Er verdient lange nicht so viel.

He doesn't earn nearly as much.

Why is it that "lange nicht so" means "nowhere near as ..., not nearly as ..."? It seems weird when one looks at it word by word -- it doesn't seem like lange is properly translated in the meaning.

  • 2
    "He is far from earning that much" would be close, with using similar words
    – Hulk
    Sep 17, 2014 at 5:43
  • Don't expect the literal translation to make sense! Get a grasp on the meaning and find an appropriate translation, not to freely/loosely but also not to literally. – Besides, there are more ways to say that in German, for instnace: "Er verdient bei weitem nicht so viel", "Er verdient nicht annährend so viel".
    – Em1
    Sep 17, 2014 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


Compare American usage of "way" as an adverb.

  • We first met way back in the 70s.

The meaning of "way back" is: It was a long time ago. And "way back" uses a comparison: It's a long way back to the time we first met.

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