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I've seen the expression а разговоров-то было in memes and just encountered it in a Russian forum. I can't find it in dictionaries. In what context is it used and what does it imply?

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  • So according to the wonderful answers below, this is basically "much ado about nothing." Thank you all!
    – CocoPop
    Oct 18 at 16:18
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Basically, the phrase «разговоров-то было» is a shortened version of «разговоров-то было много» (compare «снегу-то навалило» or «народу-то пришло», both also imply «много»), and the conjunction «а» implies some contradiction to the previous text. The phrase is used when there were a lot of talk, buzz in anticipation of some upcoming event, but then the event itself turns out to be much less important or successful than anticipated.

Examples:

Компания X объявила о прекращении разработки продукта Y. А разговоров-то было!

Company X announced that it would stop developing product Y. And there had been so much talk about it! (so many people were looking forward to it, there were many discussions about it, etc.)

Сборная проиграла в первом же матче и вылетела с турнира. А разговоров-то было!

The team lost the very first game and left the tournament. And there had been so much buzz about it! (Obviously, a much better performance was expected and talked about).

Видишь, дело заняло всего пять минут. А разговоров-то было!

You see? That took all of five minutes. So all the griping was for nothing! (Parent to a child, or a similar context. Implies that the listener didn't want to do what was asked of them and spent a lot of time going on about how difficult a task it was, etc.)


One can think of many similar expressions:

Вроде и малоизвестная группа, а народу-то пришло!

The band is kind of obscure, but so many people turned out! (About a concert)

Зверь маленький, а ест-то!

The animal is small, but boy can it eat!

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  • Thank you for such a complete and intersting answer. I have one question: in your two wonderful examples, you say "and there was so much talk/buzz about it" which implies the talk came AFTER the fiasco. Did you mean "and there HAD BEEN so much talk", i.e. the talk came BEFORE the fiasco?
    – CocoPop
    Oct 18 at 12:59
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    Yes, sure, "had been" — before the event
    – Petr
    Oct 18 at 14:10
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    Thank you! By the way, but way of thanks, I edited your answer. Let me know if you have any questions.
    – CocoPop
    Oct 18 at 16:14
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This phrase usually describes somebody's disappointment at hightly anticipated events or things — specially when there had been a lot of buzz or advertising about it.

I found this example for you — I believe it's conspicuous, a vivid example. You expect something big, a waterfall, and all you get is a small trickle.

Водопад Плакун. «Читаешь про то, что он самый впечатляющий водопад на Среднем Урале, едешь смотреть, а там... «Ой, а разговоров-то было» - водопадик ручейкового типа»

https://www.chitaitext.ru/novosti/pyat-raskruchennykh-permskikh-mest-kotorye-mogut-razocharovat-turista/

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  • My pleasure — I always try to provide edits by way of thanks :)
    – CocoPop
    Oct 18 at 16:17

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