"We ate fish at lunch."

Translation:Wir aßen Fisch zu Mittag.

January 11, 2013

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Why is "Wir aßen Fische zum Mittagessen" wrong?


Would "Wir haben Fisch zum Mittagessen gegessen" be acceptable?


You wouldn't say 'zum Mittagessen gegessen'. It's correct, but the doubling doesn't sound well, so your translation would be better as 'Wir haben Fisch zu Mittag gegessen'. This form is called Perfekt or second past tense and by definition, you use this to state something happened in the past, is finished, but still takes effect in the present. 'Wir haben Fisch zu Mittag gegessen und sind deshalb noch satt' - 'We had fish at lunch and so we're still full'. Here's a big BUT though: This applies only to standard language. It's very common to use the Perfekt as standard past tense instead of the Präteritum in spoken, colloquial, everyday speach. When talking to a german, 'Wir haben Fisch zu Mittag gegessen' would translate to 'We ate fish at lunch'.


Thanks that was so helpful, and the best explanation of the perfect tense I've heard


wonderful explanation. Reinforces..an important fact


Ist „Wir aßen zu Mittag Fisch“ wirklich grammatisch falsch oder nur eine weniger gebräuchliche stilistische Lösung?


I thought it would be am? Why am I wrong


This is an interesting peculiarity of German. For meals, you use the preposition "zu." Zum Frühstück means "for breakfast", etc. "Zu Mittag essen" means something like "to eat at noon," therefore "to eat lunch" as opposed to "zum Mittagessen" which means "for lunch." But in both cases, the preposition is a form of "zu."


After bungling the various forms of "zu Mittag" and "Mittagessen" so many times, I'd like to see a whole lesson exclusively on that.


how is "wir aßen Fisch zu Mittag" said in Present Perfect? Is it "Wir haben zu Mittag Fisch gegessen" or "wir haben Fisch zu Mittag gegessen"? Thanks is advance.


Wir haben Fisch zu Mittag gegessen. See reply to JoeOcher above

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