Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Is there a difference

  1. #1
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Other Universe
    Posts
    8,501
    Rep Power
    27

    Is there a difference

    Is there any semantic difference between nothing and not anything, i.e.

    I'll tell you nothing vs. I won't tell you anything
    I know nothing vs. I don't know anything
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  2. #2
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Invalid City!
    Posts
    1,352
    Rep Power
    13
    No, none at all as far as I am aware. They are perfect synonyms.

    As an aside, is it even possible to make that distinction in Russian? Both would be ya nichego ne znayu, wouldn't they?

    (excuse the ugly translit, I'm on the other half's PC and she doesn't need cyrillic stickers on the keyboard on account of being able to touch-type in Russian)

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    341
    Rep Power
    10

    Re: Is there a difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Is there any semantic difference between nothing and not anything, i.e.

    I'll tell you nothing vs. I won't tell you anything
    I know nothing vs. I don't know anything
    There is no semantic difference, but, of course there are normal and abnormal ways of using them.

    "I'll tell you nothing" is something you would only say if you were very angry or defiant (like in the movies when someone is being questioned). In the same situation you could also say "I won't tell you ANYTHING (heavy stress)", but you can also say this in more common situations without the heavy stress, for instance, with friends who want you to tell a secret.

    "I know nothing" was a famous phase on the american tv show Hogan's Heroes. It was said by a German soldier on that show and was a little bit funny. If you can say it with a German accent some people in the US will find it pretty funny.

    It's more common to say "I don't know anything about that" than "I know nothing about that", but there is no difference in meaning.

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Seventh
    Posts
    4,113
    Rep Power
    15

    Re: Is there a difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Is there any semantic difference between nothing and not anything, i.e.

    I'll tell you nothing vs. I won't tell you anything
    I know nothing vs. I don't know anything
    The latter variants are much more common and more correct in normal speech:

    "I won't tell you anything" is what you should be saying. "I'll tell you nothing" is more emphatic and should only be used in certain contexts.
    Ingenting kan stoppa mig
    In Post-Soviet Russia internet porn downloads YOU!

Similar Threads

  1. difference between в and к?
    By ycomp in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: April 8th, 2010, 05:53 PM
  2. Difference between до and к
    By Marlow in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: March 21st, 2010, 09:12 AM
  3. What's the Very Difference Here?
    By Culturist in forum Polish
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: September 4th, 2008, 10:05 PM
  4. The difference?
    By Matryoshka in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: September 24th, 2007, 08:27 PM
  5. can anyone tell me the difference
    By Орчун in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: April 4th, 2006, 04:54 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary