"Das Tier fehlt mir."

Translation:I miss the animal.

January 26, 2013

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why "das Tier fehlt mir" doesn't mean "the animal misses me"? since the verb uses the conjugation form for es


I think fehlt is passive, which means that he verb is acting on the subject, and then you put the 'actor' in the dative case. literal translation "the animal is missing to me" = I miss the animal


Probably a closer English analogue would be "The animal is missed by me."


the only problem is that i did put in "the animal is missing to me" but it didn't accept my answer. is this really "wrong" (not uncommon) in english, native people ?


"The animal is missing to me" or "The animal is missed by me" are both awkward constructions that would sound strange to a native english speaker. In common english the sentiment in question would be best expressed as "I miss the animal."


In English this is more understood to mean the person misses the animal emotionally rather than it being missing in the physical sense. Being "missing to me" is not a typical construction used in American English.


There is no passive construction or anything similar going on, and as a matter of fact there couldn't be, because "fehlen" in German is an intransitive verb, it simply cannot have a direct object. The confusion likely stems from the fact that in English "to miss" can be both transitive (with at least three meanings: "I miss you", "I missed the train" at "the sharpshooter missed the target", the last one can also be used intransitively) and intransitive ("some money is missing"). The German "fehlen", however, only translates the intransitive meaning of not being here (esp. when it should be). The fact that one of the transitive meanings of "missing" (namely the one about missing a person) can be translated with an expression that contains "fehlen" is just a happy coincidence, but the reasoning (and thus the grammar) behind the two expressions is entirely different, because in German you are saying that the "missed" person is "missing" and this affects you (the reason why "mir" is dative). In fact the dative construction with "fehlen" is the standard way of expressing who is "affected" by the absence, so for example "mir fehlt das Geld" means "I lack the money". So, very literally "das Tier fehlt mir" means "the animal is missing to/for/from me" or "I lack the animal", but idiomatically it extended to mean "I feel the lack of the animal" -- "I miss the animal".

In short, this is just how "fehlen" in the sense of missing someone (as opposed to being missing, being absent, lacking) works in German.

"Du fehlst mir" = "I miss you"
"Er fehlt mir" = "I miss him"
"Ich fehle dir" = "You miss me"


Thank-you for your detailed reply - the more information the better I can try to understand! I just wondered if all intransitive verbs behave in this way or is fehlen a special case


I definitely missed the target with my explanation. It's not about whether the verb is transitive or intransitive, it's about what the word means.

To better understand, take the words "to own" and "to belong" in English. Their relationship to each other is the same as between "to miss" and "fehlen " (again, when used in the sense of "feeling the absence"). If I want to "translate" "I own the bag" using "to belong" I have to change the grammatical roles of the nouns, the result will be "the bag belongs to me". That is because "to own" and "to belong" mean two different things, but their meanings are so related that you can use them (albeit differently) to express the same concept. The same happens to "miss" and "fehlen".

It also happens, however, that another meaning of "to miss" can also be expressed in German with "fehlen". The fact that two different concepts can be expressed using the same verb both in German and in English is just a happy coincidence.


Thanks again for this information - it seems that I need to go and study the construction of this sentence again and again


Well, it reminds of the phrase "something/someone gefallen mir" = "I like something/someone", so when I saw this phrase, I put "I miss the animal" and it was right :D


I don't think that fehlt is passive (if i am wrong,s someone please correct me). Felth is third person singular, present. It's the way the verb is used in German. Something is missing from me would be a more literal translation. The animal is missing from me. Du felhst mir. You miss from me. It's similar to the way French people use the verb to miss...Tu me manques. You miss from me.


Other way for this popular expression: Du Fehlst mir so sehr=I miss you so much(informal form)

Sie fehlen mir so sehr(polite Form)


I think that's because it's using the passive voice, and consequently you use the dative case. "The animal misses me" would be "Das Tier fehlt mich" but I'm not sure. Any native to make it clear?


"The animal misses me" would be "Ich fehle dem Tier".


This is similar to the French version 'L'animal me manque', A literal translation would be 'The animal is missing from me'.


So I translated it as "I miss the pet", since Duolingo says 'Tier' means either 'animal' or 'pet'. However, my translation was considered wrong because the possible translations were "I miss the animal" or "I miss the beast", and there was even a warning saying "Be careful not to confuse beast and pet!". Would someone explain, please? o.O


As I understand it, "Tier" means "animal", so is probably used when you mean a wild animal, whereas "Haustier" means "pet", or a tame animal.


How do you know (all) the possible accepted translations. A wild guess or there is a list one can check?


Whenever you translate something in the exercises, right or wrong, Duolingo shows your the possible translations. At least, that's how it used to be. I dunno if it is still the same with all the changes it has been through lately.


It usually gives you one translation if not allways.


Strange sentence. Not a good german one either.

You would not get that emotional over just "some animal". Very likely though over your pet. If you miss something that much (when you had a relationship with it), you would be way more specific about it. Like: Mein Hund fehlt mir.

Another example where this sentence could fit though, would be if you are a farmer and one of your cows is missing. But still, "das Tier" is to sketchy.


Maybe 'the animal' inside him/her. Someone who has gone passive over the years. :)


I could understand that sentence meaning a wild animal. we live in a rural area and have lots of wild animals that we see. there have been times when I have seen an animal regularly and then it no longer comes and I miss its presence even though I don't have a close personal relationship with it.


How do you say "I miss.." with the accent on I, so the sentence would be like "Ich ... das Tiere"


You could change the word order: "Mir fehlt das Tier". There is also the verb "vermissen": "Ich vermisse das Tier". "Vermissen" has strong emotional connotations, though.


I thought it meant literally missing as in lost!


why "The animal is missed by me" isn't correct?


Very very technically, it is correct, but you would never actually hear it anywhere (at least when using "missing" with this meaning of "feeling the absence of"). In any case, why use a stilted passive construction to translate the standard way of expressing something? "I miss the animal" is a much closer translation also in style of "das Tier fehlt mir".


Even more technical (literal) might be: To me the animal is missed. The animal is missed to (by) me. Literal translations can be helpful with dative verbs.


I don't think “the animal is missed to me” is more literal, specifically because it translates a completely active construction (“das Tier fehlt”, “the animal is missing”) to a passive one (“the animal is missed”, ~“das Tier ist/wird vermisst”).

It can help remember the meaning, but I think it runs the risk of clouding the grammar.


Fehlen is not means "to miss"; but rather it is "to be missed/missing" as in hints. For example : Wer fehlt heute in der Klasse? - Who is missing today in class?[Who is not here today?]


yes! so "fehlen" means to be physically missing something as opposed to "vermissen" which means to miss something emotionally, right?

could someone say in German for me something like "Tom broke his arm yesterday. We will all be missing him while he is missing from class this week." ?


Could you not say: Ich felhe das Tier?


Nope. Ich fehle dem Tier is possible though, it means the animal misses me.


fehlen as to miss somebody takes dative, so you could either have:

Mir fehlt das Tier (the word order is optional)
I miss the animal.


Ich fehle dem Tier
The animal misses me.

More literally, it's, "I am missing to the animal." You can imagine what you will to help you remember it.


Just to clean this mess up. The sentence does not use the passive voice (you need werden for that).


I think the problem is with word miss. It has too many meanings in English itself. I am native English/French speaker. We try to impose the ambiguity of miss on the verb fehlen and all the other "synonymous verbs". which really are not synonyms. Quite frankly person 243 has it right. Stick to the script...you cannot re-write another person's language unless you want to coin a new expression...good luck on that...


Fehle or vermisse... fehle is something is missing...vermiss is when you miss someone...isnt it so?



"Fehlen" certainly means "to be missing", as in "not to be there"—to say, for example, "the proof is missing" you could say "der Beweis fehlt". It can also be used, however, to indicate the 'longing' kind of missing, albeit with a very different grammar from English, reminiscent of how "gefallen" ("to like") works: the "missed" thing/person is the subject while the person who "feels" the missing is the indirect object (dative), so: "I miss it" = "es fehlt mir"—the underlying thought is that something that was here before isn't anymore (it's "missing") and this "lack" affects the person who misses it, so "it is missing to (read: having an effect on) me".

"Vermissen" is the transitive "normal" way of saying "to miss something": "I miss you" = "ich vermisse dich". Its passive form is also used, however, to indicate that someone went missing—and consequently they "are missed"—, e.g.: "the girl has been missing for a month" = "das Mädchen wird seit einem Monat vermisst".


This is genuine tricky German. I expected a trap here and managed to bypass it :)


Is this reflexive, or passive? I really don't understand the "mir" in this sentence


It's neither passive nor reflexive.

The structure is similar to "Das Tier gefällt mir". The literal translation is "The animal appeals to me", but in most contexts a more natural translation in English would be "I like the animal".

With "fehlen", it's a little more complicated as there isn't really a literal English equivalent. The literal translation of "Das Tier fehlt mir" would be something like "The animal is missing to me", but as you can't say that in English, the real translation is "I miss the animal".


Thank you very much. Since I am not a native English speaker, "The animal is missing to me" actually makes a lot of sense.


Could you say "Das Tier fehlt mich" to change the meaning to "The animal misses me?"


So how would you say, "the animal is missing"?


"Das Tier fehlt" :)


Same passivevoice-ness happens in french when it concerns the verb 'to miss' :D


why can't it be nominative please ?!!

like I would translate this into the animal misses me !!


"fehlen" = to be missing, to lack, to be not there

"vermissen" = to miss, to long for sb.

Das Tier fehlt = The animal is missing

The animal misses me = Das Tier vermisst mich. /Ich fehle dem Tier.

Das Tier fehlt mir. =lit.= The animal is missing in my personal space/view/ is missing for me/for my self.

I hope I could be of help.


I suppose that the sentence is correct, so is the translation.because when we want to say "i'm feeling hot" in german, it is like: mir ist heiß. So "mir fehlt das Tier" means :i miss the animal. Now "das tier" is put on the first position to show the emphasis.


After spending a fair amount of time researching fehlen on other sites, I understand that it essentially means "is missing to/from." In this context, I believe that this means more along the lines of physical loss rather than emotional attachment. So in theory, "Meine Schüssel fehlt mir" would mean "I am missing my keys."


it is something like: Das Tier faellt mir.


If you replace mir with mich, does the translation change to "The animal misses me"?


No, it doesn't. "Mir" is dative case and "mich" is accusative case. You have to use the dative case in this sentence, not the accusative case, so "Das Tier fehlt mich" is just grammatically wrong.

I miss the animal. = Das Tier fehlt mir. ("Das Tier" = nominative case; "mir" = dative case)

The animal misses me. = Ich fehle dem Tier. ("Ich" = nominative case; "dem Tier" = dative case)


Is this only because the verb is dative?


Yes, exactly :). "Fehlen" is a dative verb, i.e. it's used with the dative and not with the accusative.

See: http://german.about.com/od/onlinecourses/fl/German-Dative-Verbs.htm

The fact that the object and subject are "reversed" in the German sentence is just a quirk of this particular verb however.


Deutsch ist verrückt!!


Isn't vermissen a better word here? I thought fehlen is the literal absence of something rather than feelings of longing


Just like French: tu me manques which literally means you are missing from me

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