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  5. "אני לא מוצא את הדרך."

"אני לא מוצא את הדרך."

Translation:I can't find the way.

June 27, 2016



Is there a difference in Hebrew between "CANNOT" and "DO NOT"? I translated this sentence as "I don't find the road," which is quite awkward, even though it was marked as correct...

"I can't find the way," is natural, but saying "I can not" and "I do not" in English mean two different things. One is talking about an ability to do something while the other is talking about whether or not the action is taking place.

"I can't find the way," implies that I am not capable to find the way, whereas "I don't find the way," means that I am not currently in the action of finding.

Is there a difference in Hebrew?

(By the way, instead of saying "I don't find the way," I would say, "I am not finding a way.")


There is an expression in Hebrew (well, maybe a saying will be more accurate) "אין לא יכול, יש לא רוצה" which means that if something that you should have done was not done it is not because you lacked the capability but because you lacked the will.

So when an Israeli doesn't find the way it is not because s/he can't. He/She just doesn't, and admitting that failure is already costly.

The right translation to English would then be "can't" although the appropriate do/be verb will not be wrong, just less "English" I guess.


There is generally a difference in English between "I do not" and "I can not", and each has Hebrew counterpart. But with respect to "find", what's the difference? "Finding" is not a continuous action that you can be in the process of doing. It also doesn't make sense to me to say that "I don't find it" if you /can/ find it; it's logically possible, but only if you're not looking for it, and then that's what you'll say - I'm not looking for it... So to me, "I don't find it" necessarily mean "I can't find it".


When you're looking for X, you say "I can't find X" - my keys, my wallet, etc. "I don't find my keys" sounds very odd.


Here's how it "I don't find" can make sense in English distinct from "I can't find".

"Whenever I lose my keys, we all look for them, but typically I don't find them - my wife finds them first"

The distinction in meaning here being you could in theory find them, but you typically don't.


Could you also say "אני לא יכול למצוא הדרך" ? Using the verb "ליכול"/"can"? Do the sentences have the same meaning?


Do you know the way?


אתה יודע את הדרך?


מכיר, לא יודע

אתה מכיר את הדרך?


It can also be יודע, I think. If it's the way to do something, it's more often יודע. Even if it's a geographical way, I think מכיר is if you did this way yourself, have some first-hand experience, while for יודע it's sufficient if you can list the turns, maybe reading them from a map.


What's the word for "looking for"?



It's sin, pronounced mekhapes/mekhapeset/mekhapsim/mekhapsot.


So is this figurative or literal or both? Like would you say this if you're physically lost like trying to find the road a restaurant is on? Or is this a more figurative thing like you have to solve a problem but can't find a way?


Biblical Hebrew prose would use the imperfect here, as the imperfect has modal nuances. I agree with P8W7k that this sentence could be אני לא יכול למצוא הדרך


I am remembering this by thinking about the Passover afikomen: מוצא sounds like "matzah". So you need to מוצא the matzah.


can't is a shortened version of cannot = so why is cannot not acceptable?


Oy vey! This is not a good way of saying it, it is better as: I can't find the land!


Is מוצא pronounced like motseh or motse-ah ?


I hear "ani lo motse et ha-derekh"


it is not acceptable to force an american word on the rest of the english speaking world


They're not "forcing" anything -- I believe the course was created by American volunteers who used the version of English they were familiar with. When people point out that there are variations used in other parts of the world, they are quite happy to include them in the list of answers.



can not has been cannot for a very long time. Can't is a crass shortening and should never be used.


Do you no da wey?

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