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  5. "Wir sind im Meer geschwommen…

"Wir sind im Meer geschwommen."

Translation:We swam in the sea.

December 24, 2013



Just so those of you leaving English know, "have swum" is almost never used in spoken English (or written for that matter), but rather "swam" would always be used. "Swum" just sounds weird but it is a word...


I failed this exercise because I don't know English. How humiliating.


Learning is never humiliating.


omg the fact that your profile pic is a thumbs up is the icing on the cake hahahahahahahah


Well, as for me, I have swum in the sea, so I guess it matters at what reading level most of your friends or associates happen to be.


I agree. I questioned the words existence.


really? Swum is the correct word? I would say "swam" everytime, swum just looks wrong...


I swim
I swam
I have swum

It seemed natural to me at least :/


Your example is very good. I tend to use swam and swum interchangibly, such as "I swum the race yesterday", which is not correct.


I'm willing to bet that in a few decades "swum" will disappear from usage altogether, being completely replaced by "swam".


It sounds like wir sind immer geschwommen (by the way i am german)


So, "sind" could also mean "have"?


It's a little complicated.

"Sind" means "are"... except when used, like this example, as a "helper" verb with a past participle. In English, the helper verb is always "to have"... but in German it can sometimes be "sein" - usually when the past participle is a verb that indicates motion, travel etc..

So it doesn't literally translate as "have", but for all intents and purposes if you were to translate the entire sentence into a meaningful corresponding sentence in English, yes, you'd have to translate it as "have".

Does that make sense, or have I just made it more complicated?


Sehr hilfreich. Das macht sehr viel Sinn. Danke, ph516503.


I thought that sein would only be used in a change of condition or location and everything else would be haben?


This article explains it:


I guess you would count swimming as "a change of location".


Nice explanation I must say. Also, if we use haben here"Wir sind im Meer geschwommen", does it make sense?


Ignore if this reference if you are anti-... but in the church, they say things like "Christ is come. Christ is risen. Christ will come again." English was once spoken that way too...


Do the German equivalents of those sentences take a different form as well?


I think this is like French, le passé composé. Être/sind and avoir/haben are auxiliary verbs.


What the difference "in the sea" and "at the sea"


I'm not a native speaker but from what I've learned, "in the sea" refers to being specifically into the water, swiming, surfing, sailing, etc. And in German it would be "im Meer".

"At the sea" only infers proximity. You could be at the shore, or in a beach house a few meters away from the sea, etc. And this would be "am Meer" in German.


Is that the reason why this is a dative case ? To indicate that the activity is under water ?
"im Meer" = "in to the sea" ?


In fact it's dative rather than accusative, because there is no directional movement. Swimming is movement, but there is not specificed directional component e.g. the sentence does not respond to 'Wohin'. If you said 'Wir sind ins (in das) Meer geschwommen' it would imply that directional 'wohin' sense and would translate more to 'We swam into the sea' e.g. from the river.


Motion verbs = sein Rest verbs = haben


Why not: "we have been swimming"? I use to swim "continuous" ;)


My inclination as an American English speaker is to say, 'We went swimming.' I would never say, 'We have swum.' And unless it was a very direct response to a question such as 'What were you doing at the time?' I would not say, 'We were swimming.'


Why is no one noting that "the sea" is "die See". This sentence's dative construction of "im See" can not mean the sea. Rather "der See" means "the lake", yet Duolingo will not accept lake in the answer.


Luckily this sentence is 'im Meer' not 'im See' :-)


I'm glad someone else noticed that---der See is the 'the lake' and therefore am See must be 'in the lake.'


How do I know whether a sentence is in present or past tense?


Through recognition of the conjugated forms of the verb.

That's one of the more difficult aspects of language, no? It's why children (and many of my ESL friends) say "I sitted on the bench."


How do we know whether to use "sein" or "haben" as the helping verb? Is it just memorization or is it optional?


Memorization, but with the rule of thumb that if it concerns movement, it is likely sein.


Irregular verbs should be phased out.


Perhaps you might want to try the Esperanto course.


Sea was not accepted it said it has to be ocean


Because Wir is "We" and sind is the necessary auxiliary verb when forming the past tense with a verb that indicates personal movement, such as schwimmen/geschwommen.


Would it also be possible to reiterate as "We were swimming in the sea" ?


"To reiterate"? I'm not sure what you mean by that.

However, in English, "We were swimming . . . " and "we swam . . ." are pretty much the same and are both valid translations of "Wir sind im Meer geschwommen."


Why is "We have swam in the sea", not accepted. If 'sind' also means have, then this should be accepted?



Today we swim. Yesterday we swam. We have swum in the sea and in the lake.

And sind does not mean "have". At all. It is, however, the auxiliary verb used auf Deutsch with the past participle for verbs describing motion. Z.B., :

  • Ich bin gerennen.
  • Wir sind gegangen.
  • Er ist gelaufen.
  • Du bist geschwommen.

English uses "have" [exclusively?] for main verb past participles. German uses haben for non-motion verbs:

  • Ich habe gegegessen.
  • Er hat gelesen.
  • Wir haben gesagt.


I was behind in my understanding of non-motion and motion verbs. I watched a Youtube video that explained it well. Now I am straight. Thanks for the response.


If you found the video useful, consider posting a link to it here so that it can help others.


I swam in the pool late last evening. I have never swum in the sea.


It is interesting that sein is used as the auxiliary verb because there is motion involved in swimming, but the dative case is still used (im Meer).

I would expect sein for "wir sind ins Meer geschwommen", that makes perfect sense (no pun intended).

If you were treading water (which would still involve motion, of course), I guess haben would be used? Correct me if I am wrong - otherwise, it's really about the change of location, but the change of location is more 'local' than when determining the case? Or is it simply the case that some verbs use sein and I am overthinking it?

Please correct any errors in my understanding or examples.


Dativ because we are swimming within the water, not moving into it (which would be Akkusativ), such as if we were diving.

The auxiliary verb is usually fixed for each verb, with the general rule being that if the verb involves a change of location, state, or condition, then sein is used. This article provides some additional details.


Yeah, I know why this sentence is dative, that was my point. We are within the water, not moving into it, so there is no change of location (as far as the case goes), yet the auxiliary verb is sein which is used for a change of location.

If the auxiliary verb is fixed for each verb, that pretty much answers the question. Thanks.


Sentences are not Dativ. Sentences have parts or phrases that are:

  • Nominativ: providing the subject, the actor, without which one doesn't have a sentence;
  • Akkusativ: the target of the action, without which the sentences is often boring and simplistic;
  • Dativ: prepositional phrases and indirect objects that further define and illuminate the central idea of the sentence; and
  • Genitiv: showing ownership of or by the other portions.

They also have verbs, of course.

But a sentence is no more Dativ than it is Nominativ.


Of course. I oversimplified it - thought that sort of shorthand would be acceptable in this context as it was clear what I was referring to (im Meer vs ins Meer) but reading it back it was a stupid phrase.



We are swimming in the sea??


That's present tense. The deutsche challenge is past tense.


Swum just sounds strange. I have probably used it only a few times in my life and here is one of them.


Anyone else not hearing/understanding what she said?


My answer was written exactly as requested....in English!! Ha ha. Still marked as incorrect


Never in my life as a native english speaker from America have I heard someone use the word "swum"


Hi Joshua24 Compare the following I have swum vs I have swam - In this case 'swam' feels wrong to me. I swam in the lake vs I swum in the lake - In this case 'swum' feels wrong to me.

I think it's called the perfect tense and requires the auxiliary verb 'to have' followed by the verb 'swum'. Similar to begin, began, begun. But as a native English speaker I only learnt grammar rules when I tried to learn another language, so my explanation could be off a bit.

Regardless though, 'swum' is not unusual where I live and work.


Here it goes in English... I swim, he/she/it swam, and they swum. If you use the word haben (have), then... 'I have swum, he/she/it has/had swum and they have swum". Does anyone else with an English speaking background beg to differ?


Just the rest of the English-speaking world.

"They swum" is incorrect.

Here's one of many references that might help.

If pictures help, see the Ngram viewer.


I havethe same answer, sohow can it be wrong


I don't know if this is slang or not, but I usually say swam, and I am wondering, is this improper English? Or is this formal English taught to Geman natives who may have created the course, and may have learned swum? Or is this British English?


Swam is "regular past tense". Swum is the past participle and needs to be preceded by a helper verb. Both are correct, but in regular usage "swam" is used much more often.

As a native (British) english speaker, I'd always say "swam". "Swum" needs to be preceded by "to have", so if one was going to use it, one would say "I have swum the channel"... but personally I think that sounds odd. I'd always say "I swam the channel".

The only circumstances I can think of where I'd say "have swum", is if the expression was followed by another clause, for example, "I have swum the channel, but it wasn't much fun" (emphasis on the word "have").


Bah! Usually Duo tells me off for missing the word "have" for these lessons. Today i told off for using it.


Some verbs--particularly those that involve motion--use sein as the auxiliary verb. Others use haben. One simply has to learn/memorize which uses which. Eventually the choice becomes reflexive.

As an aside, I'm not sure you really mean "tell/told . . . off". To "tell [someone] off" is to rebuke, reprimand, or admonish, and has the connotation of being harsh. I've had die Eule correct me, but never rebuke me.


gotta love getting your mother tongue wrong; is swum really correct


yes, it's the 3rd form of swim "swim-swam-swum"


Not sure why 'swam' was not accepted. Maybe it's an old rule, but 'We have swam in the ocean' is an acceptable way to say this nowadays. I've almost never heard 'swum'.


It might be acceptable colloquially but it is formally incorrect. If you've heard others say "We have swam", that doesn't mean it's accepted or acceptable, it just means their knowledge of the language is faulty.


It's prescriptivist. 'Swam' is more common usage, and it's well beyond colloquialism. It's 'accepted' by the general populace that uses the language. Language is fluid, not rigid.


I'd love to see some evidence to back up the idea that swam is more common in perfect simple constructions (have+past participle) than swum and not just anecdotal "I've almost never heard 'swum'." because I can just as easily say I have never heard someone say "I have swam".


I doubt I could give you any evidence that would satisfy you. Garner's Modern American usage has 'swam' instead of 'swum' as in use by a significant fraction of the population (from the 2009 edition) and includes several examples of its use in print. Of course, it isn't technically correct, because common usage is always ahead of academic acceptance.

But further, the beauty of language is its usage, and the point of Duolingo is to teach people how the language is used. Knowing rules is fine, but knowing how the language is actually used is just as important. Not accepting 'swam' doesn't make much sense to me as it is in use. 'Erroneous' or not, it's not just a colloquialism.

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