I was doing a Clozemaster exercise and it asked to translate "I love reading" to Russian. I thought of putting Люблю читать but the correct answer that the exercise wanted was Обожаю читать. What's the difference between those two verbs?
Virtually you cannot "feel" the difference through the textbooks. In real life you would undoubtedly recognize the difference between the two.
"Я люблю читать" could be found in written form more often or in neutral intonation.
"Я обожаю читать" is more spoken version in my opinion, where the person is making an accent on that (e.g. to differentiate between multiple given hobbies or whatever you had in your exercise). While speaking that phrase it would be normal to get a "mini-surge" with emotions, raising the voice, adding hand gestures and kind of "re-living" the positive effects of "reading". In a smaller form it could actually resemble the "praying for/thanking the icon of READING": "I luuuuaaaaaaave reading so much!" = "Я просто обожаааааааю читать!".
So in my opinion it's not that "you cannot live without reading" but "reading makes you so immensely happy and you have a deep satisfaction and positive emotional experience from/by reading."
Люблю читать is 'I like reading' while your task was to translate 'I love reading'. 'To love' is neutral любить when referring to relationships between people, but when it refers to things or activities, 'to love' is no way neutral, it shows a stronger affection, which is обожать in Russian.
Russian любить has two main meanings:
- 'to love' when it refers to love between people: Я тебя люблю! 'I love you!'
- 'to like' when it refers to abstract notions, things, or activities: Я люблю зиму. 'I like winter.' In this meaning it is synonymous to мне нравится: Я люблю зиму. = Мне нравится зима.
From the other end of it, the English 'to like' is either любить or нравиться in Russian, usually at your own choice, but 'to like' is only нравиться when talking about people which excludes any sexual or matrimonial sides of it.
'To love' is любить when talking about your couple or the people you love, like boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, mother/father, son/daughter, etc. But when 'to love' refers to abstract notions, things, or activities, it means a degree of affection stronger than 'to like', that is why in Russian you also need a verb for affection stronger than любить or нравиться. Обожать ('to adore', literary 'to deify') is just the verb you need in such a case.
The root of the verb обожать (о-бож-а-ть) is -бож- which is a variant of the root morpheme бог 'god', nevertheless обожать doesn't have any religious connotations in the Modern Russian, use it freely whenever you love something which is not a person. You can also say обожать about people, in this case it means 'to adore, to love very much'.
I think that it's a three layered thing in Russian:
- мне нравится читать
- я люблю читать
- я обожаю читать
Just like @V.V. also do believe that "я обожаю" is too strong here. After all, we'll end up with translating any phrase like "I love cooking" with "обожаю" which is, well, too much. "I just love reading" would be closer to "обожаю читать"
So, OK, if we still want to go with something stronger than "люблю" but yet not as passionate as "обожаю", let's just say "я очень люблю читать". In my opinion this is the closest one.
I have given this quite a bit of thought myself over the years.
Agree with the translation "to adore" for обожать - absolutely correct.
However, I think that we native English speakers don't really say "adore" much any more. It's quite a literary word these days and can almost come across as a bit pretentious if used in the wrong context. If a friend said to me "I adore visiting new countries to learn about new cultures" it would sound a bit weird. Whereas this would be a valid use of обожать.
Using обожать in day-to-day Russian chat is still quite common, albeit a lot rarer than either нравиться or любить.
One way I used to think about обожать was that it's sort of between нравиться and любить and gives a bit more emphasis than just любить or нравиться which can be quite colloquially used.
As with all things, best way to figure out is to start throwing it into conversations.
If we take that "book" example, there is some emotional difference.
"Я обожаю читать": "Omg, reading!!! I would do that all day long!" "Я люблю читать": "I would read my favorite book if I have some free time".
If we take that "I love you" example, there is some emotional difference, too.
"Я обожаю тебя": "I love you so much! If I had a choice between Earth and you, I would choose you" "Я люблю тебя": "I love you".
P.S. "люблю"="I love", "обожаю"="I adore". Nothing more.
"Я обожаю" have an exact analogue in English language which is "I adore". We use "обожаю" in the same context as an English native speaker would say "adore".
@YellowSky's answer about difference between "like" and "love" is valid, but to correctly translate "love" to "обожаю" that "love" should have been boldfaced or italicised in the original text.
Обожаю is a very strong verb which depicts an extreme affection, not normal and not common like an overused "love".
"любить" = "to love"
"обожать" = "to deify"
They have exactly same meaning in Russian, but emotional context in practical speaking is different: when used in regards to people "обожать" diminishes produced emotions, when used in regards to anything else it raises more emotions.
If you like someone very much never say "люблю" or you will freak the person out right away, say "обожаю" and the person well know your feelings but without the sacred/scary connotation of "I love you/him/her".
When you talk about anything else, use "обожаю" to make the talk emotional, the word is meant to produce excitement and should be said in excited tone. You cannot use this word in a sentence that you prononouce fully formally or while reasoning, this word must be emotionally emphasised, either louder or softer than normal, slower or faster than normal. This property makes this word very close to exclamation words like "Ah", "Oh", "Doh", "Damn" etc.
I would argue that outside of the romantic sense,
люблю should be translated as
like. Although Russian has the term
нравится, it's passive voice and has a similar intensity to
люблю, and it's used less often outside of the romantic sense.
In terms of intensity of feeling,
I like reading is similar to
Я люблю читать, it's a neutral expression of enjoyment.
I like to walk when it's sunny >
Я люблю ходить пешком когда светит солнце.
Обожаю is either equal to or stronger in intensity than the English
love, and can probably used as a translation for love to contrast it with like.
To get the intensity just right I would say it's something like:
I love reading.>
Я очень люблю читать;
I love reading!>
Я обожаю читать
"обожаю" is more expressive, emotionally and fanatically, it's cognate with "обожествляю" - to iconize, sacralise, make god from smb,smt.
"люблю"(to love) is more calm.
Of course, both these words can be actually subjected inflation:> Can mean less what they should mean, but be only exaggerations.