https://www.duolingo.com/MagicalMaya13

Commas in German

I have been doing a lot of Immersion lately, and I noticed that there were a lot of extra commas that you wouldn't see in English. I have also seen it in some sentences in my Duolingo lessons. Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone know why?

April 9, 2016

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/nicolas_jk

The only Germans who know where to set commas correctly are teachers and professional writers.

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/gisberth

I agree, most of them are not really necessary and I do not set all of them. But to write correctly you have to follow all these fancy rules, as they are regarded as a must.

http://www.duden.de/sprachwissen/rechtschreibregeln/komma

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sonnrain

Of course they are necessary! I can't understand why English does not put commas where you clearly need one! (If that sentence had been in German, there would have been two commas in it.)

[scnr]

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sueefo

"I can't understand, why English does not put commas, where you clearly need one!" No no no it just doesn't work in English.

Another factor is that in English informal writing we often omit the "that" which introduces the subordinate or relative clause whereas in German you need the "dass":

"He told me [that] he'd pick me up at 8:00."

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sonnrain

I'm sorry, it obviously wasn't clear: I intended to show that gisberth's reply to the OP ("most of them [the commas in German] are not really necessary") is just their opinion.

Of course every language has its own punctuation rules, some are easy to understand, some seem just arbitrary. I myself happen to like German punctuation.

What I mean is: Why would English put a comma here: "In the afternoon, I always take my tea." and not here: "I wonder why some people don't like German comma rules." ?

The answer to that is, of course: it just does.

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/gisberth

I always thought the dropping of the that being an old subjunctive, or however that's called in English, in which case it isn't needed in German as well, though it is very sparsely used nowadays.

Er sagte mir, er hole mich um 8 Uhr ab. - Er sagte mir, dass er mich um 8 Uhr abhole.

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sueefo

I was under the impression that the "dass" was always needed but from your translation of my sentence I can see that's not the case.

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MagicalMaya13

hmmm.. interesting. Never knew that

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MagicalMaya13

Danke!

April 9, 2016
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