1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Die Frauen trinken das Wasse…

"Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, denn es ist schmutzig."

Translation:The women do not drink the water because it is dirty.

October 8, 2015



Why is 'denn es ist schmutzig' not a subordinate clause? -- i.e. shouldn't it be 'denn es schmutzig ist'?


No, it's not a subordinate clause.

"weil" is a subordinating conjunction, joining a subordinate clause to a main clause, so you would get "weil es schmutzig ist".

But "denn" is a coordinating conjunction, joining two main clauses, so you have "denn es ist schmutzig".


Ahh I see. Thanks for explaining!

Given "weil" and "denn" both mean "because", how do I distinguish coordinating vs subordinating conjunctions? Or is the assignation arbitrary?


I'm not sure, sorry.

I'm a native speaker, so the distinction just "feels right" and I'm not sure what would be an underlying reason to make a given conjunction coordinating or subordinating.

Note that the distinction is not completely cast in stone: weil is traditionally subordinating, but in today's spoken language, it is sometimes used as a coordinating conjunction. (And from reading the German Wikipedia article, it even changed its meaning - it used to mean "while" rather than "because, since", e.g. "weil der Frühling währet" with the sense "while spring lasts" rather than, as people would interpret it nowadays, "because spring is continuing".)


I know this is a very old post at this point, but you are probably one of the most helpful mods in all of learning German on here!


Wow that was so much detail, thanks again!


Maybe we can think of 'denn' as the coordinating conjunction 'for' in English?


Maybe we can think of 'denn' as the coordinating conjunction 'for' in English?

I agree -- I often think of these rough equivalences:

  • weil = because
  • da = as; since
  • denn = for


Thanks, Mizinamo. I know it is an old post. If we write/say -" Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist"; Does the meaning change in any way or become different from when used with den?


If we write/say -" Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist"; Does the meaning change in any way or become different from when used with den?

Slightly. I'm not sure how to explain the difference, though.

I'd say that weil attaches the reason more closely and denn less closely.

A bit like

  • Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist. = I'll tell you why the women aren't drinking the water: because it's dirty.
  • Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, denn es ist schmutzig. = The women aren't drinking the water. It's dirty, you know.

Not as explicit as that, of course, but denn feels a little more like an afterthought or additional information. Maybe that's why it's a coordinating conjunction, not a subordinating one like weil or da.


Mizinamo - your English is better than most Americans. Bravo.


Really seems arbitrary to me. If the two clauses were independent, then the women never drink water even if it is clean. In English, distinguishing dependent/independent clauses depends on logic; in German, it seems the distinction depends on choice of preposition. The tail is wagging the dog! Or perhaps Duolingo has erred by making the clauses independent.


Why "are not drinking" wrong?


What was the entire sentence that you wrote?


the women are not drinking water because it is dirty


the women are not drinking water because it is dirty

das Wasser = "the water".


Why "nicht" was put end of the whole sentence ?


End of the clause, you mean? Because "nicht" negates the whole clause before it.


i dont understand why nicht is in the end of the first part. I think it supposed to be " Die Frauen trinken nicht das wasser, denn es ist schmutzig ".


think it supposed to be " Die Frauen trinken nicht das wasser, denn es ist schmutzig ".

No. The original word order is correct.

Putting nicht before das Wasser would be used when you are contrasting, e.g. Die Frauen trinken nicht das Wasser, sondern den Wein. "The women aren't drinking the water; they're drinking the wine."

But there is no such contrast here and so nicht before das Wasser sounds wrong, at least to me.


Why not, "Die Frauen trinken kein Wasser?"


Because the English sentence has "the water" (definite), not just "water" (indefinite).


Why is "as" instead of because wrong?


It's not, just a forgotten alternative. Report it so that it can be added.


5 years later and it's still marked wrong.


What exactly is "it" -- the entire sentence that was marked wrong?

There are accepted translations now that include the word "as".

Please accompany reports of "it was marked wrong" with a link to an uploaded screenshot that shows what kind of exercise you had (e.g. listening exercise, translation exercise with word bank, translation exercise with free-text input, fill in the blank, multiple choice, ...) and exactly what your answer was. (Upload the screenshot to a website somewhere such as imgur or postimage and put the URL in your comment.)

Thank you!


Why is filthy not accepted?


It absolutely should be! I wrote exactly the same sentence, only replacing dirty with filthy, and was marked as wrong!


Why is ''nicht'' at the end of the first part?


One of the longer sentences I've encountered here :)


You should try the Hungarian course, perhaps.... they have some crazy long sentences.


Very kind comment, but anyway you're right. Hungarian is much more complicated. But the difference is that lesser people want to learn Hungarian than German


Unfortunate use of the term "lesser people" which means "inferior people". It should have been "fewer people".


Why is "does not" wrong??


Because "the women" is plural.

"they do not" is the correct verb form, not "they does not".


Why not "..., if it's dirty?


denn = because, since

"if" would be "wenn" or "falls" (and the word order would change, since those introduce a subordinate clause).


I put 'The women do not drink because the water is dirty' is it because I didnt denote 'es' with 'it' that I got this wrong?


You didn't say what they are not drinking -- "the water" should be in the first clause ("do not drink the water") and not in the second one ("because ... is dirty").


Why nicht came at last of the first sentence


This question is old, but I figure the answer is important for others to see as well. The placement of nicht is rather tricky. Think about it this way... "Die Frauen nicht trinken das Wasser" would imply the women are doing something with the water, but they're not drinking it. "Die Frauen trinken nicht das Wasser" would imply the women are drinking something, but not the water. "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht" means that the women are not drinking the water and does not imply anything further.


"Die Frauen nicht trinken das Wasser" would

... be grammatically wrong. It means nothing at all.

the women are doing something with the water, but they're not drinking it.

That would be Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht.

That word order is ambiguous between negating the verb and negating the sentence as a whole -- German doesn't distinguish this any more than English does ("The women don't drink the water" also has both meanings").


Ammm, this sentence was already filled in and i just tapped on submit. Did this happen to everybody?


Why is it not denn ist es schmutzig? I thought the barn was always supposed to go second in a clause.


ist is still in the second position, its just that denn doesn't take a position; its used to join 2 sentences, not used within the second sentence.


Why is "nicht" as the end of the main clause here, instead of after "trinken." I suspect it has something to do with the "das," but I don't know.

  • 1922

Would "weil" or "wegen" work as well as "denn" in this sentence?


"Weil" would work, but because it's a subordinating conjunction rather than a coordinating conjunction like "denn", you would have to change the word order, putting the verb at the end of the subordinate clause: "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist".

"Wegen" would not work, since it is a preposition and not a conjunction, so it can stand in front of a noun but not in front of an entire phrase. You could say "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser wegen des Schmutzes nicht" (The women do not drink the water due to the dirt) but that's not quite the same.


"Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist"

Duo didn't accept it :(

EDIT: I am a dummy - that was listening exercise.


Remove the comma and translate it word for word and it becomes a grammatically correct english sentence.


"The women drink the water not"? Well, I suppose it could be correct in poetry.


"The women drink the water not because it is dirty" would be a correct first part of a sentence


That is true, but it cannot translate "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, denn es ist schmutzig". (Nor, I would say, "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, da es schmutzig ist.")

That can only be "The women do not drink the water, for it is dirty". (Or with "da": The women do not drink the water, since it is dirty.") Neither of those works well in English (for me) without the comma, either.

Your translation would work if "weil" had been used: "Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist[, sondern weil .....]".


Why is not correct the way I answered "The women do not drink this water, because it is dirty"?


"Das Wasser" is the water, not this water.


Das Wasser can be any of

  • the water
  • this water
  • that water


Why not 'weil' instead of 'denn'?


You could use weil if you changed the word order appropriately (see the other comments for details).

But you can also use denn. Languages have synonyms; it makes them richer :)


If denn=because, then why the comma?!


Speaking exercise does not allow enough time to say this


The text goes out of the box on pc.


I'm on the web version on my phone and once I tap "is" into place it blocks me from being able to tap "dirty". So I can't answer the problem unless I go to typing.


My answer was correct !!!


What did you write? What was the entire sentence that you gave as your answer?


"Is" is missing in options. Then how can i complete my sentence. "because water IS dirty.


I wrote "don't" instrad of "do not" and it was counted wrong.


In English the statement would then mean "Women dont drink the water because it is dirty." That doesn't sound good to me as a native English speaker.

That is an incorrect use of a contraction. The statement should instead be "The women DO NOT drink the water because it is dirty".

Hopefully someone can link the grammatical specifics, but for now I can just say why it doesn't work!


Yeah , I believe that the women don't drink the water, because it is dirty, is wrong because it sounds more like they never drink water


Why is, ( The women are not drinking the water because it is dirty.)



Why is the following sentence wrong?? The women are not drinking the water because it is dirty.


I wrote the "Women doesn't drink water because it is dirty". But it was wrong just because of using doesn't instead of do not. Can someone help me understand!


"Women" is plural. You can't use "doesn't" for plural.


"Women doesn't" is not a grammatically correct statement in English. The sentence stated is "Women doesn't" which means "Women does not".

Sorry I can't give the exact reasons why, but instead of "Women does not", it would be "Women do not".

The reason it is not "Women don't" is because that is an incorrect use of a contraction.

Hopefully someone will read this and tell you the grammatical specifics because I'm a native English speaker and it just simply sounds natural!


i wrote "the women are not drinking water, because it is dirty".. but duolingo did not accept it. why?


"das Wasser" = "the water"


There seems to be a bug in this question. All of the required words are not displayed so I can never select the correct answer.


Why is it "do not" instead of "does not", it doesn't make sense in English.


"the women" (with -EN) is plural.

Just as we say "they do not", we say "the women do not".

"they does not" or "the women does not" is not correct English.


All the words are not presented for me to finish the translation....sometimes women is missing, sometimes dirty is missing....


There was no word for water listed


"The wives won't drink the water since it is dirty" was not accepted.

"The wives do not drink the water because it is dirty" was not accepted.

"The women drink no water because it is dirty" was not accepted.

"The women drink none of the water, since it is dirty" rejected.

"The women don't drink the water since it is dirty" was accepted.

"The women don't drink the water since it's dirty" was accepted.



"The wives do not drink the water because it is dirty" was not accepted.

Indeed. die Frauen means "the women", not "the wives".

Frau means "wife" only in a possessive context, e.g. meine Frau or hast du eine Frau?.


Thanks so very much! בס״ד


my translation is the same so what is wrong . answer to be allowed.


what is wrong

Nobody can see what you wrote.

If you have a question about why your answer was rejected, please copy and paste the entire answer into your comment.

(Copy and paste, rather than re-typing, in case you made a small typo without noticing it.)


I never get it right when it comes to decide wether "nicht" or "kein" in some situations like the above. I thought "nicht" negates a verb, and "kein" a noun, but it's hasn't work out pretty well... XD


"kein" a noun

kein is used to negate an indefinite noun.

Definite nouns such as "the man, my book, this bottle" use nicht.

Here, we have das Wasser which is definite, so it needs nicht.


Would "...denn das ist schmutzig" be correct? I thought that if the antecedent (Wasser) was already introduced in the sentence, then "es" is replaced by the der/das/die.


"don't drink" was marked wrong. That is nuts!


"don't drink" was marked wrong.

Of course. Those two words alone do not translate the entire German sentence.

Or did you type any more than that? Perhaps the error was in some other word? Nobody can tell you since nobody can see what you wrote. Please always quote entire sentences.


I got everything correct except one letter, I wrote "den" instead of "denn" but got marked completely incorrect, but if I was talking to a someone from Germany THEY would know what I was saying, surely that's what we want to learn German for, to SPEAK it!!


I wrote "den" instead of "denn" but got marked completely incorrect


If a typo results in something which is a real word (but not the correct one), Duo marks it as a mistake -- it has no way of knowing whether you deliberately wrote den (perhaps because you misremembered) or whether you just forgot to press n twice instead of once, so it marks it wrong.

if I was talking to a someone from Germany THEY would know what I was saying

I recommend getting a human teacher who can actually speak German and who would know what you were saying.

Duo is a stupid machine. It doesn't understand any languages. It can only compare sentences against lists of prepared translations -- and if it doesn't match, it will be marked wrong, regardless of whether a human speaker would have understood. Its resources for correcting learners are also very limited. Human teachers, especially ones who have learned how to teach a language, will be much better here.


Current lesson seems to have some issues.. 2nd time it does not accept a coorect answer. I also took a screenshot of it :)


I also took a screenshot of it :)


Could you upload it to a website (e.g. imgur) please, and tell us the URL to the image? That would be very helpful!


The woman does not. Do not is not proper English and doesn't make sense in regards to the sentence.


die Frauen means "the women", not "the woman" -- it's plural, not singular.

"The women does not ..." is just as wrong in English as "They does not ...".


Weil or denn??? Please


Weil or denn?

Both work, as long as you use the correct word order. See the other comments on this page, please.


Why would: "The women do not drink the water, for it is dirty" not work?


Not really sure. The dictionary says that denn can mean "because" or "for."


Why is "die frauen trinken das wasser nicht, weil es schmutzig ist." is not accepted?


What kind of exercise did you have?

Was it a listening exercise? Then you have to type exactly what you hear, not anything else that might mean the same thing.

Please provide a screenshot showing the question, your answer, and Duolingo's reaction -- upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL of the image.


'Is not drinking' and 'do not drink' how to identify this difference


"is not drinking" has a singular subject.

"do not drink" has a plural subject.

die Frauen trinken ... nicht = the women do not drink / the women are not drinking

die Frau trinkt ... nicht = the woman does not drink / the woman is not drinking


This question was completed as soon as it was presented, all i did was click post


For some reason the choices had "the woman do not drink" as the english translation when it should be "the woman does not drink" or "the woman is not drinking"


For some reason the choices had "the woman do not drink" as the english translation

Do you have a screenshot of this wrong choice? If so, please share it with us -- upload it to a website somewhere such as imgur and post the URL of the image here. That will probably make it easier to find and fix the error.

It should say "the women (plural) do not drink", not "the woman (singular) do not drink" -- since Frauen means "women", not "woman".


Why "since" is not accepted?


Why "since" is not accepted?

Because you have to translate the entire sentence Die Frauen trinken das Wasser nicht, denn es ist schmutzig.

You could write "The women do not drink the water, since it is dirty.", for example.

But not just the word "since".


"Does not" or "do not" what is the difference?

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