"Er gefällt mir."
Translation:I like him.
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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.
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)".
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.
This link has a pretty good explanation of the differences. http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/
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.
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)
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/
Yes. This link does a pretty good job at explaining. http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/moegen-gern-gefallen-difference/
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/
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!
"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").
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.
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!