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"It can only be opened from the inside."

Translation:Nur von innen kann man es öffnen.

January 17, 2013

97 Comments


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

I don't understand why 'man' is part of this sentence.


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

A gloss for this sentence would be "Only from the inside can one it open" - rearrange a bit and you get "One can only open it from the inside."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann390834

But, the bait sentence was "It can only be opened from the inside. The sentence was not, "One can only open it from the inside." So, wouldn't that be wrong too?


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

Yes, why force a "one"? So is it said that a thing cannot be manipulated without one to do it? IOW, this is wrong (my offering) Es kann nur von innen öffnen. Because it has to state the "one" to open it, even if only from the inside? Is this a rule; or some Duo idiocy sometimes rule for this example only?

While Google translate isn't perfect, it doesn't need "one" to tell someone how to open it. Es kann nur von innen geöffnet werden. If that's a correct answer, I'd rather learn that this is OK, than to figure out when Man braucht einen 'Man'. ;-)

OK, I love Duo; but the one thing I don't like about Duo is that it can force any answer or translation they see fit; and it's up to the user to figure out why they're right; or if they're wrong. One cannot make a point without the other 'knowing' what point is being made. It seems here that the point is... "One will never learn German without being a native; why try, one can never figure it out." I think they could have done a better job; and iff the real point was easier to be made, they would have made it; so there's no real point to this. If they want us to use man... Man kann einen besseren Weg finden.


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

Okay, I'd be lying if I said I understood your comment 100%, but I'll try and hopefully clear up the confusion here.

There are (more or less) two ways of expressing this sentence in both English and German—one uses the indefinite pronoun (one in English, and man in German), whilst the other uses a passive construction:

  • Nur von innen kann man es öffnen.
  • One can only open it from the inside.
  • Nur von innen kann es geöffnet werden.
  • It can only be opened from the inside.

I think what seems to be causing a lot of the discussion in this thread is that the suggested German sentence uses the indefinite pronoun, whereas the suggested English sentence uses the passive construction. There is a reason for this.

Most of us can all attest that the passive construction would be the go-to variant in English—hence why it is the offered translation—however, the reverse is true in German; you'd be more likely to hear the version with the indefinite pronoun in sentences like this.

Of course this doesn't say anything about the 'correctness' of one version versus another—hence why both versions are accepted for both languages—it's just about frequency.


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

Thanks, I can appreciate that! And, after reading your reply, when I look at it again. It really is the English version I'm complaining about, not the german. The English sentence felt awkward no matter how I tried to translate it.

And what you give me is a very good rule for future translations dealing with passive construction translating from English, something I've been missing. I would say you understood me 100%! I often take trips down the rabbit hole; and some concepts are harder to explain; especially when as above I wasn't sure what was going wrong!

But, not only was your answer helpful; It was lovely! :-) Can you give me a pointer on how to use script tags to get those colors and bold. Italics is easy. Bracket with asterisks. Yours is the first I've seen with color and bold. I'd like to use those! I help out in the community when I can; and normally I'm not acerbic; but I have to confess that Duo sometimes brings it out in me with some awkward English, and now I think on it, it's often passive construction that irritated.

When first learning German, I would reconstruct sentences into an acceptable English that mimics German form. But, I've reached a point where, when thinking German, I think in German; and when I read German, I have a flow of thoughts that's strictly German in German construction understanding, as far as I am able and know the words. Recently, I've discovered that I find reading German, and thinking German easier than translating English if that doesn't sound strange. I've developed a feel for a nowness and definite directness; and conceptuality; and, I think this is a little weird, a concept flow in the structure that doesn't coalesce until I've read, or heard, the last word. Fragments of concepts appear during reading, then BAM, a complete thought. It's very fast. A gestalt if you will! I'm fascinated with it, enamored more closely felt.

It often seems that in English we hem and haw or colloquially beat around the bush in an effort to do... I'm not sure quite what? Be passive?. I find I often have to speak formally in English, dependant upon closeness of a relationship, often using: "One does, or one thinks, etc..." in formal sense because if a discussion invokes any kind of confusion from English, it's a misunderstanding of the word "you" when one means "one"; often taken personally as an accusation, when none is intended. A pitfall in English that I've found can only be avoided by going formal in my speaking, as there is no confusion when using 'one', that the sentence is not accusative(sic). ;-) Especially when dealing with even at some times, or perhaps especially when dealing with friends and family, if something has gone wrong and I'm only seeking the cause, and not the culprit! lol

A perfect example of this could be something as simple as: "You can only open this from the inside." meaning "it can only be opened, or "One can only open it from the inside." and by using "You can..." be taken as an accusation of a failing or inability that comes from within..." It happens at the oddest of times as if I've inadvertently stirred something from that person's past. 8-0 Like I somehow thought, "Only I can open it from the outside; you, on the other hand, can only open it from the inside."

So, thank you very much, this completely makes sense to me! ... but; please... can you explain how to tag in a Duo forum to get colors and bold face type? I would love to master that as it most definitely is clarifying! I appreciate your help; and anything else you'd care to offer. :-)

Sorry so long; I type almost as fast as I can speak.

Test one. ... and... Test two.


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

But, I've reached a point where, when thinking German, I think in German; and when I read German, I have a flow of thoughts that's strictly German in German construction understanding, as far as I am able and know the words. Recently, I've discovered that I find reading German, and thinking German easier than translating English if that doesn't sound strange.

That doesn't sound strange at all, because that's exactly how it is for me as well. I've been in Berlin now for just over two months, but even before I left the UK there were several instances where I'd be speaking German and want/need an English word for something, but I just couldn't find the word I was looking for.


It looks like you've already got the colours worked out, and that's much more complicated than the bold face, but anyway:

Format Syntax Result
Italics *italics* italics
Bold **bold** bold
It. & B. ***both*** both
Colour [color=#7AC70C]Kiwi[/color] Kiwi

Duolingo's Colour Options

P.S. This post by Hyllning is sort of the holy grail for Duolingo formatting. It's where I learnt most of my tricks back in the day :P But this post by daKanga is more up-to-date and has a lot more features included.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sirius16

Thanks so much for the explanation!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ppmd5514

Your German sentence: NUR VON INNEN Kann es ...is TOTALLY WRONG... The verb has to be in it second positio, IF any thing, without using one, man, etc ..The best grammatical german conversion is: ES KANN NUR VON INNEN GEOFFNET WERDEN....!!!


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

You obviously don'gt know the concepts of German grammar.
The verb is in second position. "Position" is not about counting single words, but about counting elements (phrases, that belong together).
The first position is taken by "nur von innen". This is an adverbial determination of place. And then follows the verb "kann" in second position.

This is completely correct, and if there is something "TOTALLY WRONG" (quotation), it is your comment.
(Es kann nur von innen geöffnet werden" is another correct way to phrase it. The given version emphasises "nur von innen". German is flexible in that respect).


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

I think it's the generic pronoun like "one"


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

My answer was: "Man kann es nur von innen öffnen". Is there anything wrong with this?


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

No, it is perfectly fine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kathrin978932

It actually sounds a lot better and more natural.


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

What is wrong with 'Es kann nur von innen geöffnet sein'?


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

Passive works with werden in this case geöffnet werden


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

But why? I believe both passive forms exist in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luna145449

,,sein" you have to typ ,,Es kann nur von ihnen geöffnet werden"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DennisLiu1

I wrote the same sentence. The only difference I can say is, that "nur von innen..." puts more emphasis on the "only can".


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

this is an extraordinarily stupid translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steve34747

The English sentence should be "One can open it only from the inside."

We haven't learned a sentence which would be translated to "It can only be opened from the inside." in German at this point in the lessons.


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

You make a valid point, and I agree that this sentence (the way it's currently phrased) shouldn't be offered until the passive voice section has been reached.

However, I do think this sentence serves as a good example for where Germans tend to use the indefinite pronoun, where English speakers typically go for a passive construction. So, if your suggestion were taken up, that element of this translation would be lost.


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

When making statements like this, do we always have to include the third party undefined ("man") to be the demonstrator? I wrote the "Es kann nur von innen öffnen" and was marked wrong (OK I wrote "vom" but was also marked for leaving out "man").

Is " man" the subject? And "es" a direct/indirect object? I thought es was the subject.

Thanks in advance.


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

You can also use the passive in German as the English sentence does. However, the passive would be : "Es kann nur von innen geöffnet werden". Your sentence "Es kann nur von innen öffnen" is active and means that "it" can only carry out the action of opening from the inside.

The literal translation of the model solution "Nur von innen kann man es öffnen" is "One can only open it from the inside". "Man" (one) is the subject and "es" (it) is the direct object (accusative).


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

Why is the generic "one" (Man) needed here? Can't I say "Nur von innen kann es öffnen"?


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

This lesson is really stressing me out. I can't help making mistakes regarding word order.


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

"Es kann nur von drinnen geöffnet werden". "drinnen" ist auch gut oder?


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

Genau so lautet auch meine Frage. Den Satz habe ich gemeldet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gwen921044

Why does “ Man kann nur von innen es öffnen“ mark wrong ?


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

Simply because that is an unnatural word order.

A 'soft' rule I've observed is that elements within the Mittelfeld (between "kann" and "öffnen" in this sentence) are typically ordered with the shortest elements first (i.e. "es" right after "kann") and the lengthiest last (i.e. "nur von innen" right before "öffnen").

The more 'reliable' rule is of course TeKaMoLo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DesertFox1978

why is this wrong: "Es kann nur von innen geöffnet sein." ?


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

the "sein" is wrong. German uses "werden" for building the passive voice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DesertFox1978

So basically you are saying "Es kann nur von innen öffnen wird" should be acceptable? i am not looking for a grammatically correct answer, i am looking for how the Germans say it.


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

So basically you are saying "Es kann nur von innen öffnen wird" should be acceptable?

No, he is not.
His comment simply means swap out "sein" for "werden":

Es kann nur von innen geöffnet werden.

i am not looking for a grammatically correct answer, i am looking for how the Germans say it.

In cases like this, Germans speak with correct grammar.

P.S. Please read through the comments in future, because your issue here has been addressed multiple times in this thread.


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

This is a totally backwsrds sentance man..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashwin1985

Really frustrating, I agree. I couldn't get the structure right till 5 tries and I still don't get why.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew476193

The translations and explanations in this lesson have truly been horrendous. Seriously, whoever was responsible for developing this lesson did a truly awful job.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bekir978479

''Es wird nur von innen geöfnet.'' what is wrong with that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jerome184148

Kann man "von drinnen" statt von innen sagen?


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

I wrote this as well, and it was marked wrong. I think there's a subtle difference between "innen" and "drinnen", but, in this context, I thought either would be acceptable. Can anyone elaborate?


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

In contexts where you only talk about the interior vs. exterior, you use "innen" and "außen".
"drinnen" and "draußen" are almost exclusively used for contexts where you speak about buildings in connection with activities you do there or different (e.g. weather) conditions there.


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

Thank you. Does this mean "drinnen" would be appropriate if talking about a door to a room that only opens from one side? Or does that still sound awkward (Like saying "it can only be opened from indoors").


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

It would sound awkward. If in doubt, use "innen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ppmd5514

This is totally absurd by DL... DL would be correct it the english sentence is: ONE CAN OPEN IT ONLY FROM THE INSIDE. The actual sentence given is: IT CAN ONLY BE OPENED FROM THE INSIDE. Therefore the translation is: ES KANN NUR VON INNEN OFFNEN.....
There is no MAN, WOMAN< ONE< HIM


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

Is "Es kann nur von der Innere geöffnet werden." wrong and, if yes, why?


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

Yes, "von der Innere" is wrong; the rest of the sentence is fine. "Innere" is neuter, so it would have to be "vom Inneren (aus)". "Von innen" is probably still better, though, although it's difficult to tell without context.


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

Why can't "Nur von innen kann es öffnen sein" be used. In reading the comments below, the explanation of using "man" is explained, but the English sentence does not contain the word "one", but "it". I would think that the English sentence should say "One can only open it from the inside". This would drive the use of the word "man". Someone please correct me on this and explain why?


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

"Nur von innen kann es öffnen sein" is not a grammatically correct sentence. It woild be like saying "From the inside it can to open be". :-)
The passive voice is constructed using the verb "werden", not "sein", in German. And like in English, you need a past participle. So the literal translation would be "Nur von innen kann es *geöffnet werden.", which is not the most common word order, because it puts special emphasis on "nur von innen", but grammatically correct and accepted as well.


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

Okay, this helps some; especially with German being more inclined to use "one" as opposed to English where we normally would say "it". I think I need a personal tutor until I can begin to think like a German and not American. It takes me forever to construct a sentence in my head before I can speak to someone...lol


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

Well, I think you'll get used to this by frequent repetition. This is one of the good aspects of Duo, btw.


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

I'm slightly confused how you read through the comments and missed the answers to your questions, but here they are:

Why can't "Nur von innen kann es öffnen sein" be used.


arisplus
...
I wrote the "Es kann nur von innen öffnen" and was marked wrong
...

Katherle
You can also use the passive in German as the English sentence does. However, the passive would be : "Es kann nur von innen geöffnet werden". Your sentence "Es kann nur von innen öffnen" is active and means that "it" can only carry out the action of opening from the inside.
...

ACube
What is wrong with 'Es kann nur von innen geöffnet sein'?

Gildesh
Passive works with werden in this case geöffnet werden


In reading the comments below, the explanation of using "man" is explained, but the English sentence does not contain the word "one", but "it". I would think that the English sentence should say "One can only open it from the inside". This would drive the use of the word "man". Someone please correct me on this and explain why?


AdamKean
...
There are (more or less) two ways of expressing this sentence in both English and German—one uses the indefinite pronoun (one in English, and man in German), whilst the other uses a passive construction:

  • Nur von innen kann man es öffnen.
  • One can only open it from the inside.
  • Nur von innen kann es geöffnet werden.
  • It can only be opened from the inside.

I think what seems to be causing a lot of the discussion in this thread is that the suggested German sentence uses the indefinite pronoun, whereas the suggested English sentence uses the passive construction. There is a reason for this.

Most of us can all attest that the passive construction would be the go-to variant in English—hence why it is the offered translation—however, the reverse is true in German; you'd be more likely to hear the version with the indefinite pronoun in sentences like this.

Of course this doesn't say anything about the 'correctness' of one version versus another—hence why both versions are accepted for both languages—it's just about frequency.


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

Got it correct after 5 attempts, damn the structure of the sentences are so different


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnAzar1

Why make the sentence anything but the literal definition?


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

Well, here are my thoughts from earlier in this discussion:

There are (more or less) two ways of expressing this sentence in both English and German—one uses the indefinite pronoun (one in English, and man in German), whilst the other uses a passive construction:

  • Nur von innen kann man es öffnen.
  • One can only open it from the inside.
  • Nur von innen kann es geöffnet werden.
  • It can only be opened from the inside.

I think what seems to be causing a lot of the discussion in this thread is that the suggested German sentence uses the indefinite pronoun, whereas the suggested English sentence uses the passive construction. There is a reason for this.

Most of us can all attest that the passive construction would be the go-to variant in English—hence why it is the offered translation—however, the reverse is true in German; you'd be more likely to hear the version with the indefinite pronoun in sentences like this.

Of course this doesn't say anything about the 'correctness' of one version versus another—hence why both versions are accepted for both languages—it's just about frequency.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DMR680865

Es kann nur von Innen geöffnet sein?


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

Please read through the comments in future as your question has already been asked and answered in this discussion:

ACube
What is wrong with 'Es kann nur von innen geöffnet sein'?

Gildesh
Passive works with werden in this case geöffnet werden


DesertFox1978
why is this wrong: "Es kann nur von innen geöffnet sein." ?

fehrerdef
the "sein" is wrong. German uses "werden" for building the passive voice.


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

Hmmm. . .what is wrong with, "Man kann nur von innen es öffnen."??? Just curious.


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

Please read through the comments in future before posting a question, as your question has already been asked and answered:

Gwen921044
Why does “ Man kann nur von innen es öffnen“ mark wrong ?

AdamKean
Simply because that is an unnatural word order.

A 'soft' rule I've observed is that elements within the Mittelfeld (between "kann" and "öffnen" in this sentence) are typically ordered with the shortest elements first (i.e. "es" right after "kann") and the lengthiest last (i.e. "nur von innen" right before "öffnen").

The more 'reliable' rule is of course TeKaMoLo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fang233345

What's wrong with "Nur kann man es von innen öffnen"?


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

word order. The "nur" has to immediately precede the "von innen", because that's what is referred by it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JBaer1
  • 1929

Can one use the verb "eröffnen" instead?


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

Unfortunately not.

"Die Eröffnung" refers to the (grand) opening of a restaurant or something like that, so you would use "eröffnen" in a situation like "When did you (officially) open your restaurant (for the first time)?"—"Wann hast du dein Restaurant eröffnet?".


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

Man kann es nur von innen öffnen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Picardo67

No, "Nur von innen kann man es öffnen" is NOT an accurate translation of the English. The English translation of Duo's "solution" is: "One can only open it from the inside." Close, but no cigar!!


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

Yes, the translation here is not as direct as it could be.
I discussed this here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael562841

Why is "Man kann nur von innen es oeffnen" incorrect?


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

This is an impossible word order. "es" should be placed directly after "kann".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClareSheph4

Nor were the hints any help at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael562841

Can I not say: "Man kann es nur von drinnen oeffnen"?


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

You would not use "drinnen" (except for some special situations like poems or declamatory words in a play), but "innen".
"Man kann es nur von innen öffnen" is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregoryEva8

Can 'aufgemacht' be used here?


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

In principle, yes. But "aufmachen" is not a good style, but rather slangy. The better term is "öffnen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaDavis831088

This phrase is identical to an earlier one, but the same translation cannot be accepted? That does not encourage me to continue using this site to learn the language.


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

can "man" be used as a translation of "it" ? This sentence is really hard to build. Can we have a few clues about the order of words in the sentence.It is getting very hard for those of us who have never learnt German before , poor self learners as we are! Thank you


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

No, "man" is not a translation of "it". "man" ´means "one" or "you" in English.
The German sentence is active voice. Instead of "It can be opened" it is literally "one can open it".


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

How can the "correct" translation of a passive voice sentence be an active voice sentence?!?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ANDREW-aus-PGH

Why was this option rejected: es kann nur von innen geoeffnet sein. Does "sein" need to be "werden?"


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

In German there are two different variants of passive voice, the Zustandspassiv (state passive) and the Vorgangspassiv (action passive).
The former uses "sein", and the latter, much more common one uses "werden". As we talk about an action here, it needs to be "werden".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ANDREW-aus-PGH

Danke fuer die Erklaerung.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dinghao42

Perhaps, if ' you, etc. ' isn't used ( ie." You can only... " ), then we have to assume that DL wants us to use the general form, ' man... '.


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

This is not good German


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

"Man kann nur von innen es öffnen" is wrong. Why? I just switched around the word order so that the subject is first like in many other exercises, but here it's wrong for some reason.

Since in the English sentence, "It can" is first, it makes sense to keep it there when translating to German.


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

The subject in first position is fine. But the direct object cannot be placed after the adverbial determination of manner. It needs to be "Man kann es nur von innen öffnen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Armelle47

Position of "nur". I wrote"man kann nur es von innen öffnen" Is the adverb at the beginning for emphasis?


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

The adverb "nur" is to be placed directly in front of the phrase which is qualified. In this case it is "von innen" ("from the inside"). So "nur von innen" must be kept together, no matter where the whole phrase is placed.
So both "Nur von innen kann man es öffnen" and "Man kann es nur von innen öffnen" are correct, your sentence is not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pepper3194

Why is "es kann von innen nur offnen" wrong? It follows the structure of other sentences in this and has all the words included in the translation. It means the exact same thing except it makes more sense.


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

It doesn't mean anything, becase it is grammatically wrong.
1.) "öffnen" (note the umlaut!) is an (active voice) infinitive ("(to) open"). So "Es kann öffnen" means "It can open" (active voice).
But here we need passive voice ("it can be opened"), which would be "es kann geöffnet werden".
Or you use active voice "Man kann es öffnen" (literally "one can open it").

2.) the "nur" qualifies "von innen", so it must precede it immediately: "nur von innen" must stay together.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrzej.trebicki

Don't understand why my answer is wrong... Why this app is not taking into consideration that English is not a mother language for all and for me really it means nothing if I even make a small mistake once still understand German sentence good.


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

Such a comment is rather useless, as long as you don't tell us what your exact answer was.
If you did, we could show you what was wrong and you can improve your English. If you give a wrong English answer, you can't be sure you really understood the German sentence.

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