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I'm doing a translation assignment of a book now and searching for appropriate phrases for this.

Please help me!!

I think "thanks to" can be used with a negative statement, but when it is next to "let you off", the sentence will look awkward. :(

Thanks to my brother, I'll let you off this time.

This is the situation: Two girls were about to fight but one girl decided not to, because the other was her brother's girlfriend.

The girl was quite tough and I want to show her character.

Thanks to ...

Does that sentence look awkward? If you have any better ideas please let me know!

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In the case you describe, I'd probably just say "because you're my brother's girlfriend, I'll let you off this time." However, if her brother had spoken with her and asked her to let the girl off, then she might very well say "Thanks to your brother, I'll let you off this time."

One more thing: in my experience "I'm going to let you off this time" is more common. (At least, when my father said it, that's how I usually remember it.) Not that future tense is incorrect, but using this construction gives a bit more flavor of immediacy to the event.

  • thank you!!!so kind of you! Is it too formal that a young girl wouldnt use it? ( bc you said that your father used it) – Jay Apr 13 '14 at 16:57
  • No, it isn't. However, it does suggest that the girl is withholding some form of punishment that she is entirely capable of imposing. As such, it could be slightly pretentious, but then also this girl is being a bit pretentious as well if she's not assured of winning the fight, isn't she? Perhaps the girlfriend decides that she doesn't want to be "let off" and proceeds to pound sister's face into the mud, for example. :) Even so, it would still be a good choice of words. – BobRodes Apr 13 '14 at 17:26
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I haven't really verified this in a rigorous fashion, but off the top of my head I think thanks to X is strange when the main clause is volitional:

  1. Thanks to my brother, I can't let you off with a warning.
  2. ?Thanks to my brother, I'll let you off with a warning.

In 1, the situation is beyond the speaker's control, so thanks to is fine. In 2, the speaker is making a choice, so thanks to is strange. (I wouldn't go so far as to call it ungrammatical or anything like that, though.)

Here's one possible alternative:

I'll let you off this one time because of my brother. Now scram, before I change my mind!

Here, I used because, and I added language to minimize the concession and assert the speaker's dominance.

  • Thank you so much!! I thought that because is too...simple for this sentence. Because this is for translation assignment, I wanted to add something more like.idiomatic phrases which can deliver character`s personality – Jay Apr 13 '14 at 17:04
  • @Jay You can replace it with the colloquial 'cause if you like, but I think it's okay here. – snailboat Apr 13 '14 at 17:11

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