1

I am wondering if a native speaker would apply the two sentences interchangeably, or would detect a difference semantically?

She wanted to take no risk, however small.

She wanted to take no risk, though small.

Thanks

  • There's no need to indicate in your edit that you have updated your question, and it's actually preferred that you don't. There's a revision history where all previous revisions are viewable. I updated your question. Feel free to roll it back if you don't like the changes. – DCShannon May 8 '15 at 20:20
1

Meaning

I definitely feel a difference in meaning.

The first example, with 'however' is fine. The second, however, doesn't work. I actually read "though small" as applying to 'she', so that she doesn't want to take risks, despite the fact that she is small.

To use 'though' to express this thought, I would rephrase like this:

She wanted to take no risk, though any risk would be small.

or maybe

She wanted to take no risk, though it be small.


Grammar

Neither of the two words in question are used as conjunctions in your example sentences.

In

She wanted to take no risk, however small.

'However' is acting as an adverb modifying 'small'. The meaning is "to whatever degree". In other words, no matter how small the risk is, the previous statement still applies.

The other example,

She wanted to take no risk, though small.

is awkward to the point that I'm not 100% sure it's grammatical. I think 'though' is acting as an adverb modifying 'small', but I can't say for sure why it seems more natural to me to think that small is modifying 'she' rather than 'risk'.

Usually, after 'though', you would expect a phrase that could be a sentence by itself. You can see this in my example sentences, such as "any risk would be small".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.