5

Я не собиралась говорить ей, и она ни за что бы не догадалась.

Я не собиралась говорить ей, и она нипочем бы не догадалась.

In my experience, I seem to come across "ни за что" ten times more often. How are they nuanced?

  • 1
    literal meaning of both is 'at no/any price', нипочём is folksy and of lower register, but more colorful – Баян Купи-ка Nov 27 '18 at 22:04
  • @БаянКупи-ка Is it wrong to see it as "нипочем = ни по причине"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 28 '18 at 0:26
  • Most people only use or understand нипочём as a part of the colloquial phrase "(ему) всё нипочём" with the meaning 'nothing can stop/upset him or be harmful for him'. Usage with other meanings (= ни за что, etc.) is for good reason marked by dictionaries as low register (просторечие). – Alex_ander Nov 28 '18 at 5:46
  • @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens yes it is, because it lacks that meaning, earlier you asked about по чём?, that's where this phrase stems from – Баян Купи-ка Nov 28 '18 at 11:52
3

"нипочем" - in this case I would translate it as "no way" (no way guessed) - in contrary to "ни за что" (in this case I would translate it as "never") is most often used by villagers or in folk tales.
I would recommend in most cases to use "ни за что" in such contexts.

1

"Нипочём" (is the meaning of "never") is more colloquial than "ни за что". The latter can be used in any situation, while the former - only in informal speech (or literature stressing the informality);

Also note that "нипочём" has multiple meanings.

1

"Нипочём," apart from being equivalent to "ни за что," actually also has at least two well-known meanings that can never be substituted by "ни за что." Apart from that of "no way" already mentioned in @IvanOlshansky's answer, it can also mean being unharmed, as in "ему все горести нипочём."

I also want to stress that while "нипочём" indeed means "no way," you shouldn't think of it as an exact equivalent. You can use "no way" as a separate phrase in English. You cannot use "нипочём" as a stand-alone, self-sufficient word. This holds true in the case of "ни за что" / "нипочём" as well.

Compare two examples:

  1. "Давай целоваться!" - "Ни за что!"
  2. "Давай целоваться!" - "Нипочём!"

The first is perfectly valid, but the second does not make any sense at all. So as a substitute for "ни за что," you can only use it in conjunction with a "не" + verb construction.

-1

"ни за что" means "never". "нипочём" means "easy to do".

examples: "Я ни за что это не сделаю" - I will never do that. "Мне это нипочём" - I can easily do that.

sentence "Я не собиралась говорить ей, и она нипочем бы не догадалась" make no sence.

  • the last sentence makes perfect sense, "нипочём" as a synonym of "ни за что" is just very folksy and dated, it features plenty in literature and cinema of the recent past portraying rural and not very educated people, being included in the Wiktionary gives it enough reason to make sense – Баян Купи-ка Dec 1 '18 at 8:52

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