Translation:He is a politician whom I believe.
The difference between the relative pronouns is the same as for the definite articles: dem is dative and den is accusative. The relative pronoun has to be of the same case, gender and number as the thing it replaces. Think of it this way: If you write it as two sentences it's "Er ist ein Politiker. Ich glaube dem Politiker." When you turn the second sentence into a relative clause, that article is moved to the front and in that way becomes the relative pronoun.
Hope that helps.
*The relative pronoun does not have to be of the same case as the thing it replaces. Only the same gender and number.
In our phrase for example, "ein Politiker" is in nominative, and "dem" is in dative.
From Relative Pronouns - Tips and notes
"The form you need to use is governed by the grammatical gender and number of the word that is being referred to (outside the relative clause), and the case is governed by the context of the relative clause."
I think you misunderstood me. The relative pronoun has to be in the same case like the thing it replaces – but, like you said, the thing it replaces in the relative clause, not the main clause. In this case:
- Er ist ein Politiker. Ich glaube dem Politiker. (dem Politiker in dative case)
- => Er ist ein Politiker. Ich glaube dem. (demonstrative dem in dative case)
- => Er ist ein Politiker, dem ich glaube. (dem fronted to function as a relative pronoun).
It’s the same in English – at least for those people who still use whom:
- This is the politician whom I trust. (the politician is the object of the subclause => “whom” is permitted)
- *This is the politician whom is stupid. (the politician is the subject of the subclause => “whom” is not permitted)
So we can conclude that “whom” is the object form of “who,” but today it has fallen out of use for some people. So you can replace “whom” with the (original subject form) “who” in all cases, but you can only use “whom” when the thing you replace is the object in the subclause.
I understand what you say. But the learner (including me) is given to translate one single sentence, not two nor three. No additional help. Only one sentence. This one:
Er ist ein Politiker, dem ich glaube.
You say "If you write it as two sentences ..." Here is the problem. To be able to write the initial sentence correctly as two sentences, we have to understand its meaning first. And then, after we have already understood its meaning, there will be no more need to write it as two sentences, as the whole point of writing it as two sentences would be to understand its meaning.
The affirmation "The relative pronoun has to be of the same case, gender and number as the thing it replaces." is intended to help the learner decide what the case (besides gender and number) of the relative pronoun is, right? But it does this by referring to a yet non-existent second sentence (though implied), which the learner is not able to write unless he has previously understood the meaning of the initial sentence, and which the learner might not even think of in the first place.
I find Duo's affirmation that I quoted above more straightforward, having the advantage of only referring to the initial sentence. This affirmation and the given sentence is all that the learner needs to be able to figure out the gender, the number and the case of the relative pronoun.
I bet there are learners who, when reading "The relative pronoun has to be of the same case, gender and number as the thing it replaces.", will just take all three from the word being referred once they spotted it in the main clause.
That's why I like Duo's separation:
1. Take the gender and number from the word being referred in the main clause (= outside of relative clause)
2. Figure out the case from the context in the relative clause
Maybe I'm just tired...
True, my original explanation could be misunderstood (I forgot for a moment that it’s not quite as obvious from the English perspective that something is replaced in the subclause rather than the main clause as it is when you view it with German in mind…). Thank you for your clarification. My problem with Duo’s explanation is that it is fairly technical, that’s why I suggested the stepwise technique as a mnemonic ;)
I second what AbunPang wrote. Also, glauben is a dative verb - it takes a dative object, not the more typical accusative object.
Actually it can take both: “Ich glaube dem Politiker [dat.] seine Geschichte [acc.].“ The accusative object tells you a piece of information that is believed, while the dative object gives the source of information. But only one of the two has to be present for the sentence to be complete.
He is a politician whom I trust?
I understand that I could say something like "dem ich vertraue", but trust also seems like a legitimate translation.
jm. glauben is similar to, butnot the same as jm. vertrauen. To me there are two major differences:
- jm. glauben always refers to a belief that that person is telling the truth. vertrauen can mean that, but it could also mean a faith that that person will act in the right way, or that they have the ability to achieve some goal.
- Even if we’re talking about questions of truth or lie, vertrauen typically implies that the main reason for believing that person’s word is faith in them as a person. If you had evidence, there would be no need to trust. glauben doesn’t have that restriction; it’s perfectly fine to use even if your belief is founded on objective evidence. So you could for example say: Zuerst habe ich auch gedacht, dass sie uns veräppeln will. Aber nachdem ich die Fotos gesehen habe, glaube ich ihr. (At first I thought that she was trying to pull our leg. But then I saw the pictures, and now I believe her.) It would be odd to use vertrauen/trust here.
'He is a politician I believe in' not accepted. I wonder if it is correct to say that in English.
It is, but it means something slightly different than what the German sentence is saying.
“to believe in sb/sth” means to have faith in sb/sth, ”faith” in this case being either religious belief or a strong conviction that the object will be successful in doing something. Thus, “to believe in sb/sth” is equivalent to German an jn/etw glauben.
However in this sentence, the speaker used jm glauben (with a dative object instead of an…), i.e. they expressed belief that the object is telling the truth. jm glauben corresponds to English “to believe sb”.
I hope that helps.
Why do so many who post on this thread have hundreds and thousands of the little fire symbol? The DL day count symbol. How can you manage to go on a language website for 1197 days? My admiration knows no bounds. Is this thread of political words a magnet for those who are assiduous, dedicated and big into languages?
Just a couple of people... Maybe they were so bowled over by the thought of a believable politician that they just had to come here and express their astonishment. In any case, the 1197 days thing is pretty easy to do:
- Log into Duolingo
- Do some language exercise stuffz
- Repeat 1196x once a day
- Receive little fire symbol with the number 1197 next to it
Ha! That is funny. Have a lingot! You will make it to 1,000 fire symbols, I know it
So with this kind of sentences we can't say "in"? Is "in dem ich glaube" wrong?
No. There are two basic patterns for glauben: jemandem (Dat.) glauben (to believe sb.) or an jemanden/etwas (Acc.) glauben (to believe in sb/sth). Since the politician is not somebody whose existence is to be doubted, we need the first pattern here.
I hope that helps.
does "trust" suit better in this case than "believe"? It's not accepted, tho.
believe is a better translation for glauben. Both of these can take as their object either a person or an account and mean “[subject] has no proof that the account/that person’s words are true, but they [the subject] are confident of the sincerity based on their faith”. The important thing here is that both imply that the subject has to make a decision about the truth of something.
This implication is absent for to trust which just means “to have faith in [object]”. The German equivalent is “vertrauen” (which btw. is one of the few verbs whose only object assumes dative case: “Ich vertraue dir.”).
Believe is glauben. Trust is trauen? Betrauen? The point is that they mean very different things
vertrauen is probably the most neutral. trauen also exists, but to me it feels a lot weaker than vertrauen. More along the lines of “to not distrust”. In fact you will probably most often see it in the negative: “Ich traue dir nicht.” (I don’t trust you.) Note also that trauen with an accusative object (rather than dative) means “to marry” (as in what the minister does with a bridal couple).
betrauen exists but it’s more like “to entrust sb. with, to charge sb. with”. You would betrauen somebody with something (typically a task). So it’s much rarer than vertrauen or even trauen.
Is "He is a politician whom I trust." wrong? Sounds more natural to me than ...whom I believe, but I was marked wrong.
This is a sentence no one will ever say... In any language in any country. If you can name a trusted politician, i have a beach front property in North Dakota for you.
Why is "He is a politician in whom I believe" marked incorrect? It seems to be an absolutely literal translation of "...dem ich glaube".
No, there is a difference between “to believe sb.” (jm. glauben) and “to believe in sb.” (an jn. glauben). The former means “to have faith that [object] is telling the truth”. The latter can mean either “to have faith that [object] exists” (e.g. “I believe in god” Ich glaube an Gott) or “to have faith that [object] can/will succeed in a difficult task” (e.g. “I believe in you. You can do it.” Ich glaube an dich. Du kannst es schaffen.).
In this case, “Er ist ein Politiker, dem ich glaube” expresses faith that that politician is telling the truth. It is not about believing his existence or whether or not he can succeed. So glauben has to be translated as “to believe”, not “to believe in”.