Hebrew Nuggets, Lesson 18: vav (Part 2)

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Second of two-part series on the Hebrew word Vav.

Revised: 1-Oct.-2015
In our previous lesson we focused on vav’s primary meaning of “and.” However, as we will now see, “and” is not always the correct translation of the Hebrew word vav. Vav is used to convey other meanings, as well.

Hebrew NuggetsAlthough the literal English translation of vav is “and,” it leads a more varied life than its English counterpart. While in English “and” can mean “also,” or can be used like a comma to connect words, phrases and sentences, vav can do the work of “but,” “or,” “so,” “then,” “with,” “when,” “who,” “that,” “on the contrary,” and much more. Hebrew frequently uses a vav where in English no word would be used at all, and in such cases the best translation is simply to drop the “and” entirely.

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To read the next lesson, click here. For the transliteration system used in this series, click here.
This article originally appeared in issue 18 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.

  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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