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  5. "Она всегда опаздывает. В чём…

"Она всегда опаздывает. В чём дело?"

Translation:She is always late. What's the matter?

November 11, 2015



I feel like В чём дело? is a stable phrase, and it's hard for me to break it apart and understand it as the sum of it's parts. Why does this construction mean "what's the matter?" exactly?


First of all, I'd say there are several stable phrases with this meaning: В чём дело?, Что случилось?, Ну, что? The difference is in formality, emotional state. I have a feeling that "Что случилось" is the most polite, "Ну, что" the least polite and "В чём дело" is somewhat in the middle, but they are all widely used.

The key word дело can be translated as matter, point, concern, business: ближе к делу = come to the point, get down to business, говорить по делу = to speak on business, дело не в этом = that's not the point.

It is an idiomatic expression, you can think of it as the matter consists of something. So the question is What does it consist of?. One can even ask В чём состоит дело?, which is the longer version and gives a hint. The answer follows the same pattern: Дело в том, что я беременна = The problem is that I'm pregnant [The problem consists of the fact that I'm pregnant]

Hope this helps, probably it would be easier just to memorize the whole phrase. =)


This helps a great deal, thanks! Should a longer answer to В чём дело? be in prepositional case?


Yes, one should say Дело в <предложный падеж>:

всё дело в машине [им: машина] = it's the car, дело в твоём поведении [им: поведение] = it's about your behavior.

You can always use this form, longer but grammatically simpler: дело в том, что <предложение без изменений>:

дело в том, что я хочу кушать = the problem is that I'm hungry.


Duo accepts "What's up with that?" for В чём дело" here - I guess it will only do it on exercises where there is a sentence to give the "that" context. But I was really pleased it was accepted because it works and is semi-polite given it's the lateness that is an issue rather than her. It's my preferred translation in this case.


What's the deal - is a good translation


Is there something wrong with saying "What is the deal?" ?


No, it should be acceptable as well.


What about "what's going on with her?"


"The deal" also has a different meaning (Тим: "I have this side, you have that side." Том: "Deal!"), and your sentence is very colloquial. It takes a bit more inference to figure out what you said.


She is late, thats whats the matter!


Everything is matter.


Tagged me as having a typo for not capitalizing "she's" but a capitalized box was not offered.


This couldn't have been the case because capitalization isn't taken into account when marking your answer right or wrong. You probably had some other mistake in your answer.


So is the context for "В чем дело?" sort of like "what's the big deal?" or sort of a sarcastic "is it a surprise?" implying that her lateness is something that happens so often that it shouldn't cause any issues this time since it hasn't in the past?


I wouldn't say so. What's the matter? is the closest translation here. This phrase can be easily said by the boss or the colleague, so the context is like "Does she know about discipline?".

If I wanted to say "What's the big deal?", I would say Ну и что такого?, or А ты не знал? for "Is it a surprise?"


Why is "в" used in the second sentence? Doesn't that mean "in"?


See higher up this discussion to see that "В чём дело?" is a fixed expression.


Анна или она?


Would it be correct to translate "в чём дело" as "So what?" For example, "She's always late. So what?"


No, it would change the meaning. "В чём дело?" asks for an explanation.

Later in the course we also have the expression дело в том, что "the thing is, . . ." It follows the same pattern.


"She always runs late. What's the matter?" is not accepted. Why not?


I wrote "She is always late. Whats the deal?" It was wrong but then, I suppose it wasnt asking for a colloquial translation.


Hm. I think we will accept that.


Okay. I said "Whats her deal?" And maybe this should have been accepted? An old teacher of mine used to translate дело as things or dealings


"What had the problem" isn't correct English.... Try again. I feel this translation can be improved.


дедейб делей... всегда ораздывает...


What kind of typo may be when we are not write by ourselves but construct from offered words?


Incorrect word order can be shown as a "typo".


could also be "she always is late"


This word order is very unnatural and old-timey sounding. It also puts emphasis on the "is".

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