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  5. "The hand lies on the table."

"The hand lies on the table."

Translation:Die Hand liegt auf dem Tisch.

January 18, 2013


[deactivated user]

    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")


    Why is not correct: Die Hand liegt am Tisch?


    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."


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


    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.

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