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  5. "Iss, was du willst."

"Iss, was du willst."

Translation:Eat what you want.

September 10, 2015



Can someone explain why there's a comma after "Iss" ? Thanks


German uses commas before subordinate clauses.


Noone else has asked this but I am bumfuzzled. When you look at the conjugations Iss is not among them, so why is it used here. Ich esse, du isst, er/sie/es isst, wir essen, ihr esst, and sie/Sie essen. Hard for me to find any reason to use iss.


iss! is the command form or imperative.

The conjugation table just shows the indicative mood used for normal statements, not the subjunctive, conditional, or imperative moods.

Compare English: if you just look at a table that says "I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you are, they are", it will be "hard for you to find any reason" to use "be" in a command such as "be quiet!", but that's what English needs there because commands use the imperative mood, not the indicative.

Note that iss! is specifically the form for du. If you are addressing a command to ihr or to Sie, the forms are esst! and essen Sie!, respectively. (Those happen to be the same as the indicative forms. And note that the Sie has to be included in a command addressed to Sie, unlike a command addressed to du or ihr where no pronoun is used.)

See also the thread started by Sjodni, which already covered this. (Starting at "you wouldn't say, du iss, so why does it get used?")


Danke. I will study on this.


How come this doesn't mean "Eat, what do you want?" Is it just the comma? Would "Iss. Was du willst." change this?


Was du willst. is not a correct sentence -- the verb needs to be in the second position as Was willst du? if this is a standalone main clause.

..., was du willst as a subordinate clause means "what you want".


Could we go for this as a "rule" then (when writing what's spoken) to know when to use the comma. "Whenever the verb is not in second position, displaced by a conjunction, it means that it is a subordinate clause"?


It's a bit simpler, I believe. There are two conjugated verbs in this sentence, so although they're both about "du", they're about different "du"-subjects (since one subject cannot have 2 conjugated verbs refer to it). Therefore they belong to different clauses.

Again, a clause is, in simple terms, a subject+verb combo. The first clause just happens to have the subject (du) dropped. Clauses are always separated by commas. It's not very strict in English, but is very strict in Russian, for example (my native). I'm sure it's the same here.


What about translating it 'Eat what you want to', it seems better English to me?


Could you also say, "Essen Sie was du willst"?


No; that would be mixing the formal and informal you in the same sentence.

  • Iss, was du willst (informal, singular)
  • Esst, was ihr wollt (informal, plural)
  • Essen Sie, was Sie wollen (formal)

are the three basic options.


Thank you! But, you wouldn't say, du iss, so why does it get used?


It is the imperative (command) form, which is not the same as the normal "du" form.

Much as in English, we say "Be quiet!" even though we do not say "I am quiet but you *be not quiet." -- that verb has a separate imperative form.

See, for example, http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/essen , which lists in the conjungation table under "Präsens" "du isst" in the "Indikativ" column and "iss!" in the "Imperativ" column.

In general, the imperative form has no ending such as -(s)t, but the vowel may change if the "du" form does so (essen, du isst, iss!; sehen, du siehst, sieh!).

Sometimes it has an -e ending which is usually optional, e.g. http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/fragen which has both "frag!" and "frage!".


the sentence has a musical tone to it


I am not clear about how to form the imperative. Where can I learn more?


that's very surprising, seeing how much XP you have in the german course. anyway, there's a whole lesson on it in this very duo german course, it's called just that: "imperative"


it marked "eat what you will" incorrect


yep, because it has a different meaning.

I want - Ich will / You want - Du willst /...

I will - Ich werde / You will - Du wirst /...

<pre>EDIT: That is wrong, sorry! :D </pre>


"will" does not only refer to future intent in English.


upps...thanks for clarifying. Didn't really think of it.


I've reported it.


Now it accepts that answer.


"Eat, what do you want?" should be accepted, do not you think?


No because the German sentence isn't a question.


Then this comma after "Iss" should not be there??


German also uses more commas than English does. It's confusing I know. :)


That would be "Iss, was willst du? "


It's imperative so it would have to be "Iss, was willst du?"


No, that would be first an imperative - "iss - eat" and then a question "was willst du - what do you want"

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