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"Em circunstância alguma ele pode saber da minha existência."

Translation:Under no circumstances can he know about my existence.

March 22, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I was surprised by the form of this sentence until I remembered a little factoid I stored away a while ago. To say "something" you use "alguma coisa" but to say "nothing" you use "coisa alguma". The same thing goes on here but applied to the word "circunstância".


Excellent factoid, well done sir.


Superness! I'll write that down as yet another quirk :D


I usually print screen most of the comments on DuoL, people give out great tips and examples.


Thank you, Davu. That may have answered a question I submitted.


Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but my English translation of this sentence was "under no circumstance can he know of my existence." (which was not accepted). The recommended translation "under no circumstance he can know of my existence" seems awkward to me.


I definitely prefer your sentence. Even better in my opinion is to start the sentence with "Under no circumstances" simply because this is an English idiom.


Thanks! I thought of adding the s, but knowing how these translations tend to work, I automatically translated to singular (higher chance of acceptance, I guess). But I didn't want to write an incorrect sentence.


Davu, can you please explain why do we need subject/verb inversion here, as this is not a question?

  • under no circumstance(s) he can know of my existence
  • under no circumstance(s) can he know of my existence


Under no circumstances have I met this rule before ;) Thank you Davu

P.S. A good article about different types of inversion in English: http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/inversion.html


Agreed. I'm not even sure "under no circumstance he can know of my existence" is correct English. I reported it.


Thank you! I did too, but I wanted to be sure. I hope they will take the suggestion into consideration (and remove the incorrect one).


I did the same, vivi. Reported +1


You are absolutely right. Their sentence is wrong and should be reported.


You're right, that is incorrect English. Better yet it should be "under no circumstances may he know about/of my existence." I've reported it.


At the moment (20 Aug 2013) duo is offering 2 alternative English translations "In any case, he can know of my existence." and "He cannot know of my existence under any circumstance." Having read the above comments, I think the 2nd translation is OK, though not elegant, but the 1st is just wrong. It is a literal word for word translation which I think conveys an entirely incorrect meaning.


Completely agree -- you cannot teach a language and tell your students a sentence can either mean something or else quite the opposite...


Another one with a really awkward translation.


So confused. Where is the word 'não'...

Maybe I'm just tired...


It's not there; See Davu's expalantion at the top of this comments page!

  • alguma coisa = something
  • coisa alguma = nothing
  • Em circunstância alguma = under no circumstances (in no circumstance)
  • Em alguma circunstância = under some circumstances
  • Em qualquer circunstância = under any circumstances



That's so odd to me (native English speaker). I would have looked for "nenhuma", too. You learn something every day...


Think of it like "aucun" in French?


Only when it's after the noun.

When before, it will not negate.


Isn't "In SOME circumstances he can know of my existence" correct? Wouldn't you want to replace "alguma" with "qualquer" if you wanted to express the idea that this person can know of my existence? And, even if you write "any", then that implies that there does not exist a time such that he does not know of my existence. So, the verb "pode" seems inappropriate. So, wouldn't "Em qualquer circunstância ele sabe da minha existência." be a better Portuguese sentence?


See Davu's comment above, it's perfectly right.

To have the meaning you propose, you would write "Em algumas circunstâncias" (plural algumas before the noun)

  • Em circunstância alguma ele pode = he never can / he cannot under any circumstances
  • Em algumas circunstâncias ele pode = in some circumstances he can
  • Em qualquer circunstância/quaisquer circunstâncias ele pode = he always can, he can in any circumstances.


what about 'em nenhuma circunstancia..'. Would it be correct?


Google translates this as "In no circumstance can he know of my existence" which is a much more likely sentence in English. So is this a strange translation?


Google's translation seem really better. Duo's translation to English is "blindly" literal, and so, confused. The meaning of the sentence is some like "He can not know about my existence", in the sense that is bad for the subject that "he" knows his/her existence.


"under no circumstances can he know of my existence" now accepted. Failed unit first time, really appreciated discussion, enough stuck for 3 mins to remember above :-)


Davu - this is a really helpful comment. Thank you - just the sort of thing I wanted to learn using this programme.


So "alguma" is the negator?


Yes, in combination with its positioning after the noun it is qualifying.


So how would you say the opposite in Portuguese?

Under no circumstances can he know about my existence = Em circunstância alguma ele pode saber da minha existência

Under ANY circumstances HE CAN know about my existence = ___?


= em qualquer circunstância ele pode saber de minha existência.


I read "alguma" circunstância not "nenhuma" ...how does it mean "No circumstances"?? :o


If "algum/alguma" is placed after the noun, it means "no".


Oh wow, I'd definitely never guess it! :• Thanks a lot! Well, looks like i misunderstood many sentences using this tricky thing...


Yeah, thank you too! But just to be sure, "jeito algum" should mean "no way".. do i make it "some way" if i say "algum jeito"? If not, then how? :/


Exactly. Algum jeito. :-)


Ah, thank you!^^ And.. is there a difference between saying "jeito algum" and "jeito nenhum" or they're like synonyms?


With the disclaimer that I'm not a native speaker, I've always read that when algum is placed after the noun, the construction is semantically equivalent to using nenhum.


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