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"Det finns bara ett alternativ."

Translation:There is only one alternative.

January 25, 2015

21 Comments


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

The translations for alternativ offer both Option and Alternative. Is this sentence saying there is only one choice, or that there is only one other choice?


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

In real terms, it could mean there are two ways to do something, or in double-speak it could mean there is only ONE way to do something, which, in turn, means that it is NOT an alternative. More context is needed to know what is implied.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/prok05

Why would "There is only an alternative" be wrong instead of "There is only one alternative"?


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

I think it's not a very good sentence since only implies that you want to stress that there are few alternatives, and then you'd say one.


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

what would that sentence mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/prok05

The same thing. I am not a native English/Swedish speaker though, this is why I am asking.


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

alright. as a native english speaker, i'll try to explain what sounds weird to me about "there is only an alternative".

"there is only an alternative" means, to me, that "an alternative" is the only thing that exists in this situation. and the word "alternative", by definition, cannot be the only thing (otherwise it wouldn't be an alternative to anything!).

"there is only one alternative", on the other hand, focuses on the number (one) and indicates that there is one alternative, as opposed to many--a perfectly reasonable concept.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobi32

Isn't the sentence semantically incorrect then? I know in french the very notion of alternative implies there are at least two of them, mostly due to the latin etymology of the name (alter- meaning other).

Then there could be only one choice, not alternative.


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

I think that's why "there is only an alternative" sounds wrong because alternative implies more than one, but "an" and "only" implies just one. Whereas "there is only one alternative" suggests a situation where there were 2 or more options but someone has rejected all but 1 option and the other person says "there is only one alternative [to the option(s) you have rejected]"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobi32

Ok I get it now, thanks :)


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

Would "There only is one alternative" be a valid translation too?


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

This is the stated answer above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David181923

I put "Det finns bara ett alternativ" and was marked wrong. This has happened before in another exercise.


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

It's a sneaky bug that seems to appear totally randomly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David181923

That would explain it! Tack!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wxfrog
  • 1641

Isn't "det finns" supposed to mean "there are"?


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

It sort of means 'there exists', and can be applied to to singular or plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TopRival75

Funny that Swedish puts emphasis on two distinct syllables: AHL-ter-na-TEEV. Whereas in English, even the longest words only emphasize one syllable.


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

Not really. Most 4-plus syllable words have a secondary stress in English (and in many other languages), and very often these words actually have distinct elements. E.g. 'intercon'nection, 'reaffir'mation, 'under'estimate...


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

This whole issue is mainly a British one, in American English it's perfectly acceptable. What's interesting to me is that, according to DL, Swedes use the word the way Americans do.

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