"הוא מאחר אבל אני לא."
Translation:He is late but I am not.
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Actually it's l am lating, he is not. מאחר is a verb and not an adjective or a pronoun. אני אחרתי, I was being late, l was "lating", its a hebrew peculiarity that for the state of lateness a verb is used. While you can translate this with a pronoun or adjective, thats not what it actually means to an israeli. מאוחר is "late", האותבוס מאוחר, the bus is late. Bus here is an object you are referring to. When speaking about yourself or others a verb לאחר is being used. לאחר is an indefinite form and מאחר is present tense masculine form, מאחרת is present tense feminine form.
Except that "I am lating" does not exist in English. I understand what you are trying to say, and you are correct, but this is one example of how languages work. There are many instances where there is no equivalent, but alternative solutions must be used.
I am also writing this, so that non-native speakers of English, who are doing this course don't think that "I am lating" is a legitimate sentence, and start reporting it, that it should be accepted.
I am assuming that the second time you wrote מאוחר meukhar, you intended to write מאוחר , because that’s how it’s usually written without niqud. Meukhar is an adjective and you used it as an adjective in your first two examples. Meukhar is used for situations or things but not for people.
Meakher is a verb you use for example when you’re running late.
When you arrive to your destination late, you don’t say “Sorry I’m late” in the present tense, you use past tense: סליחה שאיחרתי Slikha she-ikharti (This is a case where Hebrew uses a verb and English uses an adjective.)
A very helpful video is Late vs “Late-ing” | UlpaNoya
Great response. Thank you. I found the video you recommended at
Spectacular role playing !! I'm still laughing :)
"But" is sometimes אלא, but only in very specific contexts. One is the English "but rather":
לא כלב אלא חתול. לא כחול אלא ירוק. הוא לא הלך אלא נסע.
Of course this doesn't fit here. Another use is אלא ש, which can come at the front of the sentence or between two parts of a composite sentence. It sometimes translates to "however", and may seem synonymous with "but", but has quite a special meaning - what follows it not only is in contrast to what was said before, it kind of defeats the purpose of the thing said before.
הוא בא לבקר אותי, אלא שאני לא הייתי בבית.