1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "The hand lies on the table."

"The hand lies on the table."

Translation:Die Hand liegt auf dem Tisch.

January 18, 2013

5 Comments


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

As the hand is part of the body and cannot be (lie) on its own, except the hand is disembodied, Germans would say: "Die Hand ist auf dem Tisch."

Some German sentences in this context:

"Nimm die Hand vom Tisch!"
"Er hat die Hand auf dem Tisch" (where "seine" is implied) "Seine Hand ist auf dem Tisch" Maybe even: "Seine Hand liegt auf dem Tisch" But just: "Die Hand liegt auf dem Tisch" sounds very much like the disembodied hand lies on the table.

Some German dialect: "Er hat seine Hand auf dem Tisch liegen" (I would judge it as not "Hochdeutsch")


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

Why is not correct: Die Hand liegt am Tisch?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolfStriker1

You've got to use "auf" because a table provides a horizontal surface, which usually requires "auf." "An" is used more for vertical surfaces, like a window: "Die Hand ist an dem (am) Fenster."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zhgyt88

Why sometimes "on the table" is translated as "auf dem Tisch" and sometimes as "auf den Tisch"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolfStriker1

Because "auf" is one of those two-way prepositions. "Auf dem Tisch" shows that something is positioned statically on the table, while "auf den Tisch" shows movement to the table. For instance:

"Die Vase stellt auf dem Tisch." - the vase is on the table (no movement)

"Ich stelle die Vase auf den Tisch" - I'm placing the vase, so there's movement.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.