2

In this sentence, I realize that there's a contrast being draw between the two outcomes of sucking up to the teacher, but

  1. Is this sentence possible without вот; and
  2. What does вот bring to the sentence semantically?

Если она будет подлизываться к учителю, её оценки от этого не улучшатся, а вот другие дети от неё отвернутся.

2
  • 1
    In this case this word makes the second reason (other kids will reject her) more significant than the first one (grades won't get better). Without it these two reasons would sound equally important.
    – ren
    May 29 '14 at 15:47
  • Short version: «а вот» means ‘but’ («но») here. May 30 '14 at 5:53
4

It brings more contrast to the sentence.

It is kinda possible without it, however the meaning will shift:

Если она будет подлизываться к учителю, её оценки от этого не улучшатся, а другие дети от неё отвернутся.

It immediately sounds like "her grades won't be any better, and other children will turn their backs on her". Grammatical, surely, but introduces the idea of similarity, that is, you are just listing the consequences of her actions. Why does it happen?

  • It happens because "а" doesn't only introduce contrast of things you talk about. It is more complicated than that: sometimes it intorduces the subjective narrative contrast: "you might have expected me to end the sentence — yet, I have got another thing to add".
  • sometimes "а" introduces another subject: "The girls like juice, and the boys only drink water and beer" would use "а". It is also used to push narrative forward when there is a link between parts. Then it loses its contrasting meaning: _"The girls like juice, and juice is good for your health" ~ "Девочки любят сок, а сок полезен для здоровья".

So "а вот" is essential here to signal that you — unambiguously — want to show a contrast here: "first, she won't achieve anything useful — however, she is totally going to get herself frowned upon by other kids".

  • the structure with "а вот" is "She won't succeed in A, yet what she will succeed in is B".
  • when just "а" is used, it is less effective and can be also interpreted as "What will happen is A and B".
3
  • That makes perfect sense - great explanation. Thanks!
    – CocoPop
    May 29 '14 at 19:14
  • Is that valid independently of whether the statements are positive or negative? I mean does it matter, that reason one is a negative one? Somehow I thought so.
    – user3538
    May 29 '14 at 20:52
  • 1
    When it connects two statements they should be opposite, i.e. the first one "positive" and second "negative" or vice versa. In your sentence what is contrasted is the results accomplished: one (intended) will not work out while the other (unexpected) will happen. Here, actually, both are "bad" for the girl but the point of the sentence is to stress the fact that the second consequence, unlike the first one, is sure to occur (which is opposite to what the girl has intended).
    – Shady_arc
    May 29 '14 at 23:42
0

I believe in this context "а вот" translates as "however"; if there would be "a" (without "вот"), this should be translated as "whereas".

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