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  5. "Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt."

"Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt."

Translation:We would have told you.

February 11, 2014



"We would have told you it" sounds unnatural, nevermind the whole proposition at the end of a sentence thing. Wouldn't "that" be a more appropriate ending for this sentence?

February 11, 2014


As a note, prepositions may end clauses or sentences. The prohibition against that was nothing more than pretentious grammarians attempting to make English more like Latin. It was never a rule

August 5, 2014


"We would have told you that" would surely be the better translation to english. The relation and distinction between "es/dies/das" and "it/this/that" in german and english are quite similar, but not 100% the same. That produces some rather strange translations which are accepted by duolingo.

February 11, 2014


First, "it" isn't a preposition. Second, the English sentence is more natural if the "it" is omitted and implied, in contrast to the German sentence, where the "es" is needed.

August 21, 2015


Yes, 'We would have told you' definitely sounds better than 'We would have told you it'. However, I think that would be a translation of 'Wir hätten Ihnen gesagt'. For 'Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt', I believe 'We would have told you that' is the idiomatic translation.

September 6, 2015


My sentiments exactly!

February 9, 2018


Does not sound unnatural at all, it's all about context: "I thought I needed a password." "[No,] We would have told you it."

December 13, 2017


Oh, I agree it does sound weird. How about "[No], we would have given it [the password] to you"?

December 14, 2017


Sorry, why "ihnen" here?

February 9, 2016


In this example it is not "ihnen" but "Ihnen". Unfortunately that makes a difference in German. You use "Ihnen" with a capitalized i when you address someone (singular + plural) formal in a letter or email directly. You would use "ihnen" (non capitalized) when you want to write to someone about a 3rd party (plural = "We would have told them").

April 10, 2016


Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt = We wpuld have told you

Where's the "it"? If it's unnatural to say it in English, what about "Wir hätten Ihnen gesagt"? Thanks :)

October 26, 2016


The use of dative indirect object Ihnen, "to You (formal)" implies the existence of a direct object. So you pull one out of the air to make the sentence work. Think of the German sentence as "We would have told it to you"

March 20, 2019


The use of dative indirect object Ihnen, "to You (formal)" implies the existence of a direct object.

I don't think that's a good guideline. Plenty of German verbs use dative objects without accusative objects ("Der Schmuck gehört mir"; "Ich glaube dir"), so you can't just say that an indirect object implies that there must be a direct object.

The real reason for "es" is just that "sagen" is transitive. Just like you can't simply "say to someone" (you have to "say something to someone"), you can't "jemandem sagen." There needs to be an accusative object for what you're saying, so we put in "es" to represent whatever (previously-mentioned) thing it is that "we" would have told "you."

March 20, 2019


You cannot tell by the sound alone whether it is "Ihnen" or "ihnen". So, it might have been both "We would have told you" or "We would have told them". They place a lot of emphasis on the formal address, I've noticed.

October 14, 2017


Why is "es" not translated?

Could you just remove "es" from the German sentence?

April 13, 2019


The English sentence sounds better without "it." "We would have told you it / told it to you" sounds a little odd, and even without "it," it's implied that the thing "we" would have told "you" is some previously mentioned thing, so "it" isn't really necessary.

You can't leave "es" out of the German sentence though. "Sagen" is grammatically equivalent to "say" in English; it needs a direct object, so taking out "say" would sound as bad as "We would have said to you" does in English.

April 13, 2019


Could you translate as: we would have told you about it?

March 9, 2014


I think that would be: "Wir hätten Ihnen darüber gesagt."

July 23, 2014


"Wir hätten Ihnen davon erzählt" sounds much more natural. "Wir hätten Ihnen darüber gesagt" was a good guess, but isn't a real sentence

October 12, 2014


That would be "wir hätten ihnen davon erzählt"

February 17, 2015


I'd say yes

October 12, 2014


So I have reported (it's more like"inquired" about this) this already. However, if there is a flaw in my logic, could someone help me understand the difference between:

1) "Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt." (We would have told you [it].)


2) "Wir hätten es dir gesagt." (We would have told you about that.)

Duo accepted my translation for sentence #2 (ending with "that"). Yet, when I used the same translation for sentence #1 it was not accepted. Both "Ihnen" and "dir" are in the dative case, so what gives?

February 24, 2015


As a native speaker i see absolutely no difference in the german sentences (except being formal in one). So duo should accept for both sentences the same english translations.

For me the english translation of sentence #1 sounds best fitting because "about that" would be translateded as "darüber".

I hope that helped

August 29, 2015


X2 to Christopher. Just reading it makes you weep!

June 26, 2015


In what sense would you use erzählt?

December 13, 2015


"If we had known the secret (or the story) we would have told you about it." (Wenn wir das Geheimnis gekannt hätten, hätten wir Ihnen/Dir davon erzählt.)

I told you it will break. = Ich habe dir gesagt es wird kaputt gehen.

Last week I told you the story about the birds and the bees. = Letzte Woche habe ich dir die Geschichte von den Bienchen und Blümchen erzählt.

April 10, 2016


Sorry if I want to return to the "it" subject again but, we would have told you [ it ] in English never ever can be said, appealing to Rudjer who called the expression with "that" idiomatic or refering to others who would simply omit the "it/that". However, "about it/that" is correct either. So we can get here, 1.We would have told you that. 2. We would have told you. 3. We would have told you about that 4. We would have told you about it. Version number 5. We would have told it to you, teoretically is English to but sounds clumsy and is rather to forget. All the others mean exactly the same and fit perfectly to translate Wir hätten es Ihnen gesagt. There is no "darüber" in the German sentence, simply because, using "darüber/davon" would definitely need the verb "erzählt" and not "gesagt". That's why the options "about it"/"about that" are valid translations too. Best of luck to everyone!

September 1, 2016


What would be the difference between: Ich hätte gern eine Kuchen. Ich würde gern eine Kuchen haben? Can I substitute würden haben with hätten?

October 15, 2017


Both translate to the sentence "I would like to have a cake." It's the subjunctive in two different sentence structures. "Ich hätte" is the subjunctive of "haben". "Ich würde ... haben" is a composite subjunctive with "würde" plus infinitve. There isn't much difference in usage or meaning, but usually the second one is the one used in direct speech. You can also see that the example with "würde" plus infinitive is very similar to the English sentence. (I would like = Ich würde gern; to have a cake = einen Kuchen haben). In your example, however, I would use "Ich hätte gerne einen Kuchen" or even more likely "Könnte ich bitte einen Kuchen haben?"

October 16, 2017


"We would have told it to you." Maybe the secret code ;-)

April 25, 2018


Where we use hätten and where wären ??

May 24, 2018


"We would have had it for you told"

May 3, 2019


I don't understand why someone can't use "we would of..." Instead of "we would have"

April 28, 2015


"Would of" is not correct English. People use it because they have misheard "would have". The contraction, for instance, has always been "would've" with the "-ve" being short for "have".

April 28, 2015


Because even if it sounds like that, that isn't the right spelling.

February 16, 2016
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