Clarification Question

Can you help me understand...?

What's the difference between "to live" and "to survive"?

Helly  Lucas Helly Lucas (1) on 21/07/16

Hello guys, I was reading the first chapter of Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone and the title of that chapter took my attention. In Brazilian Portuguese, my native language, this chapter is translated as "O Menino que sobreviveu", which for me, could be translated in english as "The boy who survived". I wonder, why is it "the boy who lived" and not "the boy who survived"? What is the difference between those two verbs in this context? Can you guys help me?

Answers

1

Living is what people do every day, it is simply the act of being alive. Surviving is more related to going on after something has happened, like when a person dies, they "are survived by" e.g. their children, or someone was in a car crash and they survived. They have lived through something as opposed to simply being alive.

Also, having zero interest in HP I couldn't say as to the specifics in your case, but it sounds like perhaps it is implying there was an incident where this boy lived and others did not... So in that case it seems like the title would be putting the emphasis on the fact that this one boy stayed alive. Without specific context it can be hard to say, but especially when you are talking about books, authors will play with language more subtly and nuanced than general speech and whatnot.

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Helly  Lucas Helly Lucas (1) on 07/08/16

In my language we use the same word to express what you said is the difference between living and surviving. It is hard to grasp those nuances in different languages, but this is what makes it more interesting for me. Thank you so much for your answer. Sounds really acceptable for me. I think I understand now what she's (the author) really trying to say with the title. Bye ;)

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