Why? Does it have only seven legs? Has it not yet hatched? I struggle to imagine a context.
In Swedish, it's called en lockespindel.
– knappast in this sentence means 'hardly' as in 'it is unlikely that it is a spider'. So I could be claiming that some dark spot on the wall is an insect and you'd disagree with me. You're just saying that you don't think Object X is a spider.
The English rendering leaves something to be desired for a native speaker.
In the sentence given, hardly is read as synonymous with barely, turning the sentence into something akin to It only just qualifies as a spider.
Much more natural in English is I don't think/believe that's a spider or the more emphatic There's no way that's a spider.
I had understood it the wrong way too ahah, even though English is not my native tongue.
For those of you who speak Italian, I think that "Difficilmente è un ragno" is an accurate translation in this case. The English translation made me think of "è quasi un ragno", which is not the actual meaning of the Swedish sentence!
Is it of any help for someone? :)
'hooiwagen' in dutch (haywagon), I like the names for these things! (my dad used to call them 'play spiders' so we wouldn't be scared :P)
I think the problem with "barely" is that it is a synonym of "hardly" when that means "only just/almost not" (e.g. "She was hardly/barely able to speak") but not when "hardly" means "probably/definitely not" (e.g. "That's hardly surprising"). In this sentence "knappast" means "hardly" in the second sense, so that's why "barely" isn't accepted.
what about 'barely' as well? It seems to me like a pretty exact synonym for 'hardly' in this context.
Hardly is often used as a euphemism for "clearly not." Like "I am hardly an expert on this, but..." Barely is used literally. "That is hardly a spider!" Can be used in a debate when you and another person. "What is that insect there? A spider?" "I am not sure but it is hardly a spider, it has wings and feathers!" "Barely a spider" would be used for a very very small spider I guess but just sounds strange to me. However, I have no idea if the above applies to the Swedish word too.
Knappt normally means "a little less than": Han väger knappt 80 kg.
Knappast means "almost not": Jag kunde knappast ta mig över den hårt trafikerade vägen.
Knappt works here as well: Jag kunde knappt ta mig över den hårt trafikerade vägen.
(I could hardly cross the busy road.)
Ah okay, so the opposite of drygt then!
I thought I had seen cases where knappt was used in place of knappast but I must have been mistaken.
Exactly, "knappt" is normally the opposite of "drygt" :).
But "knappt" can also be used instead of "knappast" (see my examples above).
I just realized that "knappast" actually can be used in my first sentence, but then with a different meaning:
Han väger knappt 80 kg - He weighs a bit less than 80 kg but
Han väger knappast 80 kg - He almost surely doesn't weigh 80 kg
"That's definitely not a spider!" is a correct answer, but, it was not accepted.
Even though "definitely not" isn't a direct translation of "knappast," it can still be used as an equivalent of it in this kind of situation. Take, for example, a situation where person A asks person B if they want a cookie, and they respond with, "knappast". That would be a way to say no said question.
It would still mean "hardly". Please bear in mind that this is a language course for beginners. We're not trying to teach finer nuances between specific phrases. You obviously speak native Swedish, so you can afford the luxury of considering such equalities, but most people here cannot - it would be detrimental to their learning experience.
I see, I was not aware of the limited extent of the course. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused as of this. You are welcome to ignore my recent comments on the site. I will stick to commenting on more basic mistakes/gaps in the future. Although, my foremost language is English, and my Swedish is definitely more of a riddle, especially when it comes to my vocabulary being more old-school because of this (I am also only fifteen, so that further forwards my sake of you ignoring my, in this situation, clueless rambling.
No need to apologise. I'm grateful for the input, whether I agree with it or not. :)
So the -ast ending its not coming from the superlative ending right? it s just a coincidence?
Quite the contrary, actually - it does originally come from the superlative knappast, from the adjective knapp. The adjective means "scarce", so the superlative was "scarcely", so to speak. :)