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  5. "הילד קורא את הספר המצוין."

"הילד קורא את הספר המצוין."

Translation:The boy is reading the excellent book.

April 6, 2017



This isn't a natural sentence in English. The boy is reading an excellent book, sure, but to make it definite sounds odd.


The same for Hebrew.


or you could say he's reading "THE good book", and you would know which one ;)


the translation offered to me: "...the indicated book" ?


The suggestion it gave me was “...the marked book.” I work in a context with used books and that made me picture one with markings all over the cover. The only other meaning of marked as an adjective that I can think of is “significant” as in a marked increase in some statistic. Definitely not “excellent” which it now shows here.

I guess marked and indicated are at least somewhat synonymous in this context.


The word מצוין means "excellent" 99.5% of the times it's used, and "indicated" in the other times. I don't think it has any meaning that corresponds to many meaning of "marked".


I think because it makes it sound like there is only one excellent book, and he's reading it.


Does it also make it sound like there is only one boy?

I think the sentence sounds perfectly natural in English, if we assume a context in which a particular boy and a particular excellent book have already been identified.


I think the reason it sounds strange to many people is that since both sides to the conversation know which book it is, it seems funny to push in the statement that it's excellent. If you want to say it's excellent, you'd usually do it in a separate sentence.

If it were "The boy is reading the red book", it would be natural; "red" serves to identify the book, among several possible books. "Excellent" might identify the book, but it's harder to imagine this scenario.

Of course, we're making much too much fuss about the likelihood of the sentence; this is just to teach us vocabulary and grammar, so what if they don't correspond very excellently here...

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