"Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht."

Translation:If he does not come, we do not go.

6 years ago

89 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/beams311

Why is the word order the way it is? i.e. the "nicht" is before the verb in the first part of the sentence and at the end of the second part of the sentence? I assume it is something to do with it being a subordinate or non-subordinate clause but that is just a guess

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chbeaumont

Is anyone able to explain, please?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LavethWolf
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I believe it is because the verb must be the second "idea" in a sentence. Since Wenn comes first, it kicks the verb kommt to the end of the first clause ( If he does not come ). This is then treated as a one part.

Because of this, Gehen must come after the first clause for reasons I have mentioned beforehand. After that, wir and nicht kind of just follow.

I'm still having quite a bit of trouble understanding this myself, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

sorry but do you have any advice on how to tell when you have to do this? thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/8Ivlg50M

This is quite a tough one. This sentence is actually a bit shortened, the full construction is 'Wenn X, dann Y' (= If X, then Y). 'Wenn' forces subordinate construction (verb to the end, negation before), 'dann' forces question construction (first verb, then subject, negation somewhere after these).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

Thanks, it's a good explanation :) I also found this awesome source about word order for anyone reading this thread and as confused as I was:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Flannery65
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But Wenn is not accepted as an answer. And I cannot report it.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnCatDubh
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It does, actually. In X-bar terms, it’s because normally, the subject in Germanic languages moves to specCP, and the conjugated verb to C (i.e. the head of the Complementizer Phrase) in the syntactic tree. Here ‘wenn’ occupies the position of C, so both stay put: the subject in specTP, and the verb at V (the head of the Verb Phrase), which comes at the end of the VP.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jordanhaller

Why can't this also be "When he does not come, we do not go." ?

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dripdrip1
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Because 'wenn' means 'if'. Sometimes it means 'when', but very rarely and it never means 'whenever', which would be the meaning of your proposed translation. Always assume it means 'if' unless there are other indications in the sentence that it means something else.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OgnjenG.

That is oversimplification and also a partially wrong one.

Wenn CAN mean whenever, if you talk about the past

please check section 5 of this link http://www.thegermanprofessor.com/als-wenn-wann/

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KyleGoetz
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I answered this (except with "doesn't" and "don't"), and it was accepted as correct.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marziotta
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Probably because it was suggested as correct with "When". I think the system automatically add the suggestions if they are added by two or three users, but maybe I am wrong.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Flannery65
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No it is not automatic

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnBuyukFen1
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So wenn means both when and if?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

I read this: Wenn = both "when" and "if" Wann = "when" when you are asking a question (wenn is for "answering")

Wann kommst du? (When are you coming?) Ich komme wenn du kommst. (I am coming when you are coming/I am coming if you are coming.)

(Please correct me if i'm wrong, definitely not a native speaker)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElibeyElili

evet. dogru

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LavethWolf
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Wenn only means "if". Wann, I believe is "when".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

This is wrong. Wenn can mean when too

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LavethWolf
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I was starting to get confused when I saw people using wenn to also mean "when". Thanks for correcting me and clearing things up.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlennaJo
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I guess "Because he doesn't come, we do not go" only makes sense to me. I spent too much of my life waiting for someone before we could go anywhere.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/David892353

It makes sense to me and that is why I am wondering why my first answer which was denn/because was wrong. Personally, I think both are correct but it only wants if.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/freshollie

I put this same. This question has 2 answers, unless there is some German grammatical rule which states why it can't be Denn.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

I think it can't be Denn because then it would be "denn er kommt nicht" (the weird verb word order doesn't apply for denn)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/freshollie

Danke

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hagar-konrad

can someone tell me what is the different between the two options?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marymary33
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both choices make sense, how do you decide unless you know wha tthe answer is supposed to be?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barbs422494

i also thought denn was an adequate answer - because he does not come we do not go! because he does not come to (the shops with us) we (also) do not go!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ubeeric

Why not Denn rather than Wenn? Because he does not come we do not go

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/The-German-Hit

So 'wenn' means 'when' and 'if', while 'wann' only means 'when'?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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yes. "wann" only covers the temporal aspect and is used only as a word introducing a question, "wenn" can have a temporal or a conditional meaning (and is a conjunction).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bekir978479

Shouldn't the English conditional sentence be '' If he does not come we will not go''?

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rJS60rED

Your's is a better translation than Duolingo offers

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jami.saich
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Why can't the answer be denn

Denn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht

Because he doesn't come, we do not go

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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Because of two reasons: 1.) In contrast to "because", which starts a subordinate clause, "denn" always introduces a main clause and therefore the word order must be different. 2.) The sentence led by "denn" can never be positioned in front of the sentence which contain the effect, but is always the second clause. So the sentence you think of is "Wir gehen nicht, denn er kommt nicht".

Think of "denn" as "therefore", not "because".

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy571992

If he does not come we shall not go, is a correct translation in English too, since the second idea is future, conditional on the first idea.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
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yes, you're right. Report it.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Laly
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when does gehen means walk or go?

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DoubleFelix

This is what it normally means. http://dict.leo.org/#/search=gehen

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jumap
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I wrote ' arrive ' and it was not accepted. Why?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KyleGoetz
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Arrive is ankommen, which is different from come/kommen. When he arrives would be Wenn er ankommt.

To draw a distinction between arrive and come, you only use to come when you are at the traveler's destination. This is not necessarily true with to arrive.

Speaker at airport: When he comes, I will take him to work.

When he arrives, I will take him to work.

Speaker in the US: When he comes to Japan, she will take him to work. WRONG

When he arrives in Japan, she will take him to work.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BogdanTo
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I had an extra "then" before "we do not go", and that was considered incorrect. Sounds quite natural to me, though.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hugekase

By adding another word, you changed the meaning they were trying to come across, it may sound natural, but sometimes Duo is picky.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vinter84

I wrote "if he doesn't come we won't go" and "won't" was incorrect. Is it really though?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/doijdd

Yes. "Will not" is not the same as "do not".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VivianeCar501422

Why does "gehen" come before "wir"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hugorrr

Why is it "Wenn er nicht kommt" and not "Wenn er kommt nicht"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maggieLi016

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html

In relative clauses, the verb is pushed to the end of the sentence.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hugorrr

Thank you.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EyeZaiyuh
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why is the placement of "nicht" so odd? Is this because of the word "wenn?"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/e_mortal

The problem with these translations at times is that they do it literally ("If he doesn't come we don't go") when in fact this is not an appropriate utterance in the context. "If he doesn't come we won't go." would be appropriate but I imagine it would not be accepted.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alan179070

The context can make a significant difference. "If he doesn't come we shan't go" doesn't convey the determination of "... we won't go". I don't know how this distinction would be made in German; maybe by 'wollen' compared with 'werden'??

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaiahGithinji

What about this translation? Wenn er nicht kommt, werden wir nicht gehen.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Montemburg

Can we also say: "Ob er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht."?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barbs422494

grateful thanks to the folk who have posted links to such helpful websites giving additional teaching and explanations

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CMTinPHX

Proper English always requires a "then" with an "if."

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah0741

So does 'wenn' mostly mean 'if' and not 'when'?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bekir978479

This is a conditional sentence. The way we had been taught was: If he does not come we will not go. Any response from English native speakers, please?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah0741

Sounds right in english

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidZuren117

I think I understand the order of the sentence except the negation, I would have written it like: "Wenn er kommt nicht, gehen wir nicht" Is this wrong?

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/somrandomdude

I thought when using subordinating conjunctions, the verb goes to the end of a statement. So why is "gehen" place in front of "wir" like a question?

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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The verb indeed goes to the end of the clause within the subordinate clause, i.e. the "kommt" is the last word in that clause. However, things remain unchanged in the main clause. As the complete subordinate clause counts as first position, the "gehen" comes second.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VerrattiSouto

I'm a tad confused about the use of Wenn for both If and When. Would this sentence be equivalent to an English zero conditional (as in a general truth, 'whenever he doesn't come, we don't go'), or does it also have the meaning of 'In the event of him not coming, we will not go'? How do you differenciate between If/When?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
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"wenn" can indeed mean both. If need be, you can differentiate by using "immer wenn" or "wann immer" for the former, "falls" for the latter.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VerrattiSouto

Danke schön!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boonjabby

is the positioning of the verb in the second sentence due to a missing word 'dann'.

Wenn er nicht kommt, dann gehen wir nicht??

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
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No, it is because the whole subordinate clause counts as one (= the first) position.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmmettHoll
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Why not "If he doesn't come, we're not going"?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iankv
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Either answer could be used. The sentence could just as easily be "Because he does not come we do not go".

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
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No. "wenn" does not have the meaning "because". It can mean "when" or "if", however.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sandy.Greg

If he does not come we are not going should be accepted

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris463228
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But why does 'nicht' come before 'kommt' in the first half of the clause?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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The first part is a subordinate clause, the second part is the main clause. Word order is different in these two.
In an ordinary (=statement; not a question, not an order) main clause, the verb is in the second position, the negation word "nicht" usually goes to the end of the sentence (only followed by infinitives and participles, which are not present here). So it would be "Wir gehen nicht", if it were alone.
However, the complete subordinate clause is counted as the first position of the main clause, so it becomes "Weil ..., gehen wir nicht.
In subordinate clauses the word order changes in that the verb goes straight to the end of the sentence. So "Er kommt nicht", which would be the sentence, if standing alone, becomes "weil er nicht kommt". Note that "nicht" would else be at the end of the sentence, but the verb moves even after that.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alibaba-3lamps
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In correct grammatical English We say: If he doesn't come, we will not go. The main clause is in the future tense whereas the sub-ordinate clause is in the present tense.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sabrinaaraujo

There is only 1 not to choose. So I cannot get the correct answer.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rJS60rED

"If he doesn't come, we shall not go" is actually better English than the translation.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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agreed

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thesandvich

This got me a bit confused until I remember that eccentric way of German word order using emphasis.

Clearly, the subordinate clause is the first part of the sentence because of 'wenn'. So naturally, the verb 'kommt' is at the end.

The last clause is different because the verb comes first. I believe it is like that because the speaker wants to emphasize the verb here.

CMIIW

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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No, the verb doesn't come first. The complete subordinate clause is counted as the first position of the main clause. So the verb is indeed in second position.
Emphasizing doesn't change the V2-rule. And, btw., I don't think that to be eccentric, you have that in many languages.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thesandvich

Thanks! I just realized after posting this that the whole subordinate clause is counted as the 'first' part of the whole sentence. This made a lot more sense!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Osara8
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These like Yoda's speaking sound, if serious i am... :'D

There is simply no logic sometimes with the order of words and specially with the "nicht"!

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
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Just because you haven't understood the logic doesn't mean there is none. There are exact rules for word order and they have been explained numerous times within this forum.

One more time:
In main clauses the verb comes always in the second position, the negation word "nicht" usually goes to the end. So the main clause alone would be "Wir gehen nicht".
The preceding subordinate clause, however, is counted as the first position of the main clause, so the verb has to follow immediately in order to keep its second position. Therefore we get "bla bla bla, gehen wir nicht."
The rules are different for subordinate clauses. Here the verb always takes the end position, even after the "nicht", which would else be in the end of the sentence. Hence "Wenn er nicht kommt, ...".

This may be complicated, but those are the rules, and if you follow them (and all the others) strictly, you will create perfect German sentencees.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PkmnRanjya

If he not come, go we not

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
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no, that is not English at all, but some kind of word-by-word translation from German that results in an ungrammatical sentence.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdrianWels1

I guessed that the intended English was "But he does not come, so we do not go." It still works because I didn't know what the author had intended. I think either word would be valid depending on the intended meaning.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emin-99

Loll

2 years ago
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