"Er gefällt mir."

Translation:I like him.

January 12, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I typed "he likes me" and it was marked wrong. Why?


Because he appeals to you, in a certain way, you like him. 'He likes me' would be 'Er mag mich'.


it is kind of misleading since Duolingo gives he/she/it likes/is liking as the very first translation of gefallt.
i do see the distinction in meaning, but i was guessing at it the first time i tried to translate gefallt, and guessed wrong of course :-)


You could just think of the grammatical structure of the german sentence.

Er = nominative = subject, he's the subject Mir = dative = indirect object, i'm the indirect object.


Wouldn't that be then, "he likes me?" Still confused.


A little further down in the discussion, I posted this link: http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/ It has a pretty in-depth review of the ways to say that you like something. In short, "Er gefällt mir" translates closer to "He is pleasing to me".


No, the meaning is more like "I like him". The German sentence uses a construction similar to "He is pleasing me", but that would not be a good translation, because in English that would mean he is actively involved in doing so, whereas the German sentence does not presuppose this.


He is pleasin to me.


That's a great explanation.


Yeah, that's exactly what a new struggling learner will think of.



Duolingo isn't trying to mislead you, it is the way German is. Similar to how they use the same word for teach and learn, it is the pronouns, that tell you who receives, not so much word order or the verb


It's the way several languages are.

In Spanish, 'gustar', meaning the same thing, works the same way.


And in portuguese we say it as in english. Eu gosto dela (I like her) -> Ella me gusta (She is liked by me)


Yes when I went into Spanish class and she started having to explain to like everyone that "me gusta" works differently than "I like" I was like "they can do it this way in German too so this is sehr einfach for me."


I was just thinking how German had many structures similar to Spanish. Es gefällt mir


We gave an identical structure in Russian "он нравится мне" (it is fully identical to "Er gefällt mir" or smth like "He is good for me" where "is good" will be a verb). In fact, we even do not have any equivalent to "I like / Ich mag" - both translate in Russian through the construction "(something or someone) is good for me (or someone else)".


German does not use the same words for "teach" and "learn". "lehren" and "lernen" are different words as well.


Duo give the most common translation, not always the most accurate (because "he appeals to me" is not often said in English). You could also translate it to "he pleases me", but that has a double meaning, and "er gefällt mir" does not.


Think of it like "he is pleasing to me"... it's the opposite way around to "i like him". They do the same in Spanish (which I see you are also studying), it's the equivalent of "me gusta".


Or the Italian 'mi piace' or the French 'il me plait'.


The word works exactly the same way in Russian


He likes me would be: "Ich gefalle ihm". Check this out: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/vi_04.html


I'm glade you showed me that. Other wise I would have never belived it. Thanks G.


A bit fed up with the various "gefallen" conjugations having very limited acceptable answers. This one should accept "He appeals to me" or "He pleases me" but both give a wrong answer. Another one in this set accepts "x appeals to me" but still marks "pleases" as wrong. I keep reporting them, but they're not getting fixed.


Agreed! "gefallen" is exactly "to please". I also keep reporting this. Don't know what Duolingo is thinking.


No, they are not exactly the same.

"appeal to" is a bit better.

But usually the best translation is to switch the subject and object and use "like".


Ya, I'm a bit overwhelmed too, check out the site above your comment that ends with vi.


is there a difference between this and ich mag ihn?


The connotation is different.


What is the difference in connotation?


I put "he pleases me" and was marked wrong :(


I put this as well and was marked wrong...is it correct?


yes, it is correct. My german teacher taught it as 'he appeals to me' but 'he pleases me' (although 'he is pleasing to me' is closer) can mean the same thing. In my opinion 'i like him' is incorrect because it changes the subject and object.


okay cheers friend


"He appeals to me" is the correct translation, not "i like him". These two sentences are not equal, "he appeals to me" describes the effect he has on me, "i like him" describes how i feel about him.


How does 'Er gefällt mir' mean 'I like him'?


The verb "gefallen" is somewhat difficult for native English speakers because we don't have a similar construct in English. (The romance languages do: Me gusta él.) It most closely translates as "He is pleasing to me" and that's just the way the verb "gefallen" works (much like gustar en español). Here is a pretty good explanation of the three ways to "like" something in German: http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/

I'm happy to try an answer any specific questions you have.


So mir gefält er can be used?


It's literally like "he pleases me"


"Sie gefällt mir" would be the female version of the sentence, right?


Correct. That would translate as "I like her", or more literally "She is pleasing to me".


In this same logic, does "Die Katze gefällt dem Hund" mean "The dog likes the cat?" or "The cat is liked by the dog"? Is one clue the perfekt form of the german verb?


Yes, the sentence "Die Katze gefällt dem Hund" means both of those things. There is functionally no difference between the two. Another way to think of it is "The cat is pleasing to the dog." I have posted a link several times throughout this thread that details the different ways to express that one likes something - it is a good read, and I (obviously) highly recommend it.


As a general guide to others also learning a Romance language (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.), would it be accurate to say the general way of indicating one person likes another in German is "he pleases me"? Some other languages below:

  • Il me plaît. (French)

  • Mi piace. (Italian)

  • Me gusta. (Spanish)


Still not accepting the more litteral "he pleases me," despite it being technically right... O.o


Would "gefällt" be more literally translated as "is liked by"?


Closer to "is pleasing to". He is pleasing to me. Here is a (pretty in-depth) explanation of how gefallen and mögen are used. http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/


Are verbs that have a prefix of ge- also used in the passive voice?

[deactivated user]

    Is there a difference in gefallen and mogen?


    Could this also be translated as 'he pleases me' where say a woman is describing a new lover?


    So then how do you say, "he pleases me"?


    this is, it's just not being proper, the verb gefallen is either to please (or if used with haben, it is have fallen.


    Yes! I wrote "He pleases me" but it was marked wrong. I don't understand why?


    I thought it was " he likes me "


    In the error message (ops..) Duo suggests 'I like it' vs. correct (as above) translation 'I like him', bit confusing


    I think "He appeals to me" would be better understood of in french " Il me plait"


    Oh it kinda sounds confusing o.O I like him ? Or he likes me ? Or we both like each other :D


    Could it be translated somehow like

    "he is liked by me"?

    (i know you would never use this sentence in english)

    [deactivated user]

      What's the difference between ‘Ich mag ihm’ and ‘Er gefällt mir’?


      i like him, he appeals to me - the difference is the subject and the object


      I like him. - should be the correct translation


      it is the translation given as "main answer" (cf. top of page)


      after listening to the turtle version for 5 times I went with "Ihr gefällt mir." first word is very inaudible! :-(


      I translated this sentence as He likes me. Is this wrong?


      Yes, "He likes me" is incorrect. "Er gefällt mir" can really only be translated as "I like him" or "he is pleasing to me". This is a tricky construct for native English speakers; here's an article I found particularly helpful. https://yourdailygerman.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/


      Okay, I get it now - just!


      Third example today of Duo giving me words I've never heard of and expecting me to guess them. Fill the blank, 3 options, no hovering possible. I guessed right because I was lucky enough to have seen it somewhere before. But I'm sick of my learning being interrupted like this!


      What confuses me is the the heading for this section is the present and this is the use of the dative.


      "Gefällt" is present tense, actually. It looks like a past participle, but it's the third-person singular form of the verb "gefallen" (which, a bit confusingly, starts with "ge-"). "Gefällt" is never a past participle form, by the way; the past participle form of both "fallen" and "gefallen" is "gefallen."

      "Gefallen" is one of several verbs that takes a dative object. There's no straightforward way to remember this, so unfortunately you pretty much just have to memorize that it needs the dative. You might look at "gefallen" grammatically as "is pleasing/likeable/satisfactory" so that "Es gefällt mir" = "It is likeable to me" (with dative "to me").


      < "Gefällt" is never a past participle form, by the way >

      This is not true. "gefällt" is the past participle of "fällen" (to fell).


      Ah, tricky tricky, Duo. You sneaky word-order-switching son of a gun, you....


      "He pleases me" is not accepted.


      Because this is not exactly, what the German sentence means (though the effect might be the same :-) ). "He pleases me" means, that "he" is taking an active role in doing something to please me. "Er gefällt mir" is only talking about me. It says that I like him (e.g. what I see). So "I like him" is probably the best translation, though the construction is very different from the German sentence.


      This made me feel like Cpt. Picard in 'Darmok'.


      I'm confused on why it is mir and not mich - and not just for this one specific example, this is something I struggle with.

      My teacher taught me that you take the verb, in this case "to please", and then to figure out if something is the direct object you asked what is verbed i.e. what is pleased? In this case it is me that is pleased, so this made me think it is "mich" (me as the direct object/recevier of the verb).

      How do I know it is mir? and is the above rule flawed?


      Just because "He pleases me" uses a direct object in English doesn't mean "gefällt" uses an accusative object in German. The words just don't work the same way; you can't always assume that words in two different languages will follow the same logic.

      "Gefallen" simply requires a dative object, which is something you pretty much just have to know for that word individually (as well as a number of others). German really doesn't care that the English word "pleases" takes a direct object; "gefallen" has its own grammar, with no regard to the completely foreign word "please."

      As some other comments have pointed out, you can think of "gefallen" as "appeal to" if you want a translation with matching grammar (i.e., "He appeals to me" avoids the direct object), but the most natural-sounding translation is just "I like him."


      Wow that really explains it perfectly for me, especially the last part. I definitely had the misconception of the "same" word using the same direct/indirect classification. I guess it makes sense for them to not really be related although I think this is one of the first ones I've come across that mismatch. Thanks again!


      Its the 'passive' way to speak the same idea.

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