Только подумай! Возможно, пока мы разговариваем, британские солдаты проникают в город, а мы даже не догадываемся.

I wonder if this is a commonly used expression to convey the idea of "(Something could be happening), and we'd be none the wiser"?

The thing is that this Russian expression does not use the conditional mood for one thing, so I'm not sure if it serves as an equivalent. If it doesn't, how do Russian speakers commonly express this idea?

2 Answers 2


I don't think "none the wiser" fits here. Here're its translations into Russian, and neither it does as per its definition in English - English dictionaries.

It rather means to not know, understand or find out after the fact, not as something is happening.

The Russian phrase in question means "and we have no idea whatsoever / are totally oblivious". Its synonym would be an idiom "a мы ни сном, ни духом" or a relatively more straightforward phrase "a мы даже не знаем/не в курсе/понятия не имеем"

Maybe it would fit if the sentence were conditional

Если бы сейчас, пока мы разговариваем, в город проникли британские солдаты, мы остались бы в полном неведении / бы ничего (даже) не узнали / бы ни о чём (даже) не догадались.


Your way of saying it doesn't work with the conditional mood, instead it implies conditionality using the Только подумай/Imagine form. It would be the same in English:

Imagine, while we are talking here, British troops are ... and we haven't even got a clue.

In English, if you want to use the conditional "and we'd be none the wiser," you wouldn't use the imagine form, you'd instead make it conditional, something like

British troops could be infiltrating the city as we speak and we'd be none the wiser.

It would work in a similar fashion in Russian.

Британские солдаты могли бы/могут проникать в город пока мы тут разговариваем, а мы бы даже и не догадывались/понятия не имели/ничего об этом не знали/нам бы это и в голову не пришло.

Something like that.

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