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  5. "Sie haben ein paar Kartoffel…

"Sie haben ein paar Kartoffeln."

Translation:They have a few potatoes.

October 18, 2015

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Why can't it be "They have a pair of potatoes?"


That would be: Sie haben ein Paar Kartoffeln. (with "Paar" capitalised!).

ein paar = a few;

ein Paar: a pair/a couple (of two).


And in addition to that, "ein Paar Kartoffeln" does not really make sense. Potatoes normally don't exist in pairs, they aren't sold in pairs, they don't grow in pairs, etc.


Well, that is YOUR opinion. I have ein Kartoffelpaar in my fridge. They even plan to get mashed together.


I could have two potatoes from a specific place. I could have two regular potatoes alongside two sweet potatoes. I could eat two potatoes every day for lunch. 'A pair of potatoes' is fine.


In English: if you say so. In German "ein Paar Kartoffeln" is weird (my opinion).


I don't know what the literal definition of 'Paar' is, but 'pair' in English just implies either some kind of loose relationship between the two things or that they can be seen as a set of two. So, 'pair' can be used for pretty much anything, provided that there are two of them and that they're grouped in some specific way.


What about 'She has a few potatoes.'


That would be "Sie hat ein paar Kartoffeln."


If you were speaking formally to someone, wouldn't "You have a few potatoes" also be "Sie haben ein paar Kartoffeln"?


Can I say "They have two potatoes"?


No, for two reasons:
1 "a pair" in German is "ein Paar" (uppercase "P")
2 "ein Paar" should be translated as "a pair", not as "two", because "two" is "zwei".

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