"Ich weiß nicht, wessen Sohn er ist."

Translation:I do not know whose son it is.

February 15, 2013

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/TheRockoholic

"...wessen Sohn ER ist" so why "whose son is HE" was marked incorrect?

February 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/cbjj

"whose son he is" sounds better to me...

February 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jess1camar1e

'...whose son he is' is an exact translation, complete with unchanged word order, and is conveniently the correct way to say it :)

To end a statement with '...whose son is he', which is in a question format, would not be great grammar.

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ClarenBert
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you can't say "whose son is he" in a subordinate clause

May 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dmi_go
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why?

June 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hutcho66

In a subordinate clause, the conjugated verb ALWAYS comes last (but before any additional verbs in the infinite form). In case you are having trouble working out the subordinate and independent clause, try saying both out loud without context. In this case, the independent clause, "Ich weiß nicht" = "I don't know", sounds alright by itself. But the subordinate clause, "Wessen Sohn er ist" = "Whose son he is", doesn't sound right at all.

June 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lhubbell

That comma seems odd. I question you Mr. Owl.

May 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jess1camar1e

The comma is separating the subordinating clause, and is very appropriately placed in this German sentence. The English translation doesn't need a comma, though.

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/vinaysaini
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I agree. 'It' should not be used for masculine gender in English. Furthermore, in German also, they decline pronoun according to noun gender, isn't it?

May 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hutcho66

Yes, the phrase here uses 'er' correctly :). But I agree, 'he' is much better than 'it' for the translation.

June 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SallyWard

I agree, we would not describe someone's son as it!

April 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lilicek

i don´t know why HE is incorrect

June 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jess1camar1e

Worked for me

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Hefflegump

WHY GERMAN. HOW IS 'WEI(SS) SUDDENLY 'KNOW'. WHAT JUST HAPPENED

June 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Levi
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@Hefflegump : What do you mean? 'weiß' comes from 'wissen' = to know. Also 'weiß' = white.

June 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TheRealMaestro

The Owl doesn't introduce or identify homonyms like "weiß" unless you roll over them. It will show it to you one time for whatever definition it gives you first (so it shows "weiß" meaning "white" in Adjectives), and then it never gets around to showing you the other meanings (as a form of "wissen").

October 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Levi
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@TheRealMaestro : True. I recommend also using http://en.pons.eu/ which is a very good dictionary.

October 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TheRealMaestro

Personally, I use http://dict.cc for definitions or http://canoo.net for different forms of a word.

October 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jumap
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I'm with you. Never came across this in the lessons before but now I know (weiss)

August 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Felizce
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Would it be correct to write "Ich weiß nicht wessen Sohn er ist" without the comma between "nicht" and "wessen"?

May 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/milestogo
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I have been told that separate clauses in German always need to be separated by a comma (unlike English).

June 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/trolles

Interesting, can someone confirm this?

June 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hutcho66

This source explains it somewhat well. In English we only need to put a comma in if the subordinate clause comes first (although that is dying out too). For example, "After I fed the cat, I brushed my clothes" compared to "I brushed my clothes after I fed the cat". But in German, there is a comma regardless of which clause comes first.

http://requiem.hubpages.com/hub/The-German-Language-Grammar-and-Using-Commas-Properly

Also, interestingly, note what else they say. German doesn't insert commas where there is a pause like in English. So don't fall into that trap!

June 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hipp5

At the risk of starting a comma debate... If you're being completely correct with your English you shouldn't insert commas in where there is a pause either.

July 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hutcho66

Yeah, you are right. But I think we get taught it in school because there are many, many uses of commas in English, many of which are too complex to be taught as a young child. For example, most people have never heard of the concept of non-coordinate/coordinate adjectives, but know to put a comma in "That is a large, heavy bag" but not in "That is a large steel building" simply because we tend to pause in the first one.

German has no such rules, there are much fewer reasons to use a comma than English.

July 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pery.freitas

Is it right if I consider "weiß" as having knowledge about something whereas "Kenne" as having met someone or introduced to someone before?

June 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mraziz
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Sounds about right. The key difference is that "kennen" always requires an object, but it's optional for "wissen" depending on the meaning.

Consider that "Ich weiß wer er ist" means the same as "Ich kenne ihn." So you can't say "Ich kenne" because it's missing an object.

June 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jess1camar1e

That's a great way to think of it. 'wissen'=knowing facts, information; 'kennen'=knowing people, places, languages, being familiar with, etc. Think of the English terms we get from those two: 'wit' (a witty person knows so many clever things) and 'kin' (the people you know, your family).

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Hiccup
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I think "Whose son he is" should be accepted here ....

July 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/hipp5

So report it. (P.S. your translation worked for me)

July 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Hiccup
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Great for you! ;)

July 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MrHuckabee

My mind is in the gutter I suppose. Didn't pay attention to the period so I thought it read, "I'm not white, whose son is it?" Cheating spouses are never fun.

September 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/taxgirl17

What I found interesting is that the alternative answer given by duolingo was "I do not know whose son it is." Why would using it be right? First a son is not an it, and second, shouldn't the word have been es instead of er?

August 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/RhysNewton

why does "Ich weiß nicht" translate to "I don't know" instead of " I am not white"?

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/milestogo
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Aside from the fact that the second clause would be out of place, you're missing the "am" -- that would be Ich bin nicht weiß....

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Rimon_kite

But why "er" is translated "it". Shouldn't be "he"

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Levi
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Translating context, and not word for word, it could be both "it" and "he".
2014.09.12

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DrHitlersaurus

I don't know = Ich weiß nicht. I don't know = Ich kenne nicht. WHAT???

November 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jess1camar1e

When you're saying 'I don't know (or even if you do know)' in relationship to facts (what tomorrow's weather will be, if Jill is coming to the party, the difference between off-white and eggshell white when choosing paint colours...), then you want the verb 'wissen' (ich weiß (es) nicht). The verb 'kennen' generally refers to knowing people (related to the English word 'kin'): 'Ich kenne Herr Schmidt. Ich kenne Frau Schmidt nicht.).

In this particular phrase, 'whose son it is' is the fact that is known or unknown.

So to summarise: wissen = to know facts, information kennen = to know people, be acquainted/familiar with

December 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/dee698995

What's a verb?

March 22, 2019
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