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  5. "Het leven is hard, maar ik b…

"Het leven is hard, maar ik ben harder."

Translation:Life is hard, but I am harder.

July 29, 2014



In English, one might refer to "the life" to refer to a particular way of life: a profession, for example, or living in a particular place.

Does Dutch have such a meaning for "het leven" - such that this sentence could reasonably be translated "The life is hard, but I am harder"?


In Dutch, if there's suddenly a word with a definite article in front of it (de, het), lacking any other qualifiers or hints as to how it's meant, it usually means the most basic/important form of the concept. For 'the life is hard' to make sense, you'd need some kind of qualifier here: 'the wrestling life', 'the life of a smurf' or 'the life that I lead'.

If you want the sentence to make any kind of sense on its own, the previous sentence should refer to what kind of life is meant: 'I spend most of my time dressing up as a demonic easter to help parents punish their naughty children. The life is hard, but I am harder.'


The same thing is true in English, at least in this case.


The exact same thing is true in English, as Soglio also notes.


So, it's kind of like saying "this life is hard"


"the life is hard, but I am harder" sounds much more odd to me as a native English speaker. That said, it isn't grammatically incorrect, it's just that there is not particular kind of life present which could be the referent of "the life".


Also the English word here word surely be "tougher" not "harder".


So "i am a paramedic — the life is hard" is both grammatical and logical as you now have the answer to "the life — which life?"


That still sounds odd to me. Not incorrect (the original is not "incorrect" either), but odd.


Is this a typical Dutch saying? I first read it in a book by Floortje Zwigtman and a quick google search is inconclusive about the origin.


I don't think it's a typical Dutch thing (I didn't know it).


I've heard it a few times growing up, but it's mostly a thing said by the overconfident and the drunk (thinks sports fans), in my experience.


So is this sentence an inappropriate joke? I was gonna laugh but then I was like all "Oh wait that's actually kinda weird um" lol...


In this case 'hard' means more 'tough' than it does 'solid' or 'firm'.


Isn't that a quote from Rocky Balboa?


Anybody thinks the new Duolingo looks plain? Or it is just me? Not very good with changes.

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