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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

45 Comments


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

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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonathan.j5

Excellent factoid, well done sir.


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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).


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

I did the same, vivi. Reported +1


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pagina85

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.


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alf-Sawman

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


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

Another one with a really awkward translation.


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

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?


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

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.

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

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?


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

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.


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

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

Maybe I'm just tired...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alf-Sawman

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

:-)


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

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


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

Think of it like "aucun" in French?


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

Only when it's after the noun.

When before, it will not negate.


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

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


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

"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 :-)


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

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


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

So "alguma" is the negator?


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

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


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

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 = ___?


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

= em qualquer circunstância ele pode saber de minha existência.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoMind1720

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoMind1720

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoMind1720

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? :/


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

Exactly. Algum jeito. :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoMind1720

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


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

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.

https://ciberduvidas.iscte-iul.pt/consultorio/perguntas/nenhumalgum/3415

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