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I recently got the following sentence from Duolingo: "хотя они все и великие писатели, вашa ученицa их не знает". Being a beginner, I'm confused by the 'и', which I'm interpreting as 'and' — clearly incorrectly. What role does the 'и' play here? If it's omitted (i.e. "хотя все и они великие писатели..."), how does the meaning change?

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    That's a strange phrase, are you sure you quote it correctly? "И хотя все они великие писатели..." or "хотя все они и великие писатели..." makes way more sense.
    – Petr
    Nov 12, 2021 at 18:31
  • @Petr: I copied the text incorrectly. The question has been edited to reflect the actual wording. Nov 12, 2021 at 18:33
  • Petr, absolutely nothing is a "strange" here. Just a colloquial intensification and variations. Nov 15, 2021 at 18:57
  • John Källén, it's absolutely right and so and so. Nov 15, 2021 at 18:58
  • It means "even though" , A translation: "Even though these are great writers, your pupil does not know them".
    – markvs
    Dec 4, 2021 at 18:26

4 Answers 4

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The sentence is incorrect and does not make sense as quoted. It probably was intended to be «хотя все они и великие писатели, вашa ученицa их не знает». In that case "и" emphasizes the conditional conjunction "хотя", something like: "Even though they are [obviously] famous writers, your student does not know them".

One might just as well say «хотя все они великие писатели...», omitting "и", but that would sound a bit "flat".

Also, though this may be subjective, the "и" seems to change the stress pattern of the sentence: «хотя все они великие писатели, вашa ученицa...» vs. «хотя все они и великие писатели, вашa ученицa...».

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  • My mistake; I'll correct the wording Nov 12, 2021 at 18:31
  • could you augment your answer with English translations to provide the contrast between the 'и'- and 'и'-less sentence? Nov 12, 2021 at 18:34
  • I attempted to indicate that by the optionality of "[obviously]".
    – mustaccio
    Nov 12, 2021 at 18:35
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It means "even though all of them are great writers, your student doesn't know them".

In Russian, и, among other things, means "even".

It can be used in this sense as a standalone word:

  • Я его и знать не хочу! Я буду мужа любить. // I don't even want to be anywhere near him (literally, "I don't even want to know him"). I will love my husband.
  • Я его и не видел с тех пор. // I haven't even seem him since.
  • Бойся данайцев и дары приносящих // Beware of Greeks, even bearing gifts

, but more often, it is used as a part the set phrases хотя и "even though" or даже и "even".

Хотя и can be split, which is something that you are seeing in your example.

Хотя should precede the subject or the subject phrase, and the и should precede the predicate.

In your case, все они is the subject phrase and великие писатели is the predicate phrase, so it should be хотя все они и великие писатели

Хотя can be used without и, sometimes for stylistic reasons: in sylleptic constructs (where some parts of the sentence are omitted to avoid repetition); when хотя and и would end up too far apart from each other; when the predicate phrase starts with a dependent word; and in many other cases.

Однажды родители привели своего сына к колдуну ― мальчик очень плохо учился, хотя был неглуп.

Here, you can also use хотя и был неглуп

Хотя Чуриков, сидя в президиуме напротив зала, упорно называл совещание "круглым столом", противоречие заключалось не только в меблировке.

Here, упорно modifies the verb называл, so it's a dependent word within the predicate phrase. Hence, и doesn't fit here. If we omitted the word упорно or moved out after называл, we could have added и before называл.

В целом врачи сработали оперативно, хотя элементы хаоса наблюдались и здесь.

Putting и before наблюдались would have resulted in duplication of и, which would be stylistically bad.

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    Хотя этот ответ и верен, I think the essence of the question was - what is the difference between "хотя" and "хотя и"?
    – Alexander
    Nov 12, 2021 at 22:19
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To put it simply, the difference is one of emphasis.

When "и" plays the part of a conjunction, it's translated as "and".

But here, it's a particle translated as "even" and it adds an additional stress to the fact stated after хотя.

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  • How does хоть и fit in here. Is it exactly the same as хотя и, or does it carry a different or additional nuance?
    – CocoPop
    Dec 4, 2021 at 14:43
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    Хоть и is a colloquial variant of neutral хотя и
    – V.V.
    Dec 4, 2021 at 16:47
  • Wow! And here I though it was more bookish. Thank you 🙏
    – CocoPop
    Dec 4, 2021 at 16:49
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Хотя is used in complex sentences. It means "even through", "despite this"

It can be replaced with "Несмотря на ..."

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