1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Wir helfen keinen Menschen."


"Wir helfen keinen Menschen."

February 8, 2013



Would "Menschen" is this sentence be referring to "men" or "people". Would the translation "We are not helping anybody" be a good approximation of what it is saying? Or would that be said in a different way in German.

I want to make sure I am not missing a shade of meaning. I realize "Menschen" can have various meanings. What is it most commonly used for in German?


I would even say, in this case, it means: We don't help humans. 'We are not helping anybody' seems to get the right direction, leaving alone I dislike duo's example, it sounds very unnatural to me. More exactly, your translation would fit 'Wir helfen keinem Menschen' better. Here, Mensch is singular dative case, hence keinem. In my opinion, Menschen usually is used as 'humans', people is rather 'Leute'. But that might just be me.


@jhladky: We are accepting "men" and "people" her for "Menschen". "We are not helping anybody" is not acceptable, because then the original sentence would have been: "Wir helfen Niemandem".

@Menschenkind: I often find that while a sentence can sound unnatural in one context, it can be very natural in another context. It is thus a matter of cognitive fixation, i.e. it depends on your current imagination.


I know. But while this might be true in many cases I even came across myself, I don't see in which context 'keinen Menschen helfen' might be appropriate. 'Wir helfen keinen Menschen' sounds like an extraterrestrial denying to help humans on the edge of extinction out of mere speciesism. If someone told me 'Wir helfen keinen Menschen, sondern Tieren', I would still give them a strange look. To me, it sounds imprudent, one way or another. Can you think of any example where this seems fitting?

(Ich möchte das auch nicht totdiskutieren und stimme deiner Aussage prinzipiell zu. Ich wollte nur darlegen, warum mir dieses Beispiel so unpassend erscheint und das liegt möglicherweise auch nur an meinem Sprachgefühl.)


shouldn't this be' keinem' ? because der menschen ?


should it not accept 'nobody'?


Anyone care to explain why "We help nobody" is marked wrong? Seems eminently reasonable to me.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.