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"Ich bin zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da."

Translation:I am not there at this time.

January 20, 2016

75 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

To (hopefully) remove the worst of the confusion:

A German sentence in the present tense can be understood as a statement about the future if there are other expressions or contexts that make it unambigously clear what's meant. The given sentence here is one of the most common occurances of this special case.

Imagine it is 11 AM and you have a phone call with your best friend who wants to visit you in the afternoon. He tells you he could be there at five o'clock and you tell him you are sorry but you won't be there at this time.

This conversation might be as follows:

A: "Kann ich später noch vorbeikommen? So gegen fünf kann ich bei dir sein."

B: "Nein, tut mir leid. Ich bin zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da. Ich bin doch donnerstags von vier bis um sechs immer bei XY."

Both conversation partners know that it is not 5 PM now and that they are talking about something which might or might not happen at that time in the future. "Five o'clock" is a very concrete time therefore B uses "dieser Zeitpunkt" to refer to it. B says further: "(ich bin)[...] nicht da." So the question is what does B mean by using "da" and how can you translate it. Normally "da" is a specific place which is not the place B is currently in. In the case of the given sentence the (given or not given) context gives no information what "da" is referring to. In my example it is at B's place and it's absolutely possible that B is at home at the moment. So why does he refer to his home as "da"? Well actually, I don't know. As a native I know that it is factually used this way, but I can only make half solid guesses why this applies.

I'd assume that it is something like a byproduct of using the present tense while talking about the future. The concept itself has to seem rather philosophical to you, so please don't be too surprised if I tell you that your home in the future will not be/is not the same as your home is now. It is only a projection of the current reality of your home, which is always based on the assumption that nothing will change in the meantime.

Ookay... I guess it's fine if you skip the last paragraph. Never mind and have a nice day!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pepe.pepon

Thank you for the explanation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AustinP.Gill

So kinda like the English in history books, "in 1969, the first man WALKS on the moon", there's a term for that usage, but I can't recall.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josh113410

The historical present.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pangloss

Thank you for explaining the German! However, we also need to consider to the English, which is very specific about 'this' vs. 'that'.

To a native English speaker, "I'm not there at THIS time" can only refer to the true present moment in time, i.e. now.

"I'm not there at THAT time" could be a general statement about what's typically true; or it could refer to a specific point in the future (using the present-tense-for-future, just like in German).

One could of course also indicate a specific point in the future with "I won't be there at THAT time" (using the future tense).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nH544

Absolutely this. "I'm not there at this time" heavily hints to a follow up clause, such as "I'm not there right now, but if you give me 15 minutes I can drive over there"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mz147

Even though you are competely, in German -> English translation, present tense answer should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

I don't know how widespread or colloquial this principle is in English-speaking countries (especially in the USA, where Duo is based). If it is still not included in the 'officially recognized' grammar, Duolingo should not accept it in order to remain consistent in dealing with colloquial formulations. You are welcome to research to what extent and where it is used and post the results here. With the right justification, such suggestions will be accepted and incorporated into the system at the next opportunity.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/johnoxbro

This is so helpful. Thank you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leoagneau

A not related question to your example: in B's sentence, why is "von vier bis um sechs" instead of "von vier bis sechs" or "von um vier bis um sechs"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithinJP

"Ich werde zu dieser Zeit nicht da sein." My brain needs "werde" in the sentence. I can't grasp the future tense otherwise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doublelingot

Present tense in German can be used for both the present and the future. E.g. Ich bin da. I'm here. I'll be there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hedup

If I am waiting for a friend in a crowded place and then he calls me and tells me: "Ich bin da" and hangs down, what should I think? He's already here or he will be here later?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jordan451678

Maybe it's the same as if a supermodel in a sauna says "I am hot", the meaning is ambiguous and would maybe only be used in a humorous way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chooch639215

"I am not there at this moment in time" got dinged. Seems like that should have been accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenNew3

That's actually a better translation than the given answer, since "Zeitpunkt" is literally "time point" (or "moment")


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry_Porter

Perhaps that answer was not accepted because "in time" is redundant. However, "this moment in time" may be even more common in English than the shorter version is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliT.Firefly

Exactly the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LawrenceWelch

A Richard-Nixon-ism that is closer to the German, and that was current for several years in the 1970's and 1980's, is "at this point in time".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rwhitlock

I answered "I am not there at this time" and got it right. This doesn't match up with the meaning of the given translation, "I will not be there at this time." How can this be resolved?


[deactivated user]

    Events in the near future, are often put into present in German. e.g.

    • kommst du morgen?
    • Nein, zu diesem Zeitpunkt bin ich nicht da.

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rwhitlock

    How would one say "I am not there at this time" then?


    [deactivated user]

      If you mean now, it's

      Ich bin jetzt nicht da, if it's some other time, it it is as before.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quiklingo

      I took this to be a message on an answering machine, "I am not here at this time." However, that wasn't accepted. Definitely a tricky translation with the implied future tense.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lannisturd

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is word order follows the TMP (Time-Manner-Place) pattern, right? Time: "zu diesem Zeitpunkt." Manner: "nicht." Place: "da."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalt213

      I am at this time period not there.


      [deactivated user]

        That sounds like something a flight attendant would say.

        • I will not be there then.

        is far better.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephT.Madawela

        why i will? if we tried it the robots would mark us wrong


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

        As in English, the present tense in German is used for an action still to come. Eg. "I am not coming" and "Ich komme nicht".


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelKou11

        Can someone please help me on the structure of this sentence?????


        [deactivated user]

          Ich (subject) bin (verb, present but used about the future) zu diesem Zeitpunkt (at "that" period of time) nicht da (There, and the "nicht" negating "bin").

          • I well not be there then.

          Once again DL's translation is too literal.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aleksandraem

          I said "I will be there." Is that wrong?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan.Sraml

          "I am not THERE at this moment" was not accepted. "I am not HERE at this point in time" was, even though it cannot be factual, and no-one is naive enough to believe it. Strange.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woods415

          da can mean "here" as well as "there".


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan.Sraml

          Sure, but the point is, no matter what place and what time you choose to utter the words "Ich bin zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da", you in fact ARE at THE place and at THE time of this utterance, as you, well, utter it. So you would describe the place as HERE, not as THERE, as well as you are describing the moment as THIS moment and not THAT moment.

          And that might be an answer to my original question: that THIS moment does not have to mean NOW, but possibly a moment specified in the course of a previous conversation distinctly enough to vouchsafe for using THIS instead of THAT.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dave_Ryan

          I understand that German uses the present tense to mean the future. However I feel the given answer would be translated as Ich werde zu dieser Zeit nicht da sein.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Framus1

          I am so confused on when to use which "at". Bei, um, zu, auf, in, an or mit!!!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen83116

          Is "Ich werde zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da sein" an acceptable and recognized translation?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

          Sounds good to me.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BobThomas12

          Can I get a 7 day streak freeze?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dahai69790

          "I won't be there this time." not accepted.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LawrenceWelch

          Suppose an event happens weekly at 3:00 and again at 4:00 on Friday. You go for the first three weeks at 3:00. If you're going to be absent the fourth week you might say, "I won't be there this time." On the other hand, if you will miss the 3:00 event but can make the 4:00 one, you might say, "I won't be there at this time."


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zappro45

          this hurts my brain


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George440392

          The order is so different than English


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel846468

          I am not there right now really should be accepted I feel. at his time feels really formal and stiff, Uness thats how it's supposed to sound


          [deactivated user]

            Funny, innit, when you fly anywhere, the flight crew say stuff like at this time, stow you personal belongings... ", and such and they mean now*?

            So doesn't this sentence mean I will not be here now ?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AtalinaDove

            Can you also take this sentence to mean "I have never been there at this time"?


            [deactivated user]

              No. It means, I will not be there at that time.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LawrenceWelch

              "At this time I'm not there" was not accepted, but "I am not there at this time" was. Hmm...


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry_Porter

              Because "there" in English implies distance from the speaker, whereas "this" implies proximity, you would have to add a distancing expression to make good sense in English: "I will not be there TOMORROW (etc.) at THIS time." Note how many of our discussants instinctively change THIS to THAT in their examples.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fr0stedFr0st

              I'm confused. This sentence looks simple present tense. Why is it future tense?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaseyBahr

              The exact same English translation shows up in different exercises. However, in one German version there is an ending "sein" and in another sein is omitted. What gives? I don't think there is a way to report this discrepancy.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

              I assume you are talking about

              "Ich bin zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da."

              and

              "Ich werde zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da sein."

              both translating to "I will not be there at this time.".

              In German, we often use the present tense to describe something that will actually happen in the future, if there is something else that clarifies what time is being spoken of. The first sentence "Ich bin zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da." literally means "I am not there at this time", which doesn't make so much sense in English because this understanding of time is not transferable. Not the same, but reasonably close is the absence of a German counterpart to the English concept of the present progressive. This is a concept of time that cannot be expressed grammatically, but only with additional words that mark the progressive element in German.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/f0xG3_PatG

              Can I replace "Zeitpunkt" with "Moment" or Augenblick" ?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

              No, I don't think so. While "Zeitpunkt" usually refers to a clock time, so that such a time specification usually has a margin of at least 5 to 10 minutes, "Moment" and "Augenblick", if they do not refer to now, but are part of a story/planning, are only extremely short periods of time, which usually only extend over fractions of a second.

              If you say "Ich bin im Moment/Augenblick nicht da." you are usually talking about now, while you are speaking.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/o0oKrishnao0o

              (female) Audio is really indistinct. I actually changed diesem to diesen after listening at slow.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janet240519

              In just the previous sentence the correct answer was "Ich serde zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht da sein" and now in this sentence is it a different set of words. Frustrating - the exact same translation to English with no context to help!


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hamid.mah5400

              Could we say 'Ich bin nicht da zu diesem zeitpunkt'?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cerenadia

              "I am not there at that time" is accepted. Similar meaning.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Haji_Paji

              which lesson teaches the context in which to use the different form of diese (-s/m/r)?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0Toole

              Why is "I am not there BY this time" rejected? Doesn't ZU (einem Zeitpunkt) mean BY (a certain time)? (If it doesn't, my dictionary seems to have failed me this once)


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archimedes88

              "I am not there at this time." I don't even know what this means in English. "I am not there at the moment?" "I am not here at the moment?" "I am not (going) there this time?" Or is it philosophical... "I am not here in this moment of time?"


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quinn254356

              I used moment (as "Zeitpunkt" has been translated to previously) instead of "time" but in this context I see no reason for a difference


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abby870033

              Do the ones in charge read these comments, or can you send straight feedback for them? This clearly says "I'm not", and not "I will not". This isn't future.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

              Well, in German it can be written in "Futur I"(future tense) as well as in "Präsens"(present tense) to mean something in the future. Since this sentence would not make much sense with the present tense in English, it is highly advisable to use the future tense to translate it.

              Our German grammar is a living example of the fact that one can (in one's imagination) completely move into the future and speak from this point of view. This is something which does not exist in this form in the English language, therefore it is reasonable that some translations of such sentences may be difficult for English speakers.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zalivstok

              At the risk of being picky, if a student presented me with an English essay where I saw "at this point in time" a BIG red mark would go through it. Bad style


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew709516

              In English you can say it in one of two ways: "This time, I will not be there", or "I will not be there this time". The former is preferable because of the Time, Manner and Place rule. However another way to phrase it is..."On this occasion I will not be there".


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapnDoug

              Leaving out "at" completely changes the meaning.

              Will you be at the meeting?
              I won't be there this time (but I will attend all the others).

              The meeting is at 19 o'clock.
              I won't be there at this time (but I can be there by 19:30).


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/magnus240060

              "I am not there at this moment" was not accepted. But this seems like a direct translation, why is this wrong?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aalves.tp

              Why is "I'm not gonna be there at that time" wrong?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

              "I'm not going to be there at that time". "Gonna" is slang.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ericsonn0

              ''gonna'' is not a correct form of English language. It is a slang ('street speak'), form of English.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cerenadia

              Because "gonna" is not a word.

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