1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Die Herren folgen den Damen."

"Die Herren folgen den Damen."

Translation:The gentlemen are following the ladies.

November 6, 2013

130 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrancisKon

Is what is being described in the sentence being just creepy or...?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RebeccaHillary

If it were meant to be creepy I think it would be more appropriate to use Männer instead of Herren. I don't believe that gentleman would be stalking the ladies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Sapphira-

It's 19th century stalking . . .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ehsan.Hp

its because of " Ladies first"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

In Germany, it is customary when a boy/man and a girl/woman are walking down the sidewalk for the man to walk behind her, especially if they're married or dating.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anna_FA

Interesting. Thank you for that :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wikan

Wirklich? How would they talk?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

It's a custom, and one that is fading with globalisation, not the most common practice by which couples walk down the street. They don't walk far behind them, either (I think half a step is common, but sometimes he may be entirely behind her). There are also other dating customs, but most of them are fading in modern Germany as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/all_night_reader

weird custom but that's sad it's fading just like customs in my country


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dalingo8

Why do you say it's a weird custom?? It's probably part of etiquette (Bonton), so why would that be strange.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kpjsttd

Off to the left or right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deadc0ffee

I couldn't find a reference to this custom anywhere online. If you or anyone could show me I'd like to read a bit more about it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

I heard it from two people who've spent more time in Germany than I have, but they're both older and it's possible the custom was only a phase or something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vkilohani

Never seen this in Köln...I actually thought PDA is the norm.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tom-g

Not necessarily. It could just be "the gentlemen follow the ladies ... into the drawing room".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brandon435

Yeah well it could also be "...into the dressing room."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nmjones14

In that case, they aren't ladies or gentlemen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AaronWalle2

Could mean like, "Ladies first"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mz147

I thought of the kind of "following" you are doing when you dance. There are some traditional dances, when it looks like Herren folgen den Damen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pebilorty

Nahhh. Ladies first.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andyengle

Doesn't have to be. What if the dudes are the husbands of the chicks, but don't want to be part of their conversation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jon947551

I do not undersand "den" here. Why can it not be "The gentlemen follow THE ladies" but rather "ARE following the ladies" or "follows THESE ladies"? I do not get it. Still when I scroll over "den" for a clue, it is "the". Seriously....❤❤❤!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TwiliDash

German doesnt have the "ing" form so "the gentlemen are following" and "the gentlemen follow" would be the same.

And I think den can't be "these" in this case, lol. It's den because it's dative plural of a feminine word, die Dame. Apparently the word folgen recuires the object to be in dative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimmyKing2

Den is 'the'for dative plural


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariam.m.s.e

But lingo says the plural dative is "Denen" not "Den", is this a mistake? (it is in the lesson explanation).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

When used as an article, as it is here, die does not decline to denen but den. However, it can also be used as a pronoun meaning that, which, who, whom, whose and this word does decline to denen in the dative plural. Duo must've confused the two words and given the wrong declension.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariam.m.s.e

OK.. the declension is not the easiest thing for me. thanks for explaining though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john_hempel

I don't understand why "den Damen" is in the accusative case; shouldn't this sentence be "Die Herren folgen die Damen."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marco1603

"den Damen" is not accusative, it's dative. The verb "folgen" requires the dative case: "Wem folgen die Herren? - Den Damen."

Accusative would be "die Damen", e.g., "Die Herren sehen die Damen. - Wen sehen die Herren? - Die Damen."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MartinHassler

This is so strange. In my language is the same part of the sentence in Accusative. I would ask "wen folgen die herren?" I dont really see the difference between folgen and sehen someone. So i will just have to memorized it. And I thought how great that we have 6 cases in my language so I understand it but this one works differently.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I dont really see the difference between folgen and sehen someone. So i will just have to memorized it.

Yes; that's right. It's just something that has to be memorised.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katherle

Like Marco said, it's an exception. Normally, the direct object is in the accusative case. However, after a limited number of special "dative verbs" such as "folgen" (to follow), "helfen" (to help) or "danken" (to thank), the direct object is in the dative case. "Den Damen" is dative plural.

See:

http://german.about.com/library/verbs/blverb_dativ.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_articles#The_Definite_Article


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marco1603

Ach Katherle, deine Erklärungen sind immer so gut und gründlich. Da kann man selbst als Muttersprachler noch soviel lernen. Ich würde mal raten: Linguistikstudentin ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john_hempel

Oh OK. I forgot that the dative plural was den, and i forgot about the whole concept of transitive verbs (I think that's the right word for hilfen, folgen, etc.). Thanks a lot, both of you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimmyKing2

Den is 'the' for dative plural. Simple as that


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackeygrey

Dear Dulingo, the users should have a feature to save their favorite comments from other users. This would allow one to organize and track the information relevent to one, for later reference or study or any desired purpose.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LudmorHun

I would prefer not having to rely on comments to get essential information. :( Duolingo needs to transfer the information from the most helpful comments to tips and notes, or popup information or anything like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kampfar

I take screenshots for this purpose :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Garybald

Looking at the german sentence (being this dative case) I can't really say if the plural form of "Dame" is "Damen" or "Dame", can I?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Private_606

Kinda..... worrying...?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theavic

What's the difference between Frauen and Damen? And is Dames not an acceptable translation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karmisson

Frauen-women. Damen-ladies.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theavic

Thanks - but what does that mean?

I'm not sure I understand the difference. Is there an actual difference in where you use it?

Is it just like in English? You'd address an audience as "ladies and gentlemen"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karmisson

Yes, I believe so. You would address a group as" Meine Damen und Herren" Ladies and Gentlemen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qbasicmichael

Both mean Lady, Mistress, a woman in a position of power and authority. Frau is Germanic. Dame is Latin/French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharon182968

Why is this sentence in the dative case?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Sentences (as a whole) aren't in any case.

den Damen is in the dative case because the verb folgen takes an object in the dative case.

(Why dative for this verb? No idea. But there are a dozen or two reasonably common verbs that take an object in the dative case, such as helfen - danken - folgen - gefallen - gehören - antworten.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/crystal.ben4

I thought that in this sentence the gentlemen would be in the dative and the ladies in accusative because they are following the ladies so the action is being applied to the ladies. Why is it den Damen and not die Damen? Please correct me! :) thank you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I thought that in this sentence the gentlemen would be in the dative

Why? They are the ones doing the following -- the subject of the verb. Subjects are in the nominative case.

the ladies in accusative because they are following the ladies so the action is being applied to the ladies. Why is it den Damen and not die Damen?

Some verbs take their object in the dative case rather than the accusative case -- it's simply a matter of memorising which verbs do this. I don't think there's a reason.

Common verbs which take (only) a dative object are helfen danken folgen gefallen gehören gratulieren antworten.

In some of these, you can perhaps remember it as "saying something TO someone" or "giving something TO someone" (e.g. jemandem helfen as "giving help to someone", jemandem gratulieren as "saying congratulations to someone"), but folgen can't easily be translated into English with "to" -- it's just something you have to memorise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kelikaku

"The men follow the women." accepted.

בס״ד


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milkcrate

"Gentlemen" seems like an archaic word to me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katja-z

@ milkcrate

"Gentlemen" is definitely not archaic. It is still very much used nowadays.

Especially when it is not a totally informal setting, and/or when people are not just using slang. For example, when addressing groups of people they don't know someone would, or should, use: "Gentlemen, ...." or "Ladies and Gentlemen" when it is a group of men and women.

Something like "yo dudes", or "hey guys" is definitely not appropriate in every situation. Sure, sometimes those terms are just fine. But in very many settings they actually usually aren't.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milkcrate

I agree that the word still has use but it is very limited to certain phrases and usually only when addressing an audience. For me this sentence conjures up an image of high class people from the 19th or early 20th centuries.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidLamb53073

Maybe it is where you live, but not here in the UK. It is sometimes shortened to "gents" in more informal situations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mistafluff

That's kinda creepy ngl


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Louis2824

Does anyone know why 'the ladies' are in the dative. I would figure them to be the DO. And the translation to be "Die Herren folgen die Darmen"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

folgen requires an object in the dative case -- one of a couple of dozen common verbs that do so.

Just an exception that has to be memorised.

helfen and danken are also very common verbs that do this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dinghao42

Wow! I wrote ' The men are following the women ' and it was accepted. The men can be following the women to Protect them, etc., and not for nefarious reasons. Women, children, animals and nature are precious, so we have to look out for them ☺!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob20020

Dame: Die Dame: SINGULAR Damen: Den Damen: PLURAL But I thought ALL plurals are feminine in german. Someone?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapnDoug

It is plural. As explained in other comments: "Den Damen" is dative plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/musmoulay

when would "denen" be used - this is mentioned in the notes?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariam.m.s.e

Why does it say "DEN Damen" instead of "Die Damen", it is plural and in the accusative. and even if it was in the Dative case, it will "Denen Damen".. please someone explain to me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

It is plural and dative (because folgen takes the dative case), and the dative plural definite article is den (not denen).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stanthemanclan

Why does it seem like the definite articles are switched around?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

den is masculine accusative singular, but also dative plural; die is feminine nominative/accusative singular, but also nominative/accusative plural regardless of gender.

Every form of the German definite article refers to at least two combinations of gender, number, and case, unfortunately.

So thinking of e.g. die as "the feminine article" may be more harmful than helpful, because die is also used in the plural (for all genders); similarly, den is not exclusively "masculine", either, and even der shows up not only in the plural but also in the genitive and dative of feminine singular nouns.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stanthemanclan

Shieeet thanks man. I know I should be studying my articles and I've been putting it off for a while.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

And then along comes things such as die Leiter ("the ladder" or "the leaders"?) and der Leiter ("the leader" or "of the ladder" or "to the ladder" or "of the leaders"?) :) Ambiguous articles can be annoying.

But yes, getting all sixteen down properly will be a good thing -- and knowing which one can show up in which combinations of gender/number/case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stanthemanclan

A lot to learn but definitely worth it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kampfar

If you go through the lessons "Accusative", "Dative", "Nominative" and "Genitive", you'll get the answer :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nguyenhaichi0

why can't we translate into the gentleman follow the ladies


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

"the gentleman" is singular (there is just one gentleman)

"the gentlemen" is plural (there are many gentlemen)

The German die Herren is plural, so you should translate it into an English plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gedalyah

Does thia have a connotation of "the men ARE PURSUING the women," as in they're trying to get close to them?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

No - that would be Die Herren verfolgen die Damen.

folgen just means they are going the same way, either simply behind them / after them, or using the ladies as a guide because they don't know the way themselves.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jarthhur

Gents should be a valid trabslation of gentlemen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MANAN_SODAGAR

Why den Damen instead die Damen?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

folgen requires the dative case for its object


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rita540340

I wrote "are following and it was marked incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I wrote "are following and it was marked incorrect?

Yes, because you did not translate die Herren or den Damen.

(What was your entire answer? Often, the mistake is not where you think it is but instead in the word order somewhere else, the wrong gender of an article, etc. Please always quote complete sentences.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimBrozovi

That translation was counted wrong by Duolinguo and instead they used the Sirs are following the ladies. What kind of crap is Sirs? In normal English we would use gentlemen nobody uses sirs_


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saurabh402629

And still they are gentlemen!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lee559448

in what situation do you use herr instead of mann?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vkilohani

I think 'Herr' is for respectfully addressing a man and is the equivalent of 'Mr.' in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidLamb53073

It is, but by itself, without a surname following, it can mean "gentleman" or "lord". Indeed it is the word used in German bibles for "God" when English calls Him "Lord". For example, Exodus 6 verse 1 starts: "Der HERR sprach zu Mose: Nun sollst du sehen, was ich Pharao tun werde." (Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.') Incidentally, "The lords follow the ladies" is accepted here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

in what situation do you use herr instead of mann?

Neither herr nor mann is a German word, so you wouldn't ever use them.

Herr (capitalised) is roughly equivalent to "gentleman": you would use it when you're being particularly polite. Könnten Sie den Herrn bitte vorbeilassen? "Could you please let the gentleman through?"

Mann (also capitalised) is simply "man".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theloniouss

Didn't accept "follow" that is the same of "are following" in this case


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Didn't accept "follow"

Show us a screenshot of that being rejected, please -- upload it to a website somewhere and tell us the URL.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tilla693315

Duo is great for threads such as this one on cultural interpretations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbdulSalaam

Doesn't look like gentlemen to me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapnDoug

What does it look like to you?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidLamb53073

But "Herren", whatever it looks like to you, does mean "gentlemen" or "lords."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dusty_G

How does Damen also translate to Kings? Is it like Der Damen= King Die Damen= Ladies Like that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tylaantt

Why isn't the word "dames" accepted here, in English?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dame


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheGaromine

I have 3 words to describe this sentence: Creepy, love, and romantic


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AaronWalle2

Damen also apparently means "checkers", but when I put that in, I got it wrong. : )


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/12345679u

uhh, that is really...well I won't grace it with a discription.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanFelker

A misogynist would prefer "Den Herren folgen die Damen."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexFalconer

please try to avoid pedantry. Follow and "are following" are English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EBuDDe

That doesn't sound like gentlemen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrafnunga

As I commented above, it is customary in Germany for a man to follow a woman when walking down the street, especially if they are married or dating. However, a man generally walks through a door first. Both customs may be throwbacks to ancient and less certain times. They both allow the man an opportunity to see a threat coming without putting his lady in danger. However, I think the former custom may be becoming less common.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shyguy007

Thirsty buggers aren't they?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BolisettyS

they are not gentlemen anymore


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/qbasicmichael

Who said anything about gentlemen? Herr is an older man, specifically one with gray hair. It means Gray, and by extension: Senior, Elder (though alter Mann would be more specific). The Bible uses it for Lord, but that is not its core meaning, and Meister would probably have been a better translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BolisettyS

it said Herren means gentlemen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeeaWeber

"Translate this text

Die Herren folgen den Damen. The gentleman are following the ladies Continue You used the wrong word. The sirs are following the ladies."

I'm right! I know I'm right and I'm tired of being told I'm wrong when I'm right. I have reported it, but I am really angry that I have to give the wrong answer to get this right. Even my English grammar checker says sirs is wrong. It things that should be sins.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

The plural of gentleman is gentlemen, with -e- in the last syllable just as the plural of man is men.

die Herren is plural, so you should have used the plural the gentlemen.

The gentleman is not a right translation of die Herren.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeeaWeber

Your right. :( It was a missed typo error. But using "sirs" I still wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hobnob12

this doesnt make sense...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maesterlewin

lets just hope they are as gentle as their name suggets...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/feliceski

That is not English! It makes no sense! It should be 'the men are following the women'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Creeper-Aw

Do we care? You understand it, correct? Now shush

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.