on time. So is there any point in my sending you my work (for proofreading) ?

    Comme tu vois, je contourne la difficulté car je n'arrive pas à trouver quelque chose de naturel avec "worth" ou "worthwhile".

    Amendments by English speakers would be very welcome. :)

    Sorry, je n'avais pas vu ton edit. Contourner la difficulté peut être une bonne solution ;) mais la question me titille toujours !
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    After much reflection, here are some thoughts.

    Worth is essentially a way of comparing two things, especially their value (not their price):
    - What! £10 for that CD!? It's only worth 5!
    - That book's not worth the paper it's printed on.
    But it is also used to compare more abstract value:
    - Baking your own bread is nice, but I'm not sure it's worth the time it takes when there's a bakery on the corner.
    Mostly, though worth is a way of saying whether something has enough value to justify its existence or to justify doing it. In this use, worth is usually followed by 'it':
    - Driving into town's just not worth it when there's a bus every five minutes.
    - Learning long division is not worth it. Everyone's got a calculator these days

    Worthwhile is equivalent to the last of these definitions. 'While' effectively means 'time', so if you say something is not worthwhile, you're saying it's not worth the time (and by implication the effort). It's not worth it.
    - Learning to spell is not worthwhile. I can always use a spell-check. ( :eek: )
    - Getting to know your neighbours is very worthwhile.

    I'd say, though, that 'worth' is more mathematical and 'worthwhile' more moral, that 'worth' is very common and 'worthwhile' a little more formal, a little heavier.

    To say that something is or isn't worth my while (or your while, etc.) is just a little more dramatic that saying worthwhile, and makes it specific to a person.
    - It's not worth my while to teach him good manners if you let him get away with being rude.

    And some words on their syntax:

    WORTH can't be used on its own. X can't just be worth, it has to be worth something. That something tends to be either a thing, it, or a gerund (V+ing):
    To be worth X: It's not worth the time it would take. This book is well worth the cost. Reformatting your hard drive is not worth the time.

    To be worth it: Driving into town is just not worth it, with petrol prices so high.
    To be worth doing: My homework's so difficult, it's just not worth doing. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
    It's (not) worth doing X: It's not worth going back home. We'd have to leave five minutes after we got there.
    It here is impersonal. The true subject of the clause is 'doing X': 'It's not worth going back home' = 'Going home is not worth it'.

    WORTHWHILE can be used on its own, because 'while' is already like a complement of 'worth'. And since 'worthwhile' already contains a complement, you can't add on another. You can, however, add an infinitive clause or a gerund, as long as the subject of the sentence is 'it' (since the gerund or clause is basically a deferred subject in this case).
    To be worthwhile (or worth while): Paying off your credit card each month is very worthwhile.
    It's (not) worthwhile doing X: It's worthwhile practising your speech before the big day.
    It's (not) worthwhile to do X: It's worthwhile to do some research before buying a car.
    A worthwhile X: Research is a worthwhile endeavour.
    Note that worthwhile can precede a noun, whereas 'worth' cannot.

    To be worth someone's while: Memorizing vocab each day is definitely worth my while.
    It's (not) worth someone's while to do X: It's not worth my while to wait for you if you're going to be late each time.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Merci Waenelin pour "worth your while". Je ne connaissais pas.

    Thanks Aupick for this most complete explanation.

    Waenelin, ma tentative de traduction est, je crois, aussi lourde que la tienne.
    Tu t'emberlificotes dans des "worthwhile for me to..." et moi dans des "any point in my...". :)
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    LV4-26 said:
    Waenelin, ma tentative de traduction est, je crois, aussi lourde que la tienne.
    Tu t'emberlificotes dans des "worthwhile for me to..." et moi dans des "any point in my...". :)
    I rather like your 'Is there any point in my sending you...', although I feel that most natives would probably say 'Is there any point in me sending you...', even though it's 'less correct'.

    Otherwise 'worth' would work: 'Is it worth me sending you my work (for proofreading)?'.

    'Worthwhile' would be a little heavy, though. Where 'is it worth...' means 'will you have time...', 'is it worthwhile' is more philosophical: 'is it really the most effective way to achieve our objectives...'. I'm probably exaggerating the difference, but I do feel there's a nuance that's worth grasping.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    How about "Would you have time to proofread my document." "Is it worth. . ." or "Is there any point. . ." sound harsh.
     
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