"Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten."

Translation:I have known her for two months.

October 30, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I think it is an inappropriate sentence. I learn German, not English. I have not learned the past tense or any other tenses in German yet. I do not know the differences between the German tenses. Why should I think, that the translation of this sentence in present tense in English was in past tense? I am not English... Give me back my heart! :-)


Why the present tense is wrong "I know her for two months"?


You would never say that in English. I don't think there is a way of expressing this concept in the present tense in English


That alternative translation in the present tense is now accepted, May, 2018.


"Two months ago" (when you met her) is in the past. Using the present tense to discuss the past is incorrect. I hope that helps.


Well... I guess that was 4 years ago... now it's accepted.


I don't understand why it's 'Monaten' and not 'Monate' :(


Heh, I made this exact explanation on the other discussion of this question (where the English phrase is in focus rather than the German).

"seit" is a dative preposition, meaning that whatever follows it is always in the dative case.
"Monate" is a plural noun, and plural nouns that do not already end in -n or -s gain an -n in the dative case.

This means that using seit puts Monate into the dative case, so an N is added, making it:
"den Monaten" or "seit zwei Monaten".

Check out this link for a handy list of dative prepositions:
Dative Prepositions - German.about.com


I wrote: I know her since two months ago I thought that 'seit' meant 'since', but my answer wasn't accepted. Should it be accepted?


"Seit" does translate to "since", but in the context of time, it can also mean "for" or alternatively "since ____ ago". As in, "Wir laufen seit drei Stunden" translates to "We are running / have been running for three hours" or "We are running / have been running since three hours ago".

As roy00016 pointed out, a lot of native speakers also confuse this and would sometimes say in English, "We have been running since three hours".


"We have been running since three hours".

This is not acceptable English, I have never heard anyone say this and don't expect to - it is completely wrong

"We have been running FOR three hours".


Unfortunately not. If you use "since" in English you would have to provide a specific time. For example: "I have known her since April". Since and seit are not exact equivalents and many native German speakers make the same error in reverse.


I disagree - his answer was not wrong due to "since", but instead due to using present tense. "I have known her since two months ago" is perfectly valid English.


Yes... but "three hours ago", I believe, is a specific time.

Drop the particle "ago", and you would need to say something like "since April", right?


Bottom line though is that it is OK to use present tense in German in this situation but not ok in english. So would this sound bad in German ...

Ich habe sie seit zwei Monaten gekennt.

If that sounds ok...than is it different from

Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten.

???? German so confusing!


Why is isnt it in the past tense? Why wouldn't you say 'Ich habe sie für zwei Monaten wurste' or something similar. I dint actually know the word for the pasr tense of kennen. I think wurste is the past tense of weiß, right?


wissen - ich weiß - ich habe gewusst - ich wusste
kennen - ich kenne - ich habe gekannt - ich kannte

You can't use "ich habe ... wusste" as that combines perfect past tense with the simple past tense.
i.e. perfect past tense: "Ich habe gewusst", simple past tense: "Ich wusste".

N.B. kennen means "to know, be familiar with" and wissen means "to know (a fact/a detail/when or how etc.)". In this case you would use kennen to mean "to know someone"

Why can't you use perfect or simple past tenses in this case then? Simple. The German past tenses are used to indicate that something occurred in the past, but no more. e.g.:

"Ich habe sie für zwei Monate gekannt" - "I knew her for 2 months" (but it was long ago; I don't know her anymore).

If you want to say that something occurred in the past, but is still occurring (i.e. you continue to know her), then you use the present tense in combination with "seit".
This is basically the equivalent of the English "present perfect continuous" tense, which takes the form "has/have -> been -> present participle -> time", e.g.:
"I have been living here for a year".

"Ich kenne sie seit zwei Monaten" - "I've known her for 2 months" (and I still know her).

This also works for other examples, such as:
"Ich habe Fußball für drei Jahre gespielt" - "I played football for 3 years" (I don't play anymore; my footballing career is over).
"Ich spiele seit drei Jahren Fußball" - "I've been playing football for 3 years" (it is still occurring; I didn't give it up).


Just a tiny nitpick, present perfect (or Perfekt) isn't used for past actions with no possibility of reoccurrence. Simple past/preterite/imperfect (Präteritum) is used for completed actions in the past.

The latter isn't even used in some dialects (I prefer it personally and do use it when applicable), and I only brought it up because I know for some people learning German it can get really confusing as to when to use which one. I've not even gotten to the past tense part so this site might just use present perfect, I don't know.

Lest I sound like I'm picking on you or anything, I've gotta say your response is super thorough and explains the difference in German as to when the present tense is still used in sentences like this.


Thank you, Alex. The best explanation I've read about this issue!

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when do you use monate and when do you use monaten for the plural of months


I think Monate is the plural form. The N here (Monte-n) is because "Seit" makes it dative.

Die Kinder- dative: Den Kindern

Die Monate- dative: Den Monaten


Why is "I know her since 2 months ago" wrong?


If you put in the past time element, you need to add some helper verbs: "I have known her since 2 months ago."

This is the "present perfect" tense. Read more here.


When are Monate and Monaten used as the plural? They both seem to be accepted in Duo


In Dativ, "Monate" becomes "Monaten".


Why is the German in the present tense? Why not "Ich habe sie seit zwei Monaten gekonnen"?

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