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Thread: 'сколько сам портсигар'; сколько = 'than with'?

  1. #1
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    'сколько сам портсигар'; сколько = 'than with'?

    'И редактора и поэта не столько поразило то, что нашлась в портсигаре именно «Наша марка», сколько сам портсигар.'
    I haven't seen сколько used like this before.
    The last phrase maybe means '..., than with the cigarette case itself', but if so, I can't see how.
    Am I right?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Yes, the construct "не столько ..., сколько ..." is from the same series as "пиво по утрам не только вредно, но и полезно"
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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    I think I get your point, thanks.

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    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Both the editor and the poet were less amazed to see exactly "Nasha marka" found in the cigaret case than with the case itself.
    Something like that.
    Not sure in the grammar though. Please tell me how it reads, if it sucks please help me rephrase it as natural.

    Basically it's:
    Nasha marka found in the case -> amazement = 10
    Case itself -> amazement = 50

    Funny enough, the first part of this thing in English looks more heavy and wordy; seemingly it gets a heavier sentence stress, whereas in Russian, the last part of the sentence is what gets the maximum stress. Dunno how to shift the stress tho.
    Maybe reword it like: ... amazed more with the case itself than ...?
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  5. #5
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    Yes, as far as I could tell that's what it means. Your 'amazement equation' looks right...!

    I'd phrase it as
    'Both editor and poet were not so much amazed to find 'Nasha Marka' in the cigarette case, as they were with the cigarette case itself.' You can drop 'the' before their titles, if you like. It's not often done in English, and I may not be able to explain why it's ok here. If you like I can ask a friend who's a very good English teacher...
    Or
    'Both the editor and the poet were less amazed to find 'Nasha Marka' in the cigarette case, than they were with the cigarette case itself.' Which sounds okay, but the first construction reads more naturally to me.

  6. #6
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    If you like I can ask a friend who's a very good English teacher...
    That would be a great favor of you.
    The zero-article-thing is something I've been wracking my brain around for years.

    Btw, in Russian, the original sentence requires specific intonation when narrated to maintain the effect.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  7. #7
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    I have an audiobook of the Russian text, so I'll look out for the intonation.
    I messaged my teacher friend. If he can't explain it, no-one can! He has taught English in Turkey for 20 years, where they also have no word for 'the', I think.

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    From my teacher friend:

    A sentence with "Both (one person)and (another person)" or "Neither (one person)nor (another person)" forms something almost like a set phrase, eg 'both patient and doctor', 'neither husband nor wife', 'both teacher and student', where leaving out 'the' is a normal part of the construction, although it is not incorrect to keep it. So it is just a small exception to the normal rules of using 'the'.

    I changed some of his words, but this is what he was saying. Does that help?
    iCake likes this.

  9. #9
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    This pattern seems to be yet another piece of the puzzle named English articles, thank you and that English teacher for this one
    Yes, that helps a lot, I didn't know that.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

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