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Thread: Abt То..., то...

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    Abt То..., то...

    Studying coordinate sentences I find in alphadictionary.com the following about the meaning of То..., то...
    "This conjunction indicates an alternation of things, states, and actions. Remember that both of these particles are unaccented and so are pronounced [ta]. The closest correlate of this conjunction in English is first . . . then, as the following examples demonstrate.
    То Таня, то Лена дразнили бедного Володю.
    First Tanya, then Lena would tease poor Volodya.
    For me: Now Tanya, then Lena (in turns) would tease poor Volodya
    Лена то дразнила, то утешала бедного Володю.
    Lena would first tease then comfort poor Volodya.
    For me: Sometimes Lena would first tease, sometimes comfort poor Volodya
    Весной там то холодно, то жарко.
    In the spring it is first cold then hot there.
    For me: The weather there is very variable in spring: suddenly it is cold, suddenly it is hot.


    "
    It is surprising for me this temporal sequence: "firstly... then..." that is not present in any dictionary, since, for example "Там то идёт дождь, то идёт снег" should be translated (according with the dictionaries) as "There sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows" or "There now it rains, then it snows", but not having this temporal meaning. More widely it would be said (I think): "The weather there is very variable, sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows".
    What do you think about it? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radomir View Post
    More widely it would be said (I think): "The weather there is very variable, sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows".
    What do you think about it? Thanks.
    Yes, you'd better not pay attention to statement concerning 'first, and then', you just don't know what comes first in sentences like "Весной там то жарко, то холодно". То,... то means something happens one after another, but you never know what comes first.

    I can give you some more examples for better understanding.

    Мне то хорошо, то плохо. (I feel sometimes well, sometimes bad)
    Самолёт то появлялся, то снова исчезал. (The airplane sometimes appeared in the sky, sometimes disappeared)

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    Thank you; i was going to delete this post since I have found that the "deeper" meaning of То,... то... is a change of states, not being the matter which is the first or the second one, as you say. Thanks

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post
    I can give you some more examples for better understanding.

    Мне то хорошо, то плохо. (I feel sometimes well, sometimes bad)
    Самолёт то появлялся, то снова исчезал. (The airplane sometimes appeared in the sky, sometimes disappeared)
    Alexsms, in these examples, is то stressed or unstressed? I'm trying to figure out the intonation/rhythm of these sentences.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Alexsms, in these examples, is то stressed or unstressed? I'm trying to figure out the intonation/rhythm of these sentences.
    Normally it is not stressed but it depends on a speaker. Have in mind that "то" is not a preposition and "то появлялся" is not pronounced as one word with one stress.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Regarding то...то. It seems to me there's a slight confusion here.

    Мне то хорошо, то плохо. - in this sentence то...то must be stressed, otherwise it just doesn't make sense. Technically , то... то is a conjunction here.

    But there is one more occurrence of то in Russian. This is a particle that is always hyphenated. For example, Он-то знает?. In this case то must be unstressed and used with hyphen, and it's something like He knows, doesn't he? (the usage of то here is for emphasis).

    Another example is кто-то (pronoun, somebody), you can't stress то here, because it's just the unstressed auxiliary particle.

    So, as it-ogo said this is not a preposition, but it can be different parts of speech.

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    Thank you for the interesting answers.

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