Translation:You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
Into spanish we have exactly the same translation, "One hand washes the other".
Just interesting to share ^^
Exactly the same in Latvian: Roka roku mazgā. Like the Latin: Manus manum lavat.
In Bulgaria it is the same exact way. And we have a very popular child song whit the same words :)
In Turkish we have "Bir elin nesi var, iki elin sesi var." meaning literally "One hand has nothing, two hands have a sound."
Exactly same here in local Turkish in north-western Iran! "æl æle yuvār, æl dæ geyidær üze yuvār!"
In Arabic we say: «on hand can't applaud by itself» (يد واحدة ما تصفق) As well in French: Une seule main ne peut applaudir.
But in Russian it is also often used with negative connotations, meaning that one bad man covers another as long as they are parts of the same criminal or corruption group.
You are right Zirrex. Also in Latvian there is the negative meaning. Not only criminal but in general: if one has done smth not so good and the other covers it to get some benefits of that.
There's also the Zen question : "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
For some reason I'm thinking of the Bap song, sorry about the mistakes, please correct: "Ich geh unheimlich gern mit dir in die WaschSalon, Weil du hast ahnung von der Technik was ich nicht verstonn" (I think verstonn = verstehen in Kölsch).
Also in Albanian the same... "One hand washes the other, both they wash the face."
Zulu also has exactly the same saying, "hands wash each other". Although, the connection in Zulu has less to do with, you helping me and me helping you on return, but more to do with communities working because of cooperation from all parties.
I never heard that. Which spanish speaking country are you from? (me Chile/Spain)
And it's already an idiom in English, I don't see why the main suggested translation has to be a phrase that means the same thing but uses a totally different metaphor :S
I haven't been around much, but in my miniscule realm of conversation, it is far more common to hear, ''You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.'' I really wouldn't have had a clue what ''one hand washes the other'' even meant. But that's just me from Utah.
In my own small world, as a French Canadian, Duolingo's equivalent is faulty... I may be wrong, but I checked my French, my English and my German dictionary, haven't found an answer, but for me, One hand washes the other means some kind of forgiveness... The scratching version means what in French we say "Un service en attire in autre" or help me and I'll help you... Far from my idea of forgiveness...
The meanings seem a little different in English as well.
Duo's translation "...I'll scratch your back" is a kind of a proposition, while "one hand washes the other" is a description of at least two individuals or groups engaging in mutually beneficial activities.
The meanings are similar but the first is someone asking for help and the second is someone describing why or in what way some people are helping each other.
In my small Pennsylvania world, both phrases were equivalent, but one hand wages the other was more prevalent.
Metaphors use imagery to compare two seperate things or ideas. A lot of idioms are metaphors. The two idioms being discussed here are also metaphors.
In Chinese, we say "Fish help water, and water help fish"(魚幫水，水幫魚). Very interesting, right?
You need to learn something about the earth. :P Look up stuff about aquariums and nitrite cycles.
Acyually that is possible if you hit your palm with your fingertips fast (except thumb)
It marked me wrong for this! .. Apparently "One hand washes another one" is the correct way. Lost a heart. But reported it
To be honest to me this sounds the better translation than the one they give. That one just confuses me so much
I think, the idiom has a Latin origin (manus manum lavat ) and the original idiom is about corruption. Accompliances will defend each other. "One hand washes the other" seems to be the best choice. Of course there are some idioms about mutuality, which can be acceptable , depending from the context...
In Brazil we have something like "wet someone's hand", meaning to give a tip in advance, so that the person will allow us to do, or will do for us, something that is not correct, for instance, in the restaurant you may "wet the maitre's hand", so that you get a table before other people. It is about corruption!
That's exactly what confused me when I read the preferred answer and the comments. I've heard the Hungarian version only in the sense you explained, always with a negative connotation.
also hebrew has a vrey similare idiom "יד רוחצת יד" (yad roh'etset yad)
the literal translation is : a hand washes a hand
"Eine Hand wäscht die andere." is way better than "You scratch my back and I'll scratch your back" I always though the English idiom is Disgusting :D
Native (US) English speaker here: Since these are idioms, I can't be sure of the exact translated meaning. But from the German words, this seems much closer to "One hand washes the other". I guess "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" has similar meaning, but all of the words are completely different.
I think hand-washing needs to be made the primary translation, and back-scratching could be an accpeted alternate answer.
You can hover over the words for the literal translation, but this section is about idioms specifically so knowing what is equivalent in english (semantically not literally) is important here. Both might be nice to see tho, I hear you.
Why does it only sometimes accept the literal translation- or rather why would it not teach me the literal translation and then show the English equivalent? This portion is really confusing in that sense. (Ends good all is good- was not an acceptable translation for another sentence.)
Because they're idioms, and idioms don't always mean what they literally say. Like if you told someone "I'm only pulling your leg," and they didn't know what that idiom meant, but only knew a literal word-for-word translation in their language, it'd be confusing.
I was told the English idiom "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." lacks the negative connotation, which stems from the Latin meaning of corruption cover up "Manus manum lavat." Native German speakers, please confirm!
"You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" has negative connotations in English too, again relating to mild corruption, whereas "one good turn deserves another" would generally be thought of as positive. I've never heard anyone say "one hand washes the other" although bribery is sometimes referred to as "greasing someones palm", which will need to be cleaned off afterwards!
As a native american english speaker I would agree that there usually isn't that much negative connotation associated with the idiom. It can be used in legitimate situations of business/dealing.
"One hand washes the other" is a saying here in the southeastern US. I feel like "you scratch my back..." still has a slight underhanded connotation
So, is the German idiom used with a negative connotation? "One hand washes the other" in English is used to describe a deeper dishonest collusion. It's like a criminal organization exchanging favors for the police in exchange for being allowed to operate their racket. "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" often lacks sinister implications. It still may involve some "questionable" practice, but not necessarily.
In Thai, we say "หมูไปไก่มา" which literally means "Pork for you and chicken for me" Sounds weird but it means exactly the same as this one :)
Interestingly, Danish and German seem to share a lot of these idioms (such as this one: Den ene hånd vasker den anden).
In Creole they have the same saying “ han waash han" its a bit hard to read but cool language
I have long wondered what quid pro quo means, and now I finally know. Thanks!
"One hand washes another" - is a way better and closer to the original meaning
Правильный перевод - "рука руку моет". Привет согражданам! :)
Usually I've heard this phrase as "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." It's slightly less clunky than the one above.
I'm brazilian and in portuguese we use the literal translation of this german statement: "uma mão lava a outra" (one hand washes the other). I was wondering if it is also acceptable/common in english. Does anybody know that?
Almost exactly the same in Zulu. "Izandla ziyagezana" - (the) hands wash each other.
In Georgian: "one hand washes the other and both of them wash the face" - ხელი ხელს ბანს, ორივე კი, პირსაო (kheli khels bans, orive ki, pirsao)
Alright i was thinking 狼狈为奸, or something like bad people helping each other do bad things, or at least cover for each other, from what i read being discussed above... i am not a hundred percent sure i got what this original idiom means either
I am confused as to what this has to do with scratching backs. One, hand washes the other totally makes sense.
Wow, I didn't put the punctuation in "I'll" and it thought I said "Ill", as in sick. Couldn't there be a filter for these types of things?
In Turkish we use same: one hand wash another and the other hand wash the face! :)
In Hindi we have "Ek hath se taali nahi bajti"... One hand can't clap by itself. But the meaning is different from this phrase. It means that there are always two aspects to an argument.
Yo lo escribí literal: "Una mano limpia la otra", " One hand cleans the other" . La aceptaron como correcta.
Same in Portuguese. I also know this variation: 'uma mão lava a outra e as duas batem palmas' (one hand washes the other and two clap). =)
There's an old adage that says "Hand wash hand makes hand come clean" Which I think is supposed to convey the same idea of "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours "
I heard Vladimir Putin say it takes two to tango and i wonder if the idiom means the same. P.S I'm not native English speaker and obviously that Putin line was a translation into English.
"It takes two to tango" is typically used to mean 'you/he/she didn't get into trouble alone,' whereas "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"/"one hand washes the other" usually means something like 'you help me out of trouble, I'll help you.'
I am supposed to have a typo in something I didn't even type. Why do some of the answers fill themselves
Est- "Käsi peseb kätt."
"One hand washes the other" is also an idiom in English. It's confusing to change it unnecessarily
Well, according to the comments just English had got sick and tired of "hands" and changed to "backs"! Lol hehe
There is no "typo in my answer" which is said whenever I correctly put blocks of words in order and there is a split word with an apostrophe.
I genuinely don't understand why this doesn't use the literal translation as the default when it's a valid expression in English that receives at least equal usage. It's irritating and confusing to use a longer translation that uses none of the actual English translation.
How can I have a typo on an automatic answer? I didn't write it, I simply chose the words it gave me... And they are all in the right order...
Duolingo you are ridiculous. This translates perfectly fine literally and its just confusing when you translate something like this as anything but literally.
It keeps reporting me for some typo, while I do not make it at all!! I need to put the words in right order, so I don't even can make such a mistake...
Dulingo you forgot to put in the you what I mean is the correct answer can't be achieved.
what does it mean?? that you critizise the others without caring about the mistakes that you've made??
No. Basically means, that one can cover up the mess for the other, if the other person also covers his/hers. "If you help me, I'll help you" or in pre-school: "To avoid punishment, I won't turn you in for breaking that toy if you keep your mouth shut about my damage"
I don't think so. It is quite derogatory, like a cover-up of something illegal, e.g. corruption. The one taking the bribe is equally guilty as the one offering it.
That's what I thought first, too, as there is a similar idiom in Urdu with negative connotation. But I guess at the bottom of it, it still means that without co-operation, the task can't be done, both positively and negatively. You need one hand to wash another and you need someone WILLING to accept a bribe by the one OFFERING the bribe. Then there is "every drop makes an ocean".
I could be very, very wrong..
It feels like it should come paired up with "If I'm going down I'll take you down with me"
I wrote "you scratch my back and ill scratch yours." It said it was wrong because of the "ill." In previous lessons I've put "doesnt," and it counted. so why the sudden change?
because "doesnt" doesnt meant anything but "ill" means disease :D.so it thought its not a typo mistake.
Does anyone here ever say "Wash my back --I-- wash yours"? Instead of I'll. Or is that just me?
"Bagai aur dengan tebing".
Note: dalam bahasa Indonesia konotasinya netral (atau bisa dianggap cenderung untuk hal positif). Sedangkan versi Bahasa Jerman konotasinya adalah hal negatif.
Frankly, "one hand washes the other" (the more literal translation) seems more appropriate than guessing a similar idiom.
In Indonesia " lempar batu, sembunyi tangan" throw the rock, hide the hand.
In Persian we say nobody can scratch my back, but myself. کس نخارد پشت من. جز ناخن انگشت من گر بخارد پشت من انگشت من. بشکند از بار منت پشت من همتی کو تا نخارم پشت خویش. وارهم از منت انگشت خویش And then the poet say, if my Finger scratch my back then i do Not need anybody in my Life, and because he can Not scratch his back he Said, we must try to Not scratch our back and even i do Not need my Finger to use it for scrathing. And then he Said i am free and needless
I dont understand how the literal translation is not the primary correct solution. This is precisely why i gave up on this level the last time, this ❤❤❤❤ doesnt make sense one tiny bit.
I agree with the translation one hand washes the other... it means actually that together things are done better
It seems to be showing me only the full sentance and not each word individually :(
In other meanings. We have three forms of this phrase. One hand doesn't clap. Or it takes two to clap. In my language. طالی ایک ہاتھ سے نہیں ہے.
One hand washes the other is also an idiom in English. It's interchangeable with "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
If it literally means "one hand washes the other" which is also a idiom, why does it say "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"?
It doesnt exactly teach us this so ive gotten them all wrong because i didnt know what they mean
Can everybody help me to know the meaning? We have in petsian another idiom which says "one hand has no sound" and it means we need to do teamwork or we should be together...
It means- you help me out I'll help you out. Or there are two involved sides that both get some benefit from an illegal deal.
In local Turkish in Iran we have: One hand washes another, and that washes the face!
Would you be considerd normal if you said these quotes in everyday german conversation? Im going thre soon.
Seriously ? You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours Has the same sentence of use with One hand washes the other !!?? (¬_¬)
Seriously , Wtf ??
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours
Has the same sentence of use with
One hand washes another ??!! (¬_¬)ﾉ
I could not see the whole sentence in the pop up dictionary. I use mobile application with a mobile which has a rather small (cca. 5*7cm) display compared to new smartphones. What could be the problem and the solution to see the whole text? Thank you.
Seems like it is very common phrase worldwide. Just interesting to know.
We have in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a positive way to this proverb: "Gentileza gera gentileza = Kindness produces kindness", it is more than " uma mão lava a outra = one hand washes the other" because in this case, there wasn't interest by the other person in doing a favor.
If claiming to teach German idioms, should not just have what you consider to be an English equivalent idiom.. should have both literal translation and what the idiom actually means.. especially since this is a "special" lesson that we spend lingots on.
In Bangla, এক হাতে তালি বাজে না, but the meaning differs. It takes two to make a quarrel.
I was really confused that "one hand washes the other" in german should be "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" - makes no sence I think. O.o Also irritatws me that the bar on the app is so long that you can only see half of the translation... -.-
I can't think of equivalent idiom in Arabic. I don't think that "one hand can't clap" is really similar as we say it when we mean to urge someone to help someone or to accept a help from someone. In this satuation we just say "you help me (with this) and I help you (with that)" or refer to the meaning by any other way.
In Persian we have "Ye dast seda nadare"it means:one hand doesn't have sound(doesn't make any sound)and also "ba ye gol bahar nemishe"meaning literally :spring doesn't come with just one flower.
Wait...this says "One hand washes the other." Why was the "correct" answer something totally different?
One hand washes the other is also an English idiom. It's confusing to change the idiom unnecessarily
What does it mean? I suppose it is not the literal meaning as in one hand washes the other... or that i will scratch your back and you mine.... when is it used?
In Portuguese I heard "One hand washes the other and both wash the feet." "Uma mão lava a outra e as duas lavam os pés."
It says I have a typo mistake when I answer "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours".
One hand washes the other is correct and known. Why change it from a well known phrase?!