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English to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Journalistic Article
English term or phrase:seldom vs rarely
I wonder if I have phrased this idea badly. I am translating from Romanian which compares the terms "seldom" and "rarely" in the same construction. My own translation reads:
“…I can honestly say that until today I have seldom, even rarely, had the chance to meet an orchestra leader who would leave such a lasting(or great) impression on me."
Most reference information states that "rarely" and "seldom" are at the same level in meaning, they are just used at different times. I was considering changing "seldom" to "not very often" but I am not sure if this would show enough difference here, and "not very often" is showing up as an incorrect phrase in the MSWord grammar check. Is there are a better way of expressing this term if I have to use "seldom" and "rarely" as a comparison?
I agree with Andrew Mason's version. It is the most grammatically correct option, because for instance 'seldom, almost never' will throw you in the same difficulty with the negation. The 'if' conditional solves this problem, and you can despense with 'rarely' as it becomes/is redundant. 'Seldom, if ever' describes prefectly well your idea.
"Seldom, even rarely" sounds a bit ridiculous, since the two words are more or less synonymous, as has been said. Clearly "rarely" here means even less often than seldom. I think Andrew's suggestion is good. Another that occurs to me is "seldom, indeed hardly ever", with "indeed" serving the function of "ever", but I actually prefer Andrew's "seldom, if ever". And pay no attention to Word's grammar check: it is impertinent, crude and undiscerning.
This is an interesting question. I agree that "seldom" and "rarely" are pretty much the same. This makes it all the more difficult with the insertion of "even" which suggests some degree of contrast. It throws a spanner in the works if you *must* use both terms. Offhand, I might say "...I have seldom, almost never, had the chance..."
Automatic update in 00:
7 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +13
seldom, if ever,
Explanation: You could try this, but it will depend on what you have in the source text, but it would fit with your translation.
Andrew Mason France Local time: 10:38 Works in field Native speaker of: English PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: Sounds great, would fit with translation. Thank you.