1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Darf ich dich zum Abendessen…

"Darf ich dich zum Abendessen einladen?"

Translation:May I invite you to dinner?

January 24, 2014

75 Comments


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

Duolinguo and chill


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

Why is "May i invite you to the dinner?" wrong when in sentence is used "zum Abendessen"? (It shows that I didn't need to use "the" in the sentence)


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

Your version is the literal translation. However, "May i invite you to dinner?" can not be translated literally to German. {Darf ich dich zu _ Abendessen einladen?} would be wrong. The translation presented by duolingo is the idomatically correct one.

"May I invite you to the dinner?" seems to stress this very dinner. I would translate that by seperating "zum" to "zu dem". "Darf ich dich zu dem Abendessen einladen?"

Even more stressed: "May I invite you to this dinner?" - "Darf ich dich zu diesem Abendessen einladen?"


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

Thank You for explaining. :) Now I got the idea. :)


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

I found the question a bit confusing too! :)


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

It's getting on my nerves that sometimes Duo requires literal translations and sometimes not. I do know how to use articles in English and I hate getting sentences wrong just because of missed "the" even if it doesn't fit in English. Now I included the article and it was marked wrong again.


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

It is not Duo, arbitrariness is the spirit of every language on earth, excepting Esperanto and Volapuk.


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

Why is the verb here at the end of the sentence? There's no word like sowie or sobald to flip the order....


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

Germans like to have the most important information at the very very end of the sentence. This is a major difference to English and most other languages. Since the verb has all the action it is often found at the very end. There a several strategies to move the verb from its normal 2nd position in a main sentence to the end. A side sentence is only one of them.

  1. Side sentence

Ich glaube, dass ich dich zum Abendessen einlade. I believe that I invite you to dinner.

'2. Modal verb (dürfen, können, sollen, müssen...) combined with infinitve of a second verb. This is what happened in the question sentence above. In general question sentences without question words (wie, was, warum...) the finite (conjugated) verb "darf" moves from second to first place. The infinitve "einladen" moves to the end, anyway.

Darf ich dich zum Abendessen einladen? May I invite you to dinner? (question form)

Ich darf dich zum Abendessen einladen. I may invite you to dinner. (normal main sentence)

'3. Extended inifinitive: with none-modal verbs and "zu"+infinitve of a second verb. This infinitve structure is separated by a comma, but there is no conjunction like "dass, weil, obwohl,...". If the infinitive verb (einladen) has a separable prefix (ein-), the "zu" squishes in between.

Ich freue mich, dich zum Abendessen einzuladen. I am happy to invite you to dinner.

'4. Perfekt tense moves the important part of the verb (participle) to the end. Second place is held by the finite less informative auxiliary verb "haben" or "sein".

Ich habe dich zum Abendessen eingeladen. I have invited you to dinner.

'5. Separable prefixes (ein-) can be split off the verb (einladen) and again move to the end of the sentence. You can not be sure which verb it really is (laden or einladen) until you hear the very end of the sentence.

Ich lade dich zum Abendessen ein. I invite you to dinner. Ich lade das Auto. I load the car.

'6. The negation is often at the very end, which changes everything you have heard to the opposite.

Ich glaube dir diese Geschichte nicht. I do not believe you this story.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ianb502

Damn...this will be a challege, at least with french its just more so getting the gender term right, danke!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emmanuelle675133

Awesome explanation. Thankyou so much.


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

but, is it fine if I say "darf i einladen dich zum abendessen?"


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

but, is it fine if I say "darf i einladen dich zum abendessen?"

Read point 2 of fenix_vulgaris's comment again.

Key point:

The infinitve "einladen" moves to the end

Also, i is not standard German; it has to be ich.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adriaan505730

Auxillary verbs also cause the infinitive to move to the end of the sentence. Here "dürfen" (darf) causes "einladen" to move to the end. Mögen (möchte), wollen, können, sollen, werden etc. would all have the same effect


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

These verbs (dürfen, mögen, können, sollen...) are called modal verbs. The German auxiliary verbs are "sein", "haben" and "werden". Otherwise, you are correct. (check number 2. and 4.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

In English, at least, modal verbs are considered to be a class of auxiliary verbs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs


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

Interesting, different traditions. I didn't know that.


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

It always feels awkward doing these where Duo is asking you out to dinner and such...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YehonatanA4

secretly duo is asking you out


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

"May I invite you to dinner" is the pinnacle of respectful courting. You must ask permission before asking someone to dinner, unlike those peasants who simply ask someone to a meal without asking for permission to ask them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/UBK10

More respectful would be to first ask if it is ok to ask.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Apostolia172474

No no first you ask them to give you a communication license so you now posses the right to talk to them otherwise further legal action must be taken


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

I find the way it's worded a bit confusing. Why not Darf ich einladen dich zum Abendessen?


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

No, that would be English word order imposed on German. If you have to verbs in a sentence, the conjugated verb "darf" gets the 2nd position in a normal main sentence and the dependent infinitive "einladen" is put into the end position. Here, you have a question form with "Darf" in first position, but still "einladen" has to go to the end.


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

Thank you! That helped me a lot!


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

May I take you to dinner, incorrect because i didn't say "out to dinner" even though meaning is the same. It's like spoken shorthand.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/m.wilkinson168

There's a bunch of correct translations, and yours is perfectly fine. The program just accepts a few, some of which I would personally question...

I just got marked wrong for "May I invite you out for dinner?"

Neither are 'word for word' translations, but with this kind of exercise based on conversational English/German there should be a broader scope for correct versions said differently.


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

take is not the correct translation for einladen


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

In an idiomatic translation it can be.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Well, technically it puts the focus elsewhere though. You are going to dinner? Why don't I take you there? I am going that way.

The focus here is permission to invite you to dinner or "to go out with you" to dinner. So, you are putting the focus on how to get there while the focus here is whether you would go out with me to dinner.


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

if you make the literal translation you will notice that sometimes Germans talk like Master Yoda. ''May I you to dinner invite?''


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

why doesn't .. to a dinner?.. pass


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

What's the difference between zu and zum?


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

"zu" is (among other things) a preposition meaning "to"

"zum" is a contraction of "zu + dem" meaning "to the". (singular, masculine or neuter)

"zur" is a contraction of "zu + der" also meaning "to the" but (singular, feminine)


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

Why is it that when I click on the conjugate button of the verb 'einladen', I get the verb conjugated as 'lade ein', 'lädst ein', etc? Is it a mistake?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

This verb has a separable prefix so without the modal verb "darf", you would see that type of conjugation with "ein" at the end of the sentence, but since "darf" is the conjugated part of the verb the whole infinitive form goes to the end of the sentence.


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

A translation I used (I learned this in high school) was "Am I allowed to invite you to dinner?" It works, makes sense, although "may" is a little more real-word-scenario. I believe this answer needs to be added to the list of possibilities for correct answers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rackpc93

Why does "zum Abendessen einladen" go after dich?


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

Pronouns (like dich, mich, sich, dir, mir, ihr...) usually come early in the sentence, but otherwise you put the more important and new information in end. Still, the object before prepositional object is the more usual word order.

http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Satz/Wortstellung/Stellungsfeld/Mittelfeld/index.html?lang=en

Darf ich Thomas zum Abendessen einladen? May I invite Thomas for dinner? (We know Thomas, the dinner idea is new)

Darf ich zum Abendessen Thomas einladen? (We know there is a dinner, the idea to include Thomas is new)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sanya.starlight

Roy Mustang's dialogue


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoanFerrer5

"May I invite you to have dinner?" is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

It might be right, but then they will also have to take "May I invite you to eat dinner?" I think it changes the focus of the sentence a bit though. Here the focus is on permission to ask someone out, in this case to dinner, but when you say "to have dinner" or "to eat dinner" which could be correct, the focus is on what you are going to do.


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

Zu and Zum... Someone could explain here?


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

Zu means to.
Zum means to the.
zu + dem = zum
Zum is a contraction of the preposition zu, which is governed by dative, and the dative masculine or neuter definitive article "dem".

Similarly,
zur = zu + der
for the feminine dative singular definite article "der". ("der" is the same form as the nominative masculine or the feminie genetive singular articles, but they don't apply here.)


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

You may, but I'll decline.


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

What about, may I buy you dinner?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

The focus here is permission to go out with you to dinner. Now you are going to mention who is paying for the dinner, not always wise in these modern times. What? You don't think I can pay for my own dinner?


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

Sounds a bit strange to say in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/extremegamer87

that made no sence what so ever


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/charley_s2

Why is: ,,May I invite you to have dinner'' wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobinB896941

It sounds like an hotel waiter asking a room guest "May I invite you to take dinner?" just before the meal. The invitation is to join other guests for dinner; the waiter won't be eating with you. This is no pickup line!


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

Darf ich dich zum abendessen einlanden?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobinB896941

Ich will aber bei dir landen! ;-)


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

can i invite you to a dinner

Why isnt that correct ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

"zum" means "to the", but we don't bother to use an article there. The English expression uses "to dinner"


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

Why is it "einladen" and not "Ich lade"?


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

darf ich ... einladen? = may i invite ...?

it's exactly like the english sentence, put aside the word order. may i + infinitive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hsl183

Would you like to go out to dinner with me???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobinB896941

That would be "Möchtest du mit mir essen gehen?" - not what Duo is asking here, though your English is perfect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TamaraLehm2

why is my answer not accepted "am I allowed to invite you for dinner?"


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

Just curious: Would this not translate the same if said like, "Darf ich einladen dich zum Abendessen?"


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

No; your sentence would simply be wrong -- the infinitive einladen needs to come at the end of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/B.in.Pink

I don't like Duolingo putting sentences where you can't really know what does each word means, I feel like not really learning anything


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Girlcatlove1524

For these extra courses, I'd suggest going quite far in the regular courses open to all. Otherwise, it's hard to understand what each of the words mean if you hadn't yet learned them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-oDinkSngo

Даа, это то что мне нужно))


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

I put "May I ask you to dinner?" and it was wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

This verb specifically means “May I invite...”. There is another German word for “ask”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eyan715048

Why is it May I you to dinner invite this confused me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobinB896941

English and German have very different word orders – one of the joys of learning German (or Dutch).

In a German sentence with two or more verbs, just one of the verbs is conjugated to agree with its subject – "Darf ich…"; any other verbs (here: just "einladen") remain in the basic infinitive (non-conjugated) form and go to the end of the sentence:

  • Darf ich dich zum Abendessen einladen?”

In a post on Modal Auxiliary Verbs & German word order (3rd. example) I discuss a sentence with a very similar structure:

  • Darf ich dich küssen?” – "May I kiss you?"

Please read no more of that post than you actually need at the moment: it covers many months of school German, from the basics to the quite advanced.
                       [17 Dec 2019 13:13 UTC]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bekah534473

In the cheats, it showed me to wtong things that didnt anke sense. Sometimes this owl is stupid

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