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Почему ты так спокоен, ведь твой друг в опасности?

The usage of "ведь" in this specific instance pulled me up short because in my mind the second clause seems like an affirmative statement:

Почему ты так спокоен? Ведь твой друг в опасности. [After all / Because]

In English, this is where you'd say "How can you be so calm, knowing your friend ... ?" or "How can you be so calm, even though your friend ... ?"

Is the first phrasing how native speakers commonly express this idea?

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  • In fact, "ведь" (or "вѣдѣ", cf. Latin "vīdī") is an ancient form related to "видеть/ведать" (to see/to know), so it's a very close analogue to "Seeing/knowing..."
    – Matt
    Jan 14 '19 at 9:17
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Ведь is very closed to учитывая тот факт, что - and can be treated as a succinct way to say the latter. And "учитывая тот факт, что" has a correspondence in English - "regarding the fact that", so don't trust Google Translate (or any other dictionary) which translates "ведь" as "because".

So as a rule of a thumb - whenever you can use "regarding the fact that" you most probably ok with ведь.

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  • Every dictionary mentions (because). Я её не помню. Ведь мне было всего два года, когда она умерла. I don't remember her, because I was only two when she died.
    – VCH250
    Jan 15 '19 at 17:36
  • @VCH250 - there's no contradiction between your comment and my statement - I really hope you won't find my answer unfriendly or agressive.
    – shabunc
    Jan 15 '19 at 17:37
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In this example ведь means something like 'while you (we both) know that...' or 'despite the fact that...':

Why do you stay so calm while you know that your friend is in danger?

Ведь is related to ведать (знать).

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There are some phrases in Russian that could be explained if we added the lacking words there.

Let's complete the phrase.

Я не понимаю, почему ты так спокоен. Ведь твой друг в опасности.

And ведь here relates to "я не понимаю, почему", but not to "ты так спокоен".

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  • why почему alone isn't enough? Dec 29 '18 at 15:26
  • 1
    Maybe, maybe. But it is not explicit, as we see from the question.
    – Elena
    Dec 29 '18 at 15:31
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Is the first phrasing how native speakers commonly express this idea?

Yes, the first phrasing is very Russian, but the punctuation is wrong. The reason is exactly the same as the one mentioned by you - the second clause is an affirmative statement, so it is weird to put a question mark after it. I would write as follows, ''Почему ты так спокоен? Ведь твой друг в опасности!''

Here, ''ведь'' plays an important role. It signals that the second clause is the reason for asking the question. This word connects two clauses, making the text cohesive.

Overall, the word ''ведь'' is pretty equivalent to the English phrase ''you know,'' which is often used even when the conversation partner actually does not know. There is even an etymological connection: ''ведь'' is etymologically related to ''видел'' (''I/you saw'') and ''ведать" ("to know").

So the phrasing conveys the same idea and emotions as, ''Why are you so calm? You know, your friend is in danger!''

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