si bien......

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Si bien sé cocinar muy bien, reconozco que me salió mal esta comida.

Si bien es grueso, no es obeso

I cannot think of a good translation for si bien.

i would think of :

Even though he is fat, he is not obese.

Hmmm, any suggestions'

4073 views
updated SEP 10, 2011
posted by 00494d19

17 Answers

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I'm just a math teacher who likes studying a subject where the rules aren't so well defined. Great explanation, samdie!!

updated NOV 22, 2008
posted by Natasha
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duy said:

oh, yeah, that was a typo, but Natasha, to me using "may be" does not seem to be as assertive as "even though".

"may be......but" and "even though " may be equivalent, but I think "even though" is stronger.
It's not so much that "may" is less assertive but that in concessive constructions (which is what these are called) it's somewhat ambiguous. "I may be ... but" can be equivalent to "Despite my being ..." (strong assertion) or to "I may or may not be ... but" (mere possibility). In spoken English, we would express the latter by putting stress/emphasis on the word "may". However (to use Heidie's example) with "I may be a good cook but ..." the stress would come on the word "cook" (i.e. in the assertive usage).

Note also that there's a difference in the probability of assertive/possible depending on the subject of the sentence. It's fairly unlikely that I don't know whether or not I'm a good cook but, if the sentence were "He may be ... but" there's more room for thinking that this expresses simple possibility. Because there is some ambiguity, it might be better to avoid this construction in writing (in favor of some other way of expressing the concessive) but in speaking, the placement of the stress is a pretty reliable indicator.

updated NOV 22, 2008
posted by samdie
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oh, yeah, that was a typo, but Natasha, to me using "may be" does not seem to be as assertive as "even though".

"may be......but" and "even though " may be equivalent, but I think "even though" is stronger. I might be wrong, cuz I am just a computer engineer who spends time reading and writing codes instead of books hehe

Natasha said:

duy, "may be" here is two words. "May be . . . but" is a construction which seems to match Heidita's intent very well.

I may be a good cook, but this meal didn't turn out well. -- the speaker is expressing an exception to the rule, so to speak.

Even though I'm a good cook, this meal didn't turn out well. -- sounds like something outside of the speaker's control happened; maybe the oven malfunctioned or the ingredients weren't fresh.

(The second version is possible in Heidita's context, but the first one sounds better.)

Another example:

I may have to pay extra for the new license-plate design, but I'm not going to do it with a smile on my face! (I'm not doubting that I'll have to pay; the law's already been passed. The sentence just expresses a contrast.)

duy said:

"even though" and "maybe" have different implicationsI maybe a good cook....you're not sure if you're a good cook yet (we tend to use....just being modest...)Even though I am a good cook.....you're pretty sure you cook very wellor Though I am a good cook .........I don't understand it well enough to pick which one for you smileso it depends on what you would like to sayHeidita, por cierto, tu cocinas bien? necesito que me ayudes aprender recetas desde España... I don't think I cook that bad, maybe you can exchange our recipes smile

>

updated NOV 22, 2008
posted by duy
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duy, "may be" here is two words. "May be . . . but" is a construction which seems to match Heidita's intent very well.

I may be a good cook, but this meal didn't turn out well. -- the speaker is expressing an exception to the rule, so to speak.
Even though I'm a good cook, this meal didn't turn out well. -- sounds like something outside of the speaker's control happened; maybe the oven malfunctioned or the ingredients weren't fresh.

(The second version is possible in Heidita's context, but the first one sounds better.)

Another example:

I may have to pay extra for the new license-plate design, but I'm not going to do it with a smile on my face! (I'm not doubting that I'll have to pay; the law's already been passed. The sentence just expresses a contrast.)

duy said:

"even though" and "maybe" have different implicationsI maybe a good cook....you're not sure if you're a good cook yet (we tend to use....just being modest...)Even though I am a good cook.....you're pretty sure you cook very wellor Though I am a good cook .........I don't understand it well enough to pick which one for you smileso it depends on what you would like to sayHeidita, por cierto, tu cocinas bien? necesito que me ayudes aprender recetas desde España... I don't think I cook that bad, maybe you can exchange our recipes smile

>

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
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"even though" and "maybe" have different implications

I maybe a good cook....you're not sure if you're a good cook yet (we tend to use....just being modest...)
Even though I am a good cook.....you're pretty sure you cook very well
or Though I am a good cook .........

I don't understand it well enough to pick which one for you smile
so it depends on what you would like to say

Heidita, por cierto, tu cocinas bien? necesito que me ayudes aprender recetas desde España... I don't think I cook that bad, maybe you can exchange our recipes smile

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by duy
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I'm glad you've set that right. grin

James Santiago said:

OK, now I see what you meant, Natasha. And I can't believe I wrote "didn't set quite right with me." Should have been "sit."

>

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
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OK, now I see what you meant, Natasha.

And I can't believe I wrote "didn't set quite right with me." Should have been "sit."

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Interesting though that we have to use but here, which in Spanish is not adequate.

Although their tracks could be made out near the start of the trail,

Oh, I am just seeing this, I used even though in that sentence.
I like may , though. had not occured to me.

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00494d19
0
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James said:

:

Natasha, I don't see where the combination is there. That is, I see "while," but where is "may"?

:

Borrowing from your translation . . .

While at first their tracks could be made out [easily], farther along it was impossible to see anything.

While at first we had a good time, as the evening went on we grew tired of the party.

While at first Bush was a popular President, later his approval ratings plummeted.

While at first their relationship seemed solid, after so many arguments it began to crumble.

I'm not criticizing your translations in any way, just pointing out that "while at first" is a very common expression for this sort of scenario.

>

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Natasha, I don't see where the combination is there. That is, I see "while," but where is "may"?

And while I'm posting, let me give a refined version of my translation, which didn't set quite right with me.

"While their tracks could be made out near the start of the trail, farther along it was impossible to see anything."

We could also say these:

"Their tracks may have been discernible near the start of the trail, but farther along it was impossible to see anything."
"Although their tracks could be made out near the start of the trail, farther along it was impossible to see anything."

There's really not much difference between the three versions, in my opinion.

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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A lot of people would use yours & James' together, like this:

While at first the tracks . . .

Heidita said:

Oh, i would never have thought of that. Thanks. smile

>

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by Natasha
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Oh, i would never have thought of that. Thanks. smile

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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In this particular case, I think "while" works better.

While their tracks could be made out early on, once they moved farther on it was impossible to see anything.

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Hmmm, even though on further thought, what about in past tense?

Si bien se distinguían sus huellas al principio del trayecto, en cuanto se avanzaba ya no era posible ver nada.

The tracks/prints may have been distinguishable at first..but then...

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by 00494d19
0
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A funny one: I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid. (logically contradictory, but people say it when they've made a mistake)

updated NOV 21, 2008
posted by Natasha