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"Was magst du an ihr?"

Translation:What do you like about her?

February 19, 2013

105 Comments


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

If I want to say "What do you like about him"? "Was magst du an ihm?" is correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siddhartha_90

That would also translate to 'What do you like about it"?


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

This is difficult to answer since it depends on what you describe with "it", what article the noun you describe with "it" has, and what the context is.

For objects/actions I'd say: "Was magst du daran?" eg:

  • "Ich mag den Tisch. - Was magst du daran?" (I like the table. What do you like about it?)
  • "Ich mag Lesen. - Was magst du daran?" (I like reading. -What do you like about it?)

Generally you can use ihm/ihr for objects/actions like this too, but usually it is more often used for people/animals/living things. It sounds a bit weird/unnatural if you use "ihm" but refer to a table.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WarrenBrow3

My German professor says the long words are simple, it's the short ones that get you in trouble. "Well, I didn't feel well after I fell in the well."


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

Verb Mögen requires Dative?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paulina126937

No, requires Akkusativ


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

When do you use 'über' vs when do you use 'an' to mean 'about'?

For example, from before, "das ist alles, was ich über ihn weiß", or "that is all I know about him".


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

Prepositions are in most cases not translated directly, but used to modify or specify the meaning of another word. You just have to learn it. There is no regularity or tendency that could help you. It is like that with every language I know.

to get ON the bus = IN den Bus einsteigen

to go TO school = IN die Schule gehen

to laugh AT sb = jmd AUSlachen

to smile AT sb = jmd ANlachen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bogg22

Take it your third example is dative giving there is an aus.... What case does an lachen take?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bogg22

Hang on it is jdN anlächeln... But jdM zulächeln


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

Even in the same country you can have variations regarding which is the "correct" way to phrase things. For example, "standing on line" in New York versus "standing in line" for most of the other places in USA.


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

"What do you like on her?" Why not?


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

In English, it's "... like about her"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frajo99

What if you are talking about something she is wearing though? I could ask "What do you like on her?" And the answer could be, "I like those earrings on her," or something like that.


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

Good question. What preposition do you use if you want to say, "What do you like on her?" in German? . . .


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

Yes, I had the same question. I thought it made sense to ask, "What do you like on her?" Is their another verb phrase or idiom to ask what clothing I like on a person?


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

Was magst du auf ihr?


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

In english is "about". "On her"? Sounds really weird!


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

Or "What do you like at her?"


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

Why can't it be 'What do you like about it?' ? Is there something that modifies 'ihr' to mean 'her' and not 'it' ?


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

It is in dative. The dative case of 'it' (and of 'him' as well) is 'ihm', the dative case of 'her' is 'ihr', so "What do you like about it?" translates as "Was magst du an ihm?". See the second green table on this page: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/grammatik/Basic_Chart.html


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

How does that apply to examples where the 'it' refers to a feminine noun? For example: "die Katze laeuft nachdem sie die Maus sieht."


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

I assume that what Susande means is that the dative case of "es" is "ihm". As far as I know, if you were talking about that cat you would indeed say "Was magst du an ihr?".


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

Thanks - let me clarify, because even I couldn't figure out what I was asking above.

My question goes to the translation, too. "Was magst du an ihr?" translates as "What do you like about her?" but I'm also wondering, couldn't it be translated as "what do you think about IT?" if the 'it' that is being referred to is a feminine noun?

E.g., "Ich habe eine neue Katze; was magst du an ihr?" Is 'ihr' correct here? Or should it be 'ihm' because a cat can also be referred to as 'es'?


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

Well, I am not a native German speaker, so I cannot say for sure, but my understanding it that if you are talking about a feminine object, you use the feminine pronouns. I read once in a German Textbook that if you ask "Wie ist der Abend?" the answer is, "Er ist gut.", and I assume that the same thing happens here.

Where the doubt comes in is in regard to that cat; what happens if the cat is a male? Taking "Katze" as the feminine noun it is, you can refer to any and all cats generally with the feminine articles, adjectives, and pronouns, but I would imagine that if you were talking about a particular cat which you knew to be a male, you could use the masculine pronouns . . . I think? I know I would want to translate your sentence "what do you think about him/her" just because that is how you talk about cats whose gender you know in English.

The thing I wonder, though, is whether you might actually not use "ihm" or "ihr" at all in some cases, instead using "dies", "das", "jene" or nothing at all - perhaps especially with an inanimate object. Maybe something like this (no guarantees on the correctness of the following):

"Ich habe einen neuen Messer. Was meinst du?" "Er gefällt mir." "Was magst du an ihm?" "Seine Schneide ist sehr gut."

(In case comparing to Spanish helps, the following is correct Spanish: "Tengo un nuevo cuchillo. ¿Qué opinas?" "Me gusta." "¿Qué te gusta de él?" "Su arista es muy buena.")

So, to sum up my ramblings . . . as far as I know, "what do you like about it?" is a perfectly reasonable translation, but without the context there to tell you you're dealing with an inanimate object, I think "what do you think about her?" is probably the better translation.


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

This is similar to my thinking. I wrote, "What do you make of her." meaning, "What is your impression of her." Duo didn't recognize it as correct, but I'm wondering if I was, idiomatically.


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

"Katze" ist weiblich, "ihr" ist korrekt "der Kater" ist männlich, "ihm" "es" ist ein neutrales/nicht lebendiges Ding: no, you can't use "es"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MoAl2

yes but why is it in dative and not acquisitive? I don't understand, an action is being done "liking" so why isn't it in acquisitive?


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

Because the object here is 'was', not 'ihr'.

'What do you like about her?" as a statement becomes "You like [xxx] about her"; the [xxx] is what would be in the accusative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siddhartha_90

Thanks. I've been wondering about this for a while now.


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

It is not acquisitive because there is no purchase or acquisition in the phrase ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siddhartha_90

Thanks. for asking I've been wondering about this for a while now.


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

Is it just me or anybody else heard it as "machst?


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

Me too, they sound identical.


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

Why is "what do you like on her" wrong? Thought it has the exact same meaning as "what do you like about her"And how would you translate it in case they differ. Thank you


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

I can't speak to the German, but "what do you like on her?" is not the same as "what do you like about her?"

"What do you like on her" sounds like you're asking about the clothing she is wearing.


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

When would an trigger accusative?


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

When it is the destination of motion.

For example, if so stick something to her, so that the sticker moves until it is at her, that would be etwas an sie kleben.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bogg22

Why is this dative... Über is always accusative when it is translated as about.... And another example ich denke an dich... It is accusative... Why is this different?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jayanti6

I guess that in this interrogative sentence there are two objects: 1)was( more appropriate answer to was) 2) an ihr A dative construction generally has two objects. But considering accusative case it has only one object. Guess this must have cleared your doubt.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bogg22

Haha thanks... Was a while ago when asked this... But basically different verbs go with different propositions... Like about is with the proposition an.... But something like write is with über... Which is always accusative when means about... It is just things you learn along the way


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

"What do you all see in her?" How is this a correct answer?


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

As a native English speaker, that is correct because "to see something in someone" is an idiomatic expression meaning "to like (about someone)"...not physically seeing something. It usually implies that you don't understand why someone likes someone...perhaps they "see" something that you don't. We often say "I don't know what he sees in her." (I don't know why she likes him.)


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

I'm a native English speaker as well, but I appreciate your taking the time to respond. I posted this question months ago so I don't really remember the context... but I'm pretty sure I was referring to the "you all" part and less about "see". "Du" is singular...


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

Aha! I hadn't noticed that. And I agree, du is singular so you all shouldn't be counted. Thanks!


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

Wait, it is?! I thought "mögen" meant "to like" not "to see".


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

Agreed. It was one of the alternate correct solutions listed after answering.


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

It confuses me cause about has like 5 other words for the same word in english and i dont know when to use the right one


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sara641491

Why not " was magst du an sie" ?


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

Because the appealing things are “at her” (an ihr), with dative of location, rather than “to her” (an sie), with accusative of destination of motion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeonardoFL3981

Why dative and not accusative?


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

Why dative and not accusative?

The meaning is closer to "What do you like at her?" than "What do you like to her?"

That is, what is it about her (location) that you like? -- location gives dative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silviu21

What about "What do you like at her ?"


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

No, that's incorrect. In English you like something about somebody


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GAZ-3937

Is it valid to write this as "Was du magst an ihr?"


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

No.

In German there is a rule that the main verb must always come second. (When I say "main" verb, I mean that if you have more than one verb or part of a verb, e.g. "haben gegessen" [have eaten], only the "haben" comes second, and the "gegessen" goes at the end of the sentence.) The only exception is in dependent clauses (starting with words like "because" etc.) in which case all the verb come at the end.

For more information, see: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thiudans2

What's wrong with "What about her do you like"?


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

What do you like of her. Why is this not accepted?


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

Native US English speaker here: that's not how it's said in English. It has to be "what do you like about her"


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

Sounds really close to dir


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

"Was hat sie, was ich habe nicht?"


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

habe should be at the end :)

(Relative clauses are subordinate clauses.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom673443

Can i ask why 'what about her do you like?' isn't valid?


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

could you use "über" or "um" instead of "an"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiguelPere240375

Can über be used instead of an? Why is an used here?


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

No, you can’t use über sie here; that works when you are speaking “about her” (as a topic of discussion), but here, what you like “about her” is “what makes her appealing”, and there Germans consider that the appealing thing is “at her” (an ihr).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johanna258510

Is there a difference in the sound of "machst" and "magst"?


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

In northern German colloquial, often not.

In standard pronunciation, there is a difference: machst has a short a sound followed by an Ach-Laut [x], while magst has a long a sound followed by a [k] (an unvoiced /g/ sound).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/abdullah562704

How do i say "everything" in german


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

What about "über"?

Doesn't work here, with mögen.


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

Why doesn’t it work with mögen? Doesn’t it mean “about”?


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

Doesn’t it mean “about”?

Define "mean" :)

If you mean "has exactly the same range of meanings as, and is always interchangeable with", then no.

Prepositions rarely translate 1:1 between languages.

Some uses of "about" translate to über and some uses of über translate to "about", but they are not completely identical and interchangeable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurent562011

How do you make the difference between ihr and hier?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matt912675

Instead of saying "an ihr" could you say "uber ihr"?


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

Instead of saying "an ihr" could you say "uber ihr"?

No.

  • uber is not a German word. (If you can't make an ü, write ue: ueber.)
  • über ihr means "above her". When über means "about, concerning", we use the accusative case.
  • But we don't etwas über jemanden mögen -- it's simply not the right preposition for this context.

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

how do we know the right preposition of a particular context or verbs, exactly? still confused


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

There are no strict rules for prepositions, you just have to remember which verbs take which prepositions and what their meanings in these specific contexts are. The same goes for English - a book or a film can be "about" something, to like something "about" someone is not very logical (in my opinion it should be "in"), yet correct.


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

why do we use "an" instead of "über"? I thought "über" is the same as "about". I searched for "an" in the translator and I did not find that "an" is the same as "about". I am still confused about the use of "preposition"


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

You will be confused about prepositions in every language because their use is always language specific. I'm also confused as to why one should say "I have been TO Italy" and not "in Italy". It doesn't make much sense since you're always IN a particular country. Prepositions live their own life in the native speakers' minds.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silacim94

why 'what do you like at her' is not accepted ? They translated 'an' as 'at' in the previous sentences


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

Yes, but preposition usage beyond the core physical location meanings ("on the table" etc.) usually do not translate one-to-one between languages.

As soon as you get metaphorical, different languages often use different prepositions.

In German, you write a book "over" a topic but you like something "at" a person -- but you wouldn't use those prepositions in English. Instead, you'd write a book "about" a topic and like something "about" a person.

Conversely, in English you are afraid "of" something but in German you don't *von etwas Angst haben.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/silacim94

Vielen Dank <3


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

Thanks for the gentle reminder. Until you get used to the way thoughts are constructed in any language, it's hard not to think literally.


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

Was masgt du = What are you doing? and an ihr = on her.

Whats wrong if I translate it to " What are you doing on her? ".....


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

Was magst du? = what do you like?

Was machst du? = what are you doing?

Different spelling, different pronunciation. Even the vowel length is different (though you can't tell from the spelling).


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

Ooops sorry... I didnt notice this, its Magst (Like)... Getting frustrated and making silly mistakes.. Anyways thanks for your reply and pushing my flow of learning.


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

I'm beginner. I think "ihr" is plural second person in German "her" is singular third person in English. Thanks the answer.


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

"ihr" can mean lots of things in German, depending on whether it's before a noun or not and what case it's in.

Here, it's the dative case of the third person singular feminine personal pronoun "sie" and so means roughly "her".


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

What about : Was magst du uber ihr


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

Matt912675 asked this question a month ago; please read that comment thread rather than repeating the question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jacob26394

These prepositions make me want to rip my eyes out. I know it's wrong of me to look at them with literal English translations, but An literally translates to so many English words haha


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

"What do you like IN her"??? I put "What do you like on her", like the clothes she's wearing. Talk about a stupid sentence!!

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