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"Ich habe weniger Münzen als er."

Translation:I have fewer coins than he has.

February 12, 2013

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Biomax

is there a comparative for quantifiable nouns and one for unquantifiable ones or we need to use weniger for both "less" and "fewer" comparative?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/christian

"weniger" is both "less" and "fewer".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexanderK218814

So, why "less" is not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elCT
  • 515

In English, less is used for uncountable nouns (e.g. money, funding), fewer is used for the countable (coins, bills).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KoolSIM

Any thoughts on why is it 'er' in the end and not 'ihm'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vitoreiji

Because it is the subject of a (rather short) auxiliary sentence. The English version should also be "he", as per pedantic grammar.

> I have fewer coins than he has.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daguipa

Well, I think the thoughts are pretty obvious: because it is a subject and not an object (Dativ). On top of that, if you are a native speaker of English you probably know that in "proper" English grammar you are supposed to say "than he (has)" and not "than him".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stropht

The nominative case "er" maintains the grammar and the logic of the sentence, because "als" is a conjunction, not a preposition. "than him" is typical of colloquial English, which puts pronouns into the accusative case when they follow anything that looks at all like a preposition.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/collectedsoul

weniger is not inflected?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

Psssst. The English translation is not grammatically correct tho. It should be "I have fewer coins than he does," or more colloquially, "I have fewer coins than him." (Also correct but old-fashioned sounding: "I have fewer coins than he.")

In sentences like this, the second clause avoids repeating the main verb by just using the auxiliary. Here the first verb "have" is a main verb in the present simple, so the corresponding third-person singular auxiliary should be "does." One only uses "have/has" as the auxiliary when the main verb is in a perfect tense. For example: "I've eaten far more burgers than he has." Or, to keep the main verb "have/has": "I've had more luck than he has."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

Your translation is valid, but the default translation is valid too. It's clearly legit to talk of having coins.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

The problem isn't "having coins." The problem is that if the first clause has "have" in the present simple, the second clause needs "do/does" for the auxiliary. The same rule applies whether you're "having coins" or "eating burgers."

If you reeeeeallly want to talk about having coins and use "has" in the second clause, you can, but the only grammatically correct way is to use a perfect tense, like this: "I've got fewer coins than he has." Like, seriously, check out the lessons on auxiliary verbs in Cambridge Grammar in Use.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

To put it another way, if you say the default translation out loud, people will understand your intended meaning fine, even if some might notice that it's not quite right. But if you write it like that on an IELTS Writing Task 1, you'll get some cred for trying to make a complex sentence with a comparative, but you'll get docked for failing to do it successfully because the auxiliary should've been "does." If a sentence like that showed up on the multiple choice sections, "has" and "does" would certainly both be answer choices, but only "does" would be marked correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EricMChappell

would it also be acceptable in English to substitute "coins" for "change" or is there a different word used in German for that? In English the two are used interchangeably when speaking of money


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/christian

There's "das Wechselgeld", but this may include banknotes as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

"Coins" and "Change" aren't used interchangeably in English. "Change" may include banknotes, like "das Wechselgeld" in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mammamanda

Should be "than he," even though "than him" is in common parlance.. It sounds dumb to say "him" when the German grammar is correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilie.huffman

I would say "than he does." It's still correct but doesn't sound archaic the way "than he" sounds.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scorbett

I feel dumb for getting this wrong in English, but apparently "I have fewer coins as he does" is wrong. Is Duo being overly strict, or do I need to go back to school and refresh my own English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

It needs to be "as few as" or "fewer than".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

Are you sure both are fine? “As few as” and “fewer than” mean different things. The former means “the same, relatively small amount” and the latter means you’re talking about two different amounts, one larger than the other.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

Yes, both are correct English, and yes they mean different things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

So the German sentence in this exercise can really mean that he has more coins than I do, or that I have the same amount of coins as he does? How do you differentiate then?

Of course they are both correct English, but isn't the question here whether they are correct translations for the exercise?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Breandn

Is it possible to translate "I have as few coins as him" as something like "Ich habe so wenig Muenzen als er?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

No, this sentence means that I have fewer coins than he does.

Scorbett's original question was about which of two sentences were valid English. Both examples are valid.

There's then the separate question about which sentence is a correct translation of the German sentence. The default translation is correct.

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