I guess the only problem is the dictionary hints. 'Ever' isn't one of them for überhaupt and 'his' isn't one of them for dessen, so that had me guessing "Generally, whose son is he?" which makes no sense.
No, it's not just you! I guessed like LB StorM & still can't understand what's meant.
Well, since we're talking about this again, can I ask, would 'Ist er ueberhaupt sein Sohn?' also be correct? If not, why, and if so, is there a difference in the meaning or usage? Any help greatly appreciated :)
what is difference between dessen and deren? Is the former for m and the later for f?
dessen is the genetive form of both masculine and neuter articles, whereas deren is femenine and plural. But I'm still having trouble grasping this new usage myself.
I still don't get this at all. 'dessen' is a relative pronoun, like 'that' or 'which' or 'who' in English. In this case it's in the genitive. So I would expect is to be used in something like 'the oceans of earth, which is the third planet from the sun, cover most of the planet', with 'which' being a genitive relative pronoun - it would become 'dessen'.
I don't see how this sentence has anything at all to do with relative pronouns. What am I missing? Someone parse it for me?
The word 'which' in your phrase is not a genitive relative pronoun, but a nominative relative pronoun. The case is indicated by the function of 'which' in the secondary phrase. Thus, "which is the third planet" means "the earth is the third planet", so 'which' is a nominative relative pronoun (it plays the role of the subject). In German it would be: "die Ozeane der Erde, die der dritte Planet von der Sonne ist, bedecken etc etc".
To construct a phrase with a genitive relative pronoun, you need the pronoun to fulfil a possessive function in the secondary phrase, such as: "the oceans of earth, whose temperature ensures the existence of liquid water, cover 71% of its surface". In German: "die Ozeane der Erde, deren Temperatur die Existenz von flüssigem Wasser sicherstellt, bedecken etc etc".
(my comment offers no clarification of the problem posed by the Duolingo sentence, which is, why should it use 'desen' and not 'sein')
That was an excellent explanation, thank you very much. I think I understand relative pronouns much better now.
Would 'Ist er überhaupt sein Sohn?' be correct? If yes, what would be the 'slight' difference in the meaning?
I had "Is it its son at all?". My dictionary probes suggested that when referring to animals, this would be a correct translation.
Then why is one of the suggested translations 'Is he even the son?' Is that a mistake or is that also right?
thanks for the reply, what is the difference as both are explained as 'even' ?
Ist er überhaupt dessen Sohn? = Is he his son at all? -> The speaker is doubtful.
Ist er sogar dessen Sohn? = Could he even be his son? -> The speaker is speculating.
I really believe the correct answer is "Whose son is he afterall?"
It not, please elaborate. Unfortunately I'm not mature enough to go reporting errors about this.
I got correct for "Isst er überhaupt dessen Sohn?" that scared me for a second until I checked the official translation