"By now we own eighteen cats!"
Translation:Inzwischen haben wir achtzehn Katzen!
Well, "by now" is used when something should have occurred prior to now. "So far" and "yet" are used when something has not yet occurred. "Until now" is used when something just now ceased to occur or is still occurring. (There are additional meanings, but those are the primary ones.)
What it means is that the number of cats hasn't changed yet. THAT is the something that hasn't occurred. If you said "Until now I have 18 cats," it would be incorrect. You could say "Until now I had (or have had) 18 cats," meaning you no longer have 18 cats. In other words, "so far" and "until now" are essentially used as opposites, not synonyms.
"By now I have 18 cats" means you anticipated that you would have 18 cats by this point in time and are assuming that is the case (although the implication is that you have yet to verify it).
So they're each quite different.
That would mean, "By now, we belong to eighteen cats".
gehören is "belong to" -- the subject is the possession and the owner is in the dative case.
So if you want to say that the eighteen cats belong to you, wir must become uns (dative case): Inzwischen gehören uns achtzehn Katzen.
Check this page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/german/grammar/verbcomessecondrev1.shtml If you search something like "german verb second rule" in google you'll find a lot more, this one is short and goes right to the point, so I didn't look at the other results.
In German, declarative sentences (as opposed to questions and commands) always put the verb in the second position. "Inzwischen" is taking up position one, so "haben" has to come next.
Alternatively, we can start the sentence with "wir" so that "wir" is before "haben," and then "inzwischen" has to come somewhere after the verb.
This sentence is awkward. Have never heard of 'by now we own...' in my life and I'm a native English speaker. If 'by now' was used to say something like 'should own a house by now' I would accept, but to say 'we have/own 18 cats by now?' instead of 'we now own 18 cats' is strange to me.
Clearly 'mittlerweile' does not translate into 'by now we own eighteen cats'. I used that word rather than 'inzwischen' in the fully constructed sentence. Either you were being imprecise or sarcastic in your response.
But my understanding is that 'mittlerweile' can also mean 'by this time'; I have heard it used in this sense where I live in northern Germany (SH).
I was being sarcastic because you were imprecise -- I had no way to guess what, precisely, your fully constructed sentence was.
Just knowing that your sentence contained the word mittlerweile is not enough to determine whether the sentence is acceptable or not. For example, the word order may be wrong -- just knowing which words were used (but not their order) will not enable any judgment.
Please always ask about entire sentences.
For example, if your sentence was Wir mittlerweile haben achtzehn Katzen!, that word order is not possible. But the problem is not the word mittlerweile but the fact that there are two items before the verb (the subject wir and the adverb mittlerweile) and that the verb is therefore not in the second position where it belongs. In that case, mittlerweile is not the reason that sentence is rejected.
Thank you for the detailed reply. and example. My complete reply was: 'Wir haben mittlerweile achtzehn Katzen'. The word 'mittlerweile' was underlined in the subsequent red bubble.
I was, however, a bit surprised that you in your capacity as a moderator decided to give a sarcastic response to my sincere question, particuarly considering how polite and helpful you usually are on here.
That said, I will from now on always include the full sentence, and I do appreciate your time and attention.
"Wir haben mittlerweile achtzehn Katzen." is one of the alternatives listed in the backend, so if it was rejected, I'm afraid I don't know why.
I have heard of a bug that causes correct answers not to be accepted sometimes, but I don't know under what circumstances. I suspect you might have suffered from that one.
Unfortunately, it's hard to do good troubleshooting here when someone reports an error, because the sentence discussions do multiple duty: we can't tell whether the exercise that the user saw was multiple-choice "choose all correct answers", or "translate English to German", or "translate German to English", or "type what you hear", or "choose the one correct word that fits into the blank", or "pick the image that corresponds to this word". And we don't know what the user typed. And the users often just say "Why was my answer not accepted?".
Ideally, we would see the same screen the user saw when the error message appeared -- we would see the question and the answer and the error message. But we don't. So we have to rely on the information the user provides: the more, the better.
Also, the automatic corrections aren't as good as a human's would be. When an answer is wrong, Duo sometimes changes a different from what a human would have, or changes the wrong word to an alternative that is very different from the word the user chose even if there is a correct alternative that is closer and may be what the user had in mind or was aiming for.
It's all a bit more frustrating than it needs to be, for all involved.
Sometimes I let it get to me.
Because the verb has to be the second thing in the sentence.
If the adverb inzwischen comes first, then the verb has to come right after that in order to be the second thing -- there's no room for the subject to be before the verb as well, and so the subject comes after the verb.
You can't use "gehören" like that; it works like "belong to," not like "own." Correct would be "Inzwischen gehören uns achtzehn Katzen" ("By now, eighteen cats belong to us"), with dative "uns." Also, German doesn't use a comma here.
Don't know what to make of the weird markings, but this is what your problem would be.
because that's not a valid position for such an adverb in German. Sorry, but I don't have a detailed rule for this.
The most common position is directly after the verb: "Wir haben inzwischen achtzehn Katzen." If you want to emphasize "inzwischen" you can bring it to the front: "Inzwischen haben wir achtzehn katzen.".
Why not simply Now we own eighteen cats?
Unless you are telling a story in the historic present, like some old 1930s detective story ("He enters the room silently. By now he is feeling a growing anxiety. By now he is surrounded by eighteen tigers") I can't see how "by now" makes any sense. The usual meaning of "by now" refers to something that should be happening simultaneously to the event under discussion. it should have started by now (by this time). He should be there by now (by this time, the time we are also in/at now). There is the idea of some sort of simultaneity occurring. Otherwise, we refer to the past: It should have started by then * refers to a time before* a past event to which you are referring, a sort of pluperfect.
Does anyone else think that the English sentence (By now we own eighteen cats) sounds strange and unnatural? I can only make it work by imagining it as part of a story told in the narrative present, for example: In 1984 we move to Hamburg. By now we have eighteen cats, but at least our house is big enough. Otherwise, the By seems unnecessary. How many cats do you have? By now, we have eighteen. I don't think so. Now we have eighteen or We have eighteen now.
The sentence does not sound strange, but you are right wrt. the expected context.And only in this context you can use the word "inzwischen" in German, which presupposes, something must have happened before. Without that you would translate the "now" by "jetzt" or "zur zeut", "derzeit" or similar.