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  5. "Sie wird Musik hören."

"Sie wird Musik hören."

Translation:She is going to listen to music.

January 6, 2014



I need some German advice. "Hören" can be translated into English as both "to listen" and "to hear". How would you translate into German the two following sentences?

He was listening carefully but he still could not hear the signal.

He heard their personal conversation even though he tried not to listen.


"Er lauschte sorgfältig aber er konnte das Signal nicht hören."

"Er hörte ihr persönliches Gespräch, auch wenn er versuchte nicht zu lauschen."

Instead of lauschen, you can also use zuhören, but I think lauschen fits better here.


Very well said!


....lauschte aufmerksam/ hörte aufmerksam zu - statt lauschte sorgfältig


der Musik lauschen = andächtig zuhören / das Gespräch belauschen = heimlich zuhören


Thanks for the explanation. If lauschen means listen to, I find the title of a book in amazon.de to be confusing.

Hören, lauschen, lernen - Anleitung und Arbeitsmaterial: Sprachspiele für Kinder im Vorschulalter

Why are both hören and lauschen used here?


listen is in Germany = jmd. zu hören and to hear is in Ger. = hören

so if you ar listen to a person you say "jemanden zu hören"


if you ar listen to a person you say "jemanden zu hören"

No. It is jemandem zuhören -- zuhören as one word and jemandem in the dative case, not accusative.


"Er hörte sorgfältig zu, konnte das Signal aber(/allerdings) nicht finden."

"Er hörte ihre persönliche Unterhaltung, auch wenn er versucht hat, nicht zuzuhören"

You can also use "zuhören" as a translation for "to listen" :)

  • 286

So how would I saw: "She will hear music."


"Sie wird Musik hören." There is no difference between "going to" and "will" in German. Both are "werden".


I think that the question was how to express "hear music" and "listen to music" in German.


The same way.

Musik hören could mean either "hear music" (involuntarily) or "listen to music" (voluntarily).


mizinamo, Are you saying that hören can actually mean zuhören?


No; I'm saying that the English word "listen" can is most often translated as zuhören but can sometimes be translated with the word hören in contexts such as Musik hören.

Ich höre Musik "I'm listening to music" does not mean the same thing as Ich höre der Musik zu "I'm listening to the music" -- the first just means that you're letting the music enter your ears, the second that you are consciously focussing your attention on the music.

(And Ich höre Musik zu doesn't work for me at all. Thus my example used the definite der Musik rather than the indefinite Musik. Conversely, Ich höre die Musik just means "I hear the music", i.e. I am aware of some music playing, rather than I voluntarily started some music playing but am not necessarily paying close attention to it.)


Vielen Dank, mizinamo.

German → English:

Ich höre Musik. = I hear music. OR I listen (am listening) to music.

Ich höre die Musik. = I hear the music.

Ich höre Musik zu. (Bad German)

Ich höre der Musik zu. = I listen (am listening) to the music.

English → German

I hear music. = Ich höre Musik.

I hear the music. = Ich höre die Musik.

I listen to music. = Ich höre Musik.

I listen to the music. = Ich höre der Musik zu.

From the above it appears that if you translate German → English → German or English → German → English, you return to the expression you started with. This is not always the case with translations. A correct translation generally requires knowing at each step not just the words used, but exactly what the speaker meant.

EDIT: a couple of corrections per mizinamo's reply.


Ich höre die Musik is just "I hear the music", not "I am listening to the music".

Ich höre der Musik zu "I am listening to the music" requires the dative case for Musik.

Otherwise what you said looks correct to me.


No; a separable prefix zu- does not necessarily mean that the verb takes an object in the dative case.

For example, Er schneidet das Holz zu. "He cuts the wood (according to the size and shape specified)." has a separable prefix zu but a regular accusative direct object.


Danke. I correctly used the dative but for the wrong reason. The preposition zu takes the dative, but verbs with the separable prefix zu may take the accusative or the dative depending on the verb.

The verb hören takes the accusative. I didn't realize that zuhören takes the dative inherently, so to speak. With German verbs you just have to know which verbs take what, although it often seems logical.

According to the Oxford German Dictionary, zuhören is intransitive. So what I might think of as the direct object Musik is actually considered an indirect object and thus in the dative. Is that the logic in this instance?

Btw, it appears that if you include the specifications for cutting the wood, then you might not use zuschneiden or the preposition zu. For example, Er schneidet das Holz nach den Vorgaben des Besitzers. seems the most natural way to say "He cuts the wood to the owner's specifications."


According to the Oxford German Dictionary, zuhören is intransitive. So what I might think of as the direct object Musik is actually considered an indirect object and thus in the dative. Is that the logic in this instance?

Possibly. I wonder what the dictionary calls verbs such as helfen or folgen? Does it call them intransitive as well?

If "intransitive" means "does not take an object in the accusative case", then that makes sense.

I'm not sure whether to call the object of e.g. helfen an indirect object or whether to call it a direct object that just happens to be in the dative case.

At any rate, however you want to call it grammatically (transitive/intransitive, direct object/indirect object), zuhören takes an object in the dative case.


In English grammar verbs are transitive or intransitive according to whether they take a direct object or not. In English "help" is usually transitive but can be intransitive, and "follow" can be transitive or intransitive, depending on the meaning. Transitive: Follow the suspect, follow the path, follow the rules, follow the conversation, etc. Intransitive: If a country imposes tariffs on its allies, unwanted consequences may follow.

As we suspected from the three intransitive German verbs zuhören, folgen and helfen—which take only dative objects—a German verb is indeed labeled transitive or intransitive according to whether it takes an object in the accusative.

Per your comment, what one really needs to know about a German verb is not transitive or intransitive, but its valency.

The valency of a German verb is the number and type of complements the verb needs to form a grammatical sentence. Geben has three: a subject, an object in the accusative, and an object in the dative, whereas telefonieren has only a subject. —from Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, a 600-page tome that is starting to come in handy. 8-)

Zuhören, folgen and helfen have two: a subject and an object in the dative.


I would translate Er schneidet das Holz nach/gemäß den Vorgaben des Besitzers as "He cuts the wood according to the owner's specifications".

For "He cuts the wood to the owner's specifications", I would use zuschneiden: Er schneidet das Holz nach den Vorgaben des Besitzers zu.

schneiden is just cutting while zuschneiden adds the notion that you are doing it deliberately with a certain end shape in mind.


"Sie wird die Musik hören"


Is my translation: She will listen to the music, really wrong?


And would "She will listen to music." be ok? I'm not a native English speaker, is that something that doesn't sound well in English?


Yep, that's good English. katarzynapz put a definite article where there wasn't one, though.


What will be the translations of the following: - She is going to listen to music. - She will listen to music. (The two sentences are essentially not the same, even though they might be in a certain context. "is going to" implies something is going to happen in the very near future, about as soon as the sentence is said. "will" is more formal and can imply a long term future. For example, Sally will go to the market means she might do it today, tomorrow, next week maybe fifty years later. But Sally is going to go to the market means that she is just leaving for the market, or preparing to leave. It can imply long term future too, but "will" would be more appropriate for that. PS: I explained the English usage for any native German speakers who wish to answer but are unsure of the nuances of English. Hopefully it helps.

Can someone please let me know what the equivalents would be for the above mentioned sentences?

Thanks in advance.


Quoting mizinamo from three years ago:

German doesn't have separate "will" and "going to" futures, so the single German future can map to either of those English ones.


Aber nur wenn sie laut ist!


Why doesn't "Sie wird Musik hören." translate to "She will listen to music? And why doesn't "Sie geht um Musik zu hören." translate to "She is going to listen to music."?

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