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  5. "אין להן."

"אין להן."

Translation:They do not have any.

June 22, 2016



"They do not have" is really a strange sentence in English. While I'm sure that Hebrew has a more explicit way of saying this, would it not make more sense to translate it as "They have nothing"? Or are we just stuck translating this fragment explicitly because normally it would be something like אין להן מים with an actual direct object?


In Hebrew you can sometimes omit words in places you can't really do so in English. You couldn't say this just as it is, but it can be used as a response.


It does not mean "They have nothing". That would be "אין להן כלום". (literally: they do not have anything).

This sentence really doesn't make much sense. I can only imagine it being used in a dialog:

"יש להן מים?"

"אין להן."


To translate your example into natural English:

  • Do they have water?
  • They don't.


It would probably be more natural to reply "No, they don't" :) Right?


Or "No, they don't have any"


I answered "they do not" and was marked wrong.


They haven't =אין להם


People just have to learn that other languages behave differently and don't always offer the best translations. It's better to have a one-to-one translation in these cases so that you understand how hebrew behaves. You don't always have to complain about the English. After all, we are here to learn Hebrew and not English haha.


Thing is, though, most of us are better at English than at Hebrew and it's much more convenient for us as well as for our learning to know how the real, underlying meaning that comes with the exact phrasing of certain sentences has implications for the language we speak. Therefore it's of little use having us translate good Hebrew sentences to rotten English ones, because we won't understand the Hebrew because of the English. That being said, I don't see any such problems with this simple sentence, but it's good Duolingo allows us to translate to 'don't have it' or 'don't have any' as well as the literal Hebrew translation, because the literal Hebrew translation is simply not what the sentence means in English.


The problem is that if the sentence makes no sense in English, how are we supposed to understand the Hebrew?


And actually it has already been said that this course was designed specifically for English to Hebrew learners.


I reported it. It's more like "they don't have any," but in Hebrew "any" is not translated in this context.


I understand the answer you give above. Now, what of this? "Did they fix the car yet? אין להן - If it means, "They haven't." We're all good, but if אין להן means They don't have any. It would be funny-ha-ha to see them answer like that. Oh, did they fix the car yet? They don't have any. I like these discussions because they throw wide open the door of questions. :)


How about they do not have 'it'? Or would they have another way to say that?


Explicitly, אין להם את זה. But I've added "it" as a possible answer, because the literal translation sounds so bad in English.


I just responded with adding "it" and it was accepted.


This really should be the sentence, but I presume this is not the right place to introduce את.

[deactivated user]

    I agree with you, as far as the English rendering is concerned.

    You would need to add "any", or "one" at the end for it to be correct: They do not have one. They do not have any. They don't have one. They don't have any. They haven't got one. They haven't got any. They haven't any.
    They have none. They have got none.

    They don't have.


    So it would be להם for men and להן for women, right?


    What is correct? They do not = אין להן or They do not have = אין להם


    They're both correct.

    • to them (masculine) - להם
    • to them (feminine) - להן

    The masculine is also used for mixed gender groups.


    Perhaps there should be a way to point that out in the hover-on explanations...

    [deactivated user]

      I would have thought They have none should be accepted as a valid translation, as in English the two statements are equivalent: They have none. They haven't got any.
      Another rejected alternative is UK English "They haven't any."


      Can someone break down all the forms of "they" for me?


      I did not see the word, " any".


      Perhaps there should be a "masc." in the hover-on explanations? (Or even a "generic" of some sort, since it seems to be included when there is at least one male in a group)


      'They don't have' should be correct.


      Why is not correct: אין להם?


      It's kind of confusing because להם and לכם are they and להם is also they but לכם is you. They all sound so similar!


      Just to clarify, לכם is not “they.” It means “to you.” But yes, I agree. They sound so similar.

      Maybe this will help:

      • both לכם and לכן mean “to you (plural)”

      • both להם and להן mean “to them”

      • when it ends on ם, it is referring to Men or Mixed

      • when it ends on ן, it is referring to womeN


      This was a listening exercise for me and I thought the speaker said אין לכן —“you (pl. fem.) don’t have any.” Obviously, my bad. But it got me thinking... how can I differentiate between ‘you’ (pl. fem.) and ‘therefore’ in conversation? Clearly, context. But are they pronounced differently?

      Also, does anyone have any tips about differentiating להן and לכן? I understand that nowadays many Israelis pronounce ‘כ’ gutturally, i.e. the same way as ‘ח’ so that would pretty much clear up any confusion here. However, I’m struggling to hear a difference between ‘כ’ and ‘ה’ when these are pronounced like an ‘h’.

      I hope my questions make sense :) Thanks guys!

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