"אם הייתָ שם הייתָ יודע."

Translation:If you were there you'd know.

September 6, 2016

15 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elana1818

Could this be translated as "If you had been there you would know"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/synp
  • 1205

It can, and it's that perfect tense that has no real equivalent in Hebrew.

"you would know" means the time you know is now when I'm speaking "you would have known" means the time you know is somewhat in the past up to the present.

The Hebrew could mean either


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlmogL

I'm not sure I can explain correctly the difference between "If you had been there you'd know" and "If you were there you'd know", I think the former implies "the reason you don't know is that you weren't there" and the second implies "I can tell you weren't there because you don't know"? The Hebrew sentence can mean both. Hebrew has less tenses than English so there are some different ideas that we express using one tense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elana1818

So in Hebrew, it's the difference between "אם היית שם אז אתה יודע" and "אם היית שם היית יודע". I would translate ""אם היית שם היית יודע" as "If you'd been there you'd know." What I'm struggling with is the hybrid English translation "If you were there you'd know".

"If you were there then you know": If it's true that you were at the party, then you already know what happened and I don't need to tell you.

"If you had been there you would know": You didn't go to the party, so I guess I'd better tell you what happened. If you had gone, I wouldn't need to be explaining it to you now.

"If you were there you would know": Just confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarakSaltz

"אם היית שם, אז אתה יודע."

?Is it proper or is conditional needed for both clauses

(אם היית שם, אז אתה היית יודע.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/synp
  • 1205

It is necessary. Your sentence means "If you were there, then you know".

Of course this works only by accident because the word "היית" can mean both the conditional past (if you had been there - as in the question) but also the regular past (if you were there). With any verb other than to be it doesn't work.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/synp
  • 1205

This isn't a question of good vs bad English. These are two legitimate sentences that mean different things.

"If you were there then you would know" means that you were not there and that is why (presumably) you don't know.

"If you were there, then you know" means that I don't know if you were there or not, but if you were, then you right now know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarakSaltz

"If you were there, then you know." and "If you would have been there, then you know" are not ultra-good standard English, albeit passable. Better is "If you were there, then you would know." and "If you would have been there, then you would know."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XeroStomus1

to a man: אתה: אִם הָיִיתָ שָׁם הָיִיתָ יוֹדֵעַ.

to a woman. את: אִם הָיִית שָׁם הָיִית יוֹדַעַת.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

Thanks for the niqud; it’s helpful to know that there’s a shva under the ת of the “to a woman” ‏היית, for the pronunciation hayit.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hadassah277241

I can't follow all the comments about if you were there vs. if you had been there. I think the Hebrew can be translated correctly either way. Hebrew has fewer tenses and in this case I don't think it makes much difference, if any.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nimafarid2007

it does not make much difference. it is about a situation in the past where the subject was not present. that's it. if the person was, the person would know. (heck im not sure i know of the technical difference in meaning in English either)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mabel544786

In interpreting the hearing exercise: No difference in pronounciation of הייתה and היית (with kamatz). Confirmed by Duo, as I got the exercise correct also by using הייתה. The sentence could have been about if she were there..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TaraPride

And just when I thought I was getting the hang of this... Wouldn't the pronoun היא be required with הייתה?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/synp
  • 1205

The pronoun היא would fit, but it's not necessary.

In languages where the verbs are gendered and personed, like Hebrew and Spanish, you can usually elide the pronoun as they are obvious from the form of the verb. So in English we'd say

I was there

And in Hebrew we can say

אני הייתי שם

But also,

הייתי שם

But we can also

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