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  5. "Möbel mag er nicht."

"Möbel mag er nicht."

Translation:He does not like furniture.

February 18, 2013



Is the only reason that Mobel has moved to the front of the queue here because it's for emphasis? I don't quite understanding the reasoning behind the syntax. It's not a subordinate so why is the sentence structure so funky fresh?


Yes, it's just for emphasis.


I don't understand. Why is the emphasis on mobel? What kind of emphasis, I mean?


Good question. I translate the German sentence as, "Furniture. He does not like it." This adds real emphasis to the word furniture. Almost like saying, "He could choose to dislike a lot of things, but he chooses furniture." It doesn't change the amount of dislike he has for furniture, just points to the silliness of him not liking... furniture.

The way we do this in spoken English is to put a heavier inflection on one part of the sentence. ie. "Well... HE doesn't like furniture." vs. "He doesn't like... FURniture." vs. "He does NOT like furniture."(Note: I'm not shouting in these sentences, but pausing momentarily before the capitalized word and then adding an inflection on the first syllable of that word.) This inflection emphasizes that word.

To do this in written English you would follow up each sentence with a clarification, and that second sentence would be the emphasis. "Well, he doesn't like furniture. I do though." vs. "He doesn't like furniture. He calls them death traps." vs. "He does not like furniture. Don't bring it anywhere near him. He will freak."

It's interesting to note that in the written versions it's the second sentence that receives the inflected word.


Wow, I had never understood this sentence until now, thank you! And may I add, I think there is a way you can say this in the same way in english. I'm not an native english speaker but I've heard the sentence "FURNITURE he does not like!", meaning what you say it means. And furniture is in the same position as the "Möbel" in this sentence, like you say, for emphasis.


The problem with that is (in English) you can't place a direct object before the subject. You can do this in other languages because of declensions, but English doesn't have any of that.

In the sentence, "FURNITURE he does not like!" we have to assume 'he' is the subject and 'furniture' is the direct object. It's true no one will be confused with this sentence, but it does force the reader to make assumptions.


Glad to see most of what I would have said already expressed here! But there is one point I feel needs to be made, which is that phrases like "Furniture, he does not like it." are not proper sentences in English. (Advertisements may use this sort of phrase structure, but people don't actually talk like that.) The sentence "FURNITURE he does not like." is understandable, but quite strange without the specific context of "people already talking about things that he does or does not like".

The best example I can think of in which this sort of word order is used in English is by Yoda, in the Star Wars movies. He often emphasises things by putting them first in his sentences, and is generally regarded as sounding odd.


It would be more like FURNITURE, like it he does NOT. But both of these sentences aren't very natural to an english speaker. The order would pretty much always be He doesn't like furniture. And the emphasis can be on any of those words.


This doesn't work in English unless you change furniture into the subject of the sentence. Furniture IS something he does not like. Otherwise it sounds like you're reading poetry or Yoda speech. The meaning is clear, but it's not structured into a proper sentence.


@neofryboy we have a LOT of declensions in Polish, much more than in German, but if you want to begin sentence with furniture, you need to stop after it like "Mebel, on go nie lubi" which is sth like "Furniture, he doesn't like it". So definitely declensions is not enough.


If that emphasis is required the writer could change from active to passive voice and change the sentence from "He doesn't like furniture" to "Furniture is something he doesn't like" which is totally gramatically correct


As a native English speaker the most natural way to say what you're trying to say is "He doesn't like FURNITURE", as in But there are other things he likes, since the emphasis is on furniture. Linguistically speaking at least. Maybe he's an anti-materialist.


But I tried "Furniture He doesn't like it" and it wasn't accepted!


There is no 'it' in the sentence. You did a transliteration and then added 'it', when you should've been translating.

In other words, you would never say, "Furniture. He doesn't like it," in English. You can really only say, "He doesn't like furniture," because the German sentence encompasses ALL furniture ever made. The pronoun 'it' wouldn't be appropriate here and neither would 'that' or 'those', because we're not talking about the furniture right in front of him, but all furniture everywhere.


Yes, we can do it as "Furniture, he does not like it." but "Furniture likes he does not"? If it wasnt like "Möbel mag er nicht", but "Möbel er mag nicht" I would definetely understand, but that kind of syntax is completely nonsensical..


Actually the emphasis is on his not liking as opposed to not liking furniture, at least as I have always understood it. If you want to negate the verb as opposed to the noun, you put the noun first. Otherwise it would be Er mag keine Möbel. So this becomes He doesn't LIKE furniture as opposed to He doesn't like FURNITURE.


I don't think there's necessarily an emphasis on the verb, or on anything.

I'd say that putting the object first topicalises it, i.e. it shows that you're talking about furniture, and what you want to say about the furniture is: he doesn't like furniture.


Either emphasis or that he's Yoda.


Dunkle Seite mag er nicht


To learn German, I must think like Yoda.


To Yoda, German you must learn.


So this is indeed a natural German sentence? I though it was an error:/


Yes, it is a natural German sentence. It is allowed for the object to come before the subject. The meaning is determined by the conjugation of the verb


More so by the declension of the pronoun as that determines the subject. "Das Möbel mag ihn nicht." That furniture does not like him.

or Möbel mögen ihn nicht. If you're talking about many pieces of furniture.


I bet this totally destroyed first idea in someones mind


Did not expect to see kolo here


Just to be sure, is it emphasizing that he doesn't like any furniture, as opposed to specific furniture? If I go to his house, will I find empty rooms because he eats and sleeps on the floors?


That's right, it's talking about furniture in general. If we were talking about particular furniture, we would use the definite article like in English ("Das Möbel mag er nicht").


we would use the definite article like in English ("Das Möbel mag er nicht").

Möbel is almost always plural in German, so it would be Die Möbel mag er nicht.


Ah of course, thanks for the fix.


Why "He does not like THE furniture" is wrong ?


In English, in this context, the article "the" adds the meaning of specific furniture--for example, the furniture in a specific room. "He does not like furniture"--without "the"--means he dislikes ALL furniture.


I think you are right about the translation, but isn't it a bit odd for a civilized man to dislike all furniture?


He may not be civilized.


The strange and sometimes meaningless sentences help your mind to learn things faster. :)


Is this for real? legit interest.


I expect it tests your understanding better. Aren't you less likely to make a lucky guess when trying to translate something strange?


no but it's duolingo's motto


Perhaps he has allergies. ;-)


Kann Man sagt: Er mag die Moebel nicht ?


"Er mag die Möbel nicht" is grammatically correct, but in that case you are referring to some specific furniture.


Could it be then "Er mag Möbel nicht" ?


which one would be used more in everyday German "Er mag Möbel nicht" or "Möbel mag er nicht." ?


It depends on what you want to emphasize in the sentence.


Etymological question: does mobel and muebles (Spanish) share a common ancestry? I think I have noticed this with a few other words that are actually more similar to romance languages than to English.


Yes. It's derived from vulgar latin mobilis which became old French mueble which in turn was incorporated into German during the 15th/16th century: http://is.gd/nBuAhf


Why wouldn't "keine" be correct here, instead of "nicht"?


keine means none, nicht means not. If you wanted to say 'He likes no furniture' you would use keine.. or some form of


Thanks. I understand that, but I got beeped once before for using "nicht" instead of "kein"--something about "Mein Sohn und ich sind kein normale Leute mehr." Must have to do with verb--right, transitive versus nontransitive.


Kein is used when we want to express that something is not something. So, for instance, "a table is not a chair", and therefore, "Der Tisch ist kein Stuhl!" "Nicht" is an abverb, therefore use "nicht" to express negations of actions. http://www.jabbalab.com/blog/821/kein-oder-nicht-whats-the-difference


But in that article he specifically uses "kein" with "mögen".. "Ich mag keinen Kaffee." So why wouldn't "Keine Möbel mag er." or "Er mag keine Möbel." be correct?


My intuition is that there could be a difference in degree: Er mag Kaffee nicht. - He does not like coffee (in general). Er mag keinen Kaffee. - He does not like any coffee (no matter how good).

"er mag" does not mean only "he likes", but also "he wishes / would like to have". I think you could use "Er mag Kaffee nicht." for a general statement "He does not like coffee.", but "Er mag keinen Kaffee." to express current wishes. I imagine my mum sending me to ask the guest in the next room if he would like some coffee; I come back and I say "Er mag keinen Kaffee." - "He does not want coffee."


So generally speaking, is using a positive indefinite article (ein) and nicht in the same sentence incorrect? Because a negative indefinite article (kein) combines the two


No, not always.

For example, if you topicalise an indefinite noun, then you will have both ein and nicht, e.g. Ein Buch hat er nicht* "He does not have a BOOK / As for a book, he does not have that / A book he does not have".

Also, remember that ein can be not only the indefinite article "a(n)" but also the number "one". When it's "one", then you can have sentences such as Er hat nicht ein Buch, sondern zwei "He has not one book but two; the number of books that he has is not one but rather two".


Hi, my question is: Möbel is singular or plural in this sentence. I would like to translate it: He does not like furnitures. Why not?


"Möbel" is plural here (it's used without an article). I think the problem is that AFAIK you don't say "furnitures" in English, just "furniture".


I'm surprised it's not "Er mag keine Möbel."


"Er mag keine Möbel" is also fine.


I feel a bit fooled by "the" furniture. Because it's more normal to find someone that doesn't like a specific furniture that someone who does not like.. every furniture!! Anyway, i could have wrote "Er mag Möbel nicht", right?


i find that duolingo just has some really weird sentences sometimes.. haha makes it a little more fun sometimes but also causes some confusion. I tend to second guess myself because im expecting normal sentences. "Er mag Möbel nicht" is also correct but according to other posts on here the way duolingo says it is just stressing that its furniture he doesnt like.


I just wanted to point out that you would say it, "...that doesn't like a specific piece/type of furniture , than someone who does not like every piece/type of furniture." Also, you "could have written", not wrote.

I realize we're learning German here, and not English, but it's helpful (to me, at least) not to reinforce incorrect usage.


Im sorry but could someone please explain what is going on here with the grammer?


The German sentence put the object first, turning it into a kind of topic–comment sentence: "As for furniture: he doesn't like it".

It starts with the thing that you are going to talk about (the furniture) and then says something about that topic (he doesn't like it).

The verb comes second in this sentence, so the subject er comes after the verb.


"He dislikes furniture." - Wrong or right? (August 17, 2018)


What about; "Möbel mag sie nicht" How can this one be translated? "She doesn't like furniture" or "Furniture doesn't like her"


mag is third person singular and Möbel is plural, so it can only be "She does not like furniture".

However, Möbel mögen sie nicht. is ambiguous between "Furniture does not like them/her" and "They do not like furniture".


And that ambiguity remains unaddressed? Would i have to clarify with another sentence? (Assuming I was referring to something that could dislike a person)


If you take something like Peter mag sie nicht, it could mean either "Peter doesn't like her" or "She doesn't like Peter".

In that case, only context can disambiguate -- had you been talking about other boys that she likes, and now you're topicalising Peter to say that "As for Peter, she doesn't like him"? Or had you been talking about Peter and whom he likes and now you have a sentence where he's (still) the subject and saying that he doesn't like her?

In general, though, in such ambiguous sentences, it may be safer to put the subject first, so the first interpretation of Peter mag sie nicht would be "Peter doesn't like her".


There was that TV show with Angela Lansbury called: "Murder she wrote". It could work in the same way...


Why is er plaved there?


The verb mag has to be the second thing in the sentence, so if you put the object Möbel first to make it the topic of the sentence, there's no room for the subject er in front of the verb and so it moves to behind the verb.


He doesn't like the furniture was marked wrong??


Yes. The German sentence does not talk about "the furniture" (i.e. a specific set of furniture that is known from context, perhaps because we had been speaking about it previously) but instead about "furniture" (in general).


yes it was. and I don't understand why!



Suppose I have a list titled "Furniture he does not like" (eg cocktail cabinets, coffee tables, reclining chairs, bean bags).

It is not uncommon to omit obvious words, especially in casual English. The full version would be something like: "This is furniture that he does not like".

I disagree -- I think that the full version would be something like furniture that he does not like.

The book title is not a sentence nor is it intended to be one -- it's just a noun phrase.

Consider an atlas, for example, which might have the title "Our Earth". That doesn't mean that the title is short for "This book is about our earth" or anything like that.

Amazing really to think we can leave out the subject and the main verb, reducing the main clause to one noun, and even omit the subordinating conjunction and still make sense.

It's just the subordinating conjunction that was omitted, I think.

And that's something that you can't do in German.

It does make me wonder though, would we get away with "Möbel, er nicht mag" or would we need the whole "Das sind Möbel, die er nicht mag" ?

It would be Möbel, die er nicht mag.

(Das sind Möbel, die er nicht mag is, of course, a valid sentence, but your hypothetical book title would just be the noun phrase, I think, not an entire sentence.)


Warum, Deutsche... Warum? If it's possible to say it the usual way, why deviate?


So that you can be more expressive.

Why does English need the word "ponder" when "think" exists? Well, sometimes it's useful to have the expressiveness that comes through having both "think" and "ponder".

Similarly, it's useful to be able to subtly show different emphasis and so say more closely what you mean if you can use word order to showcase particular parts of your sentence.


Why not Er mag keine Möbel?


That's also possible.

Möbel mag er nicht is a topic–comment sentence: it puts the topic Möbel first and then comments on that topic with mag er nicht.

A bit as if you were to say "As for furniture: he doesn't like it". (But it doesn't sound as clunky as that in German.)

Just a different way of emphasising/focussing.


What if i said 'Er mag mobel nicht' ?


mobel is not a German word.

Möbel has to be capitalised, and if you can't make a ö, then write Moebel instead.

If you said Er mag Möbel nicht, that would also be possible, but better would be Er mag keine Möbel.


So if er were replaced with sie, wouldn't the meanings "She doesn't like furniture" and "Furniture doesn't like her" be indistinguishable?


No, because Möbel is plural in German so "Furniture doesn't like her" would be Möbel mögen sie nicht.

(Which then would be ambiguous with "Furniture doesn't like them" and "They don't like furniture".)

Something such as Das Pferd mag sie nicht would be ambiguous between "The horse doesn't like her" and "She doesn't like the horse" (and "The hose doesn't like them").

In such ambiguous sentences, generally the first noun phrase (before the verb) will be interpreted as the subject, as putting the subject first is the default word order.


My German Teacher says it is wrong to use nicht in this case.


@Krebs01. - Thanks for this comment. Just because your teacher says that, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's true.

"Möbel mag er nicht" (but also: "Er mag keine Möbel.") is OK in this case. (August 17, 2018)


"doesn't" doesn't work fine!!


What was the whole sentence that you wrote?


Unless I'm hit with a hammer on my head,this sentence won't come in well


I made a typo and misspelled 'nicht.' Duo told me I typed the whole sentence in English (I did not). How do I report it?


Sounds like something "Yoda" would say.. (o:


does not or doesn't is the same! why my answer is not correct?


What was your entire answer?


The transaltion is not correct. If he does not like furniture, it means that he likes a house without furniture; otherwise, he does not like the furniture, that furniture he sees in the house.


"Marmalade. I like marmalade". -- Alan's psychedelic breakfast by Pink Floyd


Why is 'Er mag keine Möbel' not also correct? I get the idea of the suplied answer conveying some sort emphasis but this context is completely absent in Duolingo... As with many other examples (the infinity of types of 'your' questions). The way this translates into English would make you sound like Yoda!! Furniture he likes it not, mmmmmm!


is it mag or magt?


er mag.

For the same historical reasons that give English "he may" rather than "he mays".


there is present progresive in german??


Not as a grammatical form, no.


Why is ‘Mag er nicht Möbel’ or ‘Mag er Möbel nicht’ incorrect? Why was Möbel moved to the start of the sentence?


Why is ‘Mag er nicht Möbel’ or ‘Mag er Möbel nicht’ incorrect?

In a statement (rather than a yes-no question), the verb has to be in the second position in the sentence -- not at the beginning.

Why was Möbel moved to the start of the sentence?

To mark it as the topic - the thing you are going to talk about.

"As for furniture: he doesn't like it." might be a way to convey the idea, though the German sounds more natural than that English construction.


Doesn't is THE same as does not. Get it right


What was the entire sentence that you wrote?


Frau mag mann nicht. Now who doesn't like whom is a mystery isn't it?


Not really.

It's ungrammatical in standard German, because Frau and Mann are countable and singular, so they need a determiner before them, such as an article.

It would be fine in a newspaper headline, where such small words are often omitted to save space.

But the usual interpretation in such an ambiguous situation is that the subject comes first.

Similarly with a sentence such as Die Frau mag das Kind nicht which is grammatical but, at least in theory, still ambiguous. In practice, it's again resolved by assuming that the subject comes first.

In speech, you can use intonation to make the "object first" interpretation more likely. In writing, you can't, which is why you wouldn't put the object first in such a sentence if your goal is to communicate, rather than to confuse.


how about, "Er mag kein mobel"?


No; there is no German word mobel — it’s Möbel with capital M and with ö (or oe if you can’t write the umlaut). And it’s plural, so it would have to be keine Möbel.


If we wanted to "front" furniture for emphasis in one English sentence we would probably have to use something like: "It's furniture he doesn't like!" "He doesn't like furniture" doesn't really do the German justice.


Can't it be "er mag nicht möbel"?


No, it cannot.

Möbel is indefinite, so if you want to put a negation before it, it has to be keine: Er mag keine Möbel.


Why "he doesn't like the furniture" is wrong?


There's nothing in the German sentence that translates to "the." You need just "He doesn't like furniture."


Because the German doesn't talk about "the furniture" -- it talks about "furniture" (in general).


Why is it shows that He doesn't like furniture as incorrect


Note to self:

Accept the fact that object can come first in a sentence for emphasis. Then, the verb must always follow second, and the subject next. Then add nicht is to negate the verb clause.


He doesn't like the furniture should be correct


No, that would be "Die Möbel mag er nicht." The German sentence as it is says that he doesn't like furniture in general; your sentence would mean he doesn't like some particular furniture.


What about this? Does it state the same thing while being grammatically correct in German?

"Er mag nicht Möbel."

With emphasis aside.


Does it state the same thing


It seems like an unfinished sentence. "It's not furniture that he likes..." -- and the listener will be waiting for the second part: "... but rather books" (or whatever) -- Er mag nicht Möbel, sondern Bücher.


Shouldn't it be "Er mag Möbel nicht?"


Not necessarily. This is as grammatically valid as yours. This is like saying: "Him, I don't like."


Was I the only one who thought it said "Furniture does not like him"? because that's totally a Duolingo-type sentence.


That would be: Möbel mögen ihn nicht


It should be He doesn't like any furniture


I saw it as a question: Furniture, does he not like it?


For a question worder order is: Mag er Möbel nicht?


Why is it tt u write when the where there is no article it is regarded as wrong. But when u are supposed to translate in eng if u leave the where there is no article it is regarded as wrong. I cannot understand that


I can't really understand what you're asking. Can you phrase your question a little more carefully?


Why not "Er mag Möbel nicht"?


❤❤❤❤❤❤ I thought I was free of this rubbish after Latin ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤


Why is the sentence back to front...me confused a lot


This sentence i do not like


I am confuse about this...Mobel


What exactly are you confused about? You'll have to ask a more specific question.

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