"Sie kosten mal ein kleines Stück."

Translation:You taste a little piece.

February 1, 2013

This discussion is locked.


How do you determine when kosten means "cost" or "taste?" "Cost" sounds more in-context here IMO.


Um, good question. On second thought, you're quite right. In the sense of “cost”, ‘kosten’ can of course be transitive, as in ‘Das kostet einen Euro.’ = “That costs one euro.”. In fact, ‘kosten’ is one of a handful of German verbs that can be ditransitive with two direct objects in the accusative case, as in ‘Das kostet dich einen Euro.’ = “That costs you one euro.”.

So ‘Sie kosten mal ein kleines Stück.’ could mean either “{You|They}'re simply tasting a little piece.”, or “They're costing a pretty penny.”


Danke. And I have to admit that upon encountering this sentence again, I did unconsciously translate it as "try"/"taste" so I guess I would have to disagree with my past self now. :P

Repetition does that, I guess. I had seen the word "kosten" with the "taste" meaning again a few times since then...

Still, it's nice to know I wasn't wrong, either.


What happened to "mal"?


I translated "Sie kosten mal ein kleines Stück." as "They try to taste a small piece" to put the "mal" in, but the system doesn't recognise it.

I think "mal" is one of those not directly translatable words that give emphasis and similar.


Yes, Marziotta is right, "mal" is often ommitted in the translation because it is not exactly necessary. In this sentence it could mean that they are tasting a little piece simply because its offered to them -why not?- or because they have time or it can't do any harm to try. I wanna say it makes the action a bit more casual.


You inserted the word “simply”, which captures the meaning of the ‘mal’ rather nicely.


Thank you. Yes, I see what you mean.


Perhaps "You taste just a little piece"?


Yes, I think “just” is a good translation.


I thought so, too. Alas, Duo did not agree with us. :(


mhh not sure about that one. "just" can also be interpreted as "only", "nur", which changes the meaning of the sentence.


I know that feeling. Take a lingot.


Another interpretation is that ‘mal’ is used here in the common sense of ‘einmal’ to distinguish the actual present from the habitual present and narrative present, which do not have distinct verb forms in German.


Kosten means to try something ( but only for things you eat! ) a word that would apply for more than a food would be ''probieren''

Then you could say ''Probier mal ein kleines Stück.''

or for clothes ''Probier es mal an.'' or ''Du kannst es mal anprobieren.''

''mal'' is like a short word for ''einmal'' which means = one time

its like telling someone in a polite way that he/she could at least try it for one time and if they dont like it as they dont need to do it again.


Adrian's reply, in an Occam Razor sense, seems the most straight forward to me. But I must say the threads in this blog have been very insightful about subtilties in the language.


Today I translated this as "They are trying a little piece once," because I thought "once" is what "mal" would have meant. It was accepted, but now I wonder...


'mal' is one of those cool (or annoying, up to you!) little German words that just gets slipped into sentences for emphasis. In this sentence, it emphasises that 'They taste a little piece' just this once. 'Sie kosten ein kleines Stück' also means 'They taste a little piece', but it doesn't have that extra bit of emphasis.


That's also a correct translation.

  • 1495

Völlig unsinniger Satz


Das gleiche wie zuvor. Falsche Satzstellung. Es muss heißen: Kosten Sie mal ein kleines Stück

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