I am not sure what this means exactly. Can anyone help?

  • This is incorrect, it should be "при чём" not "причем".
    – Anixx
    Jul 10 '13 at 4:34
  • 5
    Why didn't you fix it then? Jul 10 '13 at 4:49
  • 1
    @v'-5o-1's73- while it is appreciated that other users help to improve your question, it nevertheless quite rude to answer this way. This is your question and you are the first person who is interested to make it sound clear, correct and precise.
    – shabunc
    Sep 16 '13 at 8:44
  • @shabunc, I dont care Sep 16 '13 at 14:17
  • @v'-5o-1's73-, it's up to you, but, once again, please be warned, being unfriendly to other users can harm you.
    – shabunc
    Sep 16 '13 at 15:11

It is a rhetorical question that can be translated quite accurately (although a bit wordier than the original) as "One might ask/wonder, what does it have to do with anything?".


As Bogdan correctly pointed out, a very accurate English translation of the phrase is

One might wonder what it has to do with it.


You'd think what's it got to do with it?

Note that while in Russian this sentence would normally be a question, in English it can be translated as both a question and a statement.

Individually, verb казаться means to seem, however when use with particle бы (as in казалось бы) it indicates that the following statement is unintuitive, totally unexpected, unnatural. However it actually is correct. Usually this following sentence (in Russian) is a question and it is further followed by an explanation of why this seemingly nonsensical statement is true, often starting with words оказывается (turns out) or на самом деле (actually) For example,

Казалось бы, при чем здесь это? Оказывается, эта доска еще вчера была частью моего забора.
One might wonder, what it has to do with it? Turns out this piece of wood only yesterday was part of my fence.

Казалось бы, зачем строить дом в середине леса? На самом деле, имеет полный смысл: чистый воздух, тишина и никакой суеты.
You'd think, why build a house in the middle of a forest? Actually, it makes total sense - clean air, quiet, and no fuss.


Same: it's something that seems to be unnecessary/unimportant but in reality is necessary/important.

Although this appears to be a question to someone, it is actually a question to oneself. Usually people in Russia don't answer this question.

Here is an example of its usage:

Вчера врезался в машину. Во всем оказалась виновата птица. Казалось бы, при чем здесь она? А это, на вид невинное животное, влетело в турбину моего самолета

Sorry for my bad English if I wrote something that is hard to understand.

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