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"It can only be opened from the inside."

Translation:Nur von innen kann man es öffnen.

January 17, 2013

63 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/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/Luna145449

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


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/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/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
Mod
  • 176

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
Mod
  • 176

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


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/jb39391

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/jb39391

Thank you!


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/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/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/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 176

"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
Mod
  • 176

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/HinterDir

This is not good German


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/DesertFox1978

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 176

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/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/iongantas

this is an extraordinarily stupid translation.


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/Steve32837

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/AspenDunn2

This is a totally backwsrds sentance man..


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 176

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
  • 1413

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/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.

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