Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If- conditions

Discussing the ifs of life is always a sure bet for conversation. Who can't complete a sentence that begins with:

If I was the boss, I ....

The sentence brings up another point: what is correct - if I was or if I were? Now, even in most situations, both "was" and "were" can be used in the conditional clause.

Another thing that is useful to discuss is the use of "ever". Look at the sentence:

If ever I've got too much work to do,....

What is the purpose of "ever"? Just to give emphasis, usually. But we can interpret it as -

If ever = If by any chance = If it so happens that. But could it be also interpreted as "whenever"?

What about you? How would you complete the sentence?

If ever I have too much work to do, I ....

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How do you say "mais ou menos" in English anyway?

The expression "more or less" is very popular with Brazilians when they want to express the idea "mais ou menos". But is that how we say it in English? Are there situations when we use other expressions?

Running a googlefight on some of the expressions, here is what I came up with:

so-so: 562000000 results X more or less: 146000000 results

kind of: 86500000 results X more or less: 152000000 results

not really: 155000000 results X more or less: 152000000 results

Doesn't help much? Well, we'll have to find examples to make things clearer.