"He does not sing very well."

Translation:Han sjunger inte särskilt bra.

December 28, 2014

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Mouse-over translation for "very well" says mycket väl

DL marks Han sjunger inte mycket väl wrong.

I am confused.


I'm having a very hard time with this sentence, particularly translating it from English back to Swedish. Can somebody wiser than myself break it down the different options for "not... very well" for me? I've tried inte mycket väl and inte särskilt väl, and been wrong on both, but I can't figure out what the problem is.


Hints are just hints, they work in some contexts but not in others. mycket väl translates 'very well' in a sentence like 'I know that very well', but not in this one. In fact there's a hint on not very well which should show you inte särskilt bra, but the hints are pretty buggy so it might not show up.

The first problem is that we don't use väl as an adverb to describe how someone sings. The positive version of this sentence would be Han sjunger väldigt/mycket bra 'He sings very well'. The use of väl is much more restricted than how you use well in English – well pretty much works for everything, but väl in Swedish only works for a small set of things. Perhaps we can describe them as things that are done 'carefully' or 'thoroughly', 'exhaustively' or something. It's a bit hard to give good rules for when you can use väl to mean 'well', but in most cases you can't, so it's probably better to learn the expressions where you can on a case by case basis.

Secondly, for adverbs of degree like väldigt or mycket, when they're used to strengthen another adverb or an adjective, we replace them with särskilt when negating them. Literally this is like saying not especially in English. Han sjunger inte särskilt bra. This is just one of those idiomatic things.


Interesting and valuable information to have. Many thanks!


So 'Han sjunger inte väldigt bra' is wrong because of he cannot do it? Which makes the sentence 'Han sjunger väldigt bra' correct?


Why can verkligen not be used in the place of särskilt?


When negating adverbs of degree such as mycket or väldigt (when they're used to strengthen another adverb or an adjective), we replace them with inte särskilt. This literally means not especially in English. verkligen does not mean the same as särskilt and it is not used in this function.

A more formalistic approach to this could be saying that you can't use verkligen after inte. You can use them in the other order: Han sjunger verkligen inte bra would mean 'He really doesn't sing well'. (You can also use it in sentences like Säg det inte om du inte verkligen menar det 'Don't say it if you don't really mean it', but that doesn't mean not very either).

Hope this helps, it's a bit hard to explain.


Why not put for the sentence: "He does not sing especially well" so that people are not confused when they go to translate it? That is the literal translation, after all.


Han sjunger inte jättegott?


Is "jättegott" a correct Swedish translation for "very well"? I did not find this word in the online-dictionaries, but it is given among the hints. Can I use "jättebra" as a translation for "very well"?


I think jättebra translates to very good, it probably is understood if you write it but it might be like the english "good vs well."


Does this mean that he is a bad singer, or just so-so?


It means he’s a bad singer, in my opinion.


I'd say it can mean either, really. Depends on the self-image of the person described... :D


If he were so-so, I’d rather say ”Han sjunger inte så dåligt” or ”Han sjunger hyfsat” or something like that.


Based on the English translation, it does sound more negative. It's just that the literal translation of the Swedish (inte särskilt = not especially) sounds kind of hesitantly lukewarm? Haha. Thanks for the examples, I think I'll be careful using these phrases :)


I have heard that swedes say what they mean and mean what they say whereas americans tend to exaggerate or use more tact basically not at all saying what they really mean but rather using idiom and inference. That said, i would question whether this is the place to employ those cultural subtleties and would urge Duolingo to stick to literal translations so as not to confuse. I.e., say especially, not very.


Does "särskilt" really translate literally to "very"? I would think that the English clue would be "He doesn't sing especially well", which has a slightly different meaning.


why does the negative sometimes follow the adverb and sometimes the adverb follows the negative


It depends on the meaning. "I really don't want to" is also not the same as "I don't really want to".


Why not "inte" goes before "särskilt"? Is it always like that? Is there a rule or it depends on the adverb?


Why not "inte helt bra"?


Why is 'han sjunger inte mycket väl' wrong please?


Arnauti explained above why "mycket" doesn't work (in reply to Landwalker4).


So if something is särskildt bra it’s like it’s special good?


another translating site say it was OK


Han sjunger hellre än bra


Jättegut is wrong? Thats the first i see and it has to be bra?


Why not "väldigt bra"?


Arnauti explained above why mycket and väldigt don't work (in reply to Landwalker4).


I didn't see it, thanks!

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