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    #1

    almost a cave

    It's a chapel but it's almost a cave.


    "almost a cave", does it mean "almost like a cave"?
    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: almost a cave

    No native speaker has replied so I'll tell you what I think. I think you're right, both mean the same, at least in this context. "Almost something" means very similar to something.

  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: almost a cave

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

    We're almost there. Are we there? No, we are not.
    It's almost done. Is it done? No, it is not done.
    It's almost a cave. Is it a cave? No, it is not. It is a chapel.

    So, in all of my examples above, what matters is closeness.

    It is like a dream. Is it a dream? No, it isn't.
    They are like bandits. Are they bandits? No, they are not.

    So, this time, in these examples, what matters is similarity.

    Hence, all I can say is that, it is almost a cave.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: almost a cave

    I assume it's very dark.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: almost a cave

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I assume it's very dark.
    The first time I read it, I thought of a very old chapel carved out of rocks. It makes more sense this way.

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    #6

    Re: almost a cave

    I agree. But it could be a normal, stone building without a lot of light.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: almost a cave

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    ***Neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

    We're almost there. Are we there? No, we are not.
    It's almost done. Is it done? No, it is not done.
    It's almost a cave. Is it a cave? No, it is not. It is a chapel.

    So, in all of my examples above, what matters is closeness.

    It is like a dream. Is it a dream? No, it isn't.
    They are like bandits. Are they bandits? No, they are not.

    So, this time, in these examples, what matters is similarity.

    Hence, all I can say is that, it is almost a cave.
    I thought some time before posting about this very distinction. I think closeness and similarity are the same thing in this context. But of course, I'm not saying other interpretations are impossible. Do you mean that "almost like a cave" is incorrect in all context or that it's incorrect in this particular one?
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 03-Nov-2010 at 08:27.

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    #8

    Re: almost a cave

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I agree. But it could be a normal, stone building without a lot of light.
    It could, in addition to those mentioned things, lack ornaments - be raw.

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    #9

    Re: almost a cave

    If you say to a native speaker "It has a cave-like atmosphere," the native speaker will think it is very dark without windows or without much light coming from the windows. We may also think you mean small, or at least with a low ceiling. It will not be light and airy. Adornment is not the point - it may be too dark to see any decoration anyway.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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