Translation:We wanted to make the boy happy.
maybe my brain is overheated...but I really wonder why it is “Jungen” here...
thanks a lot. I only remembered articles should turn into dative form.
No, it's not an adjective in this case. It like the work Elefant, some nouns take an n in some cases, but just a few.
nouns like "Junge" are called weak nouns our nouns with "n-declension". They get an "-n" or an "-en" at every case except, of course, nominativ.They're usually masculine nouns that end in "e", and you can find a list of them around the net.
There are a number of special masculine nouns, sometimes called "weak nouns", that take the ending -n or -en in all cases except the nominative. Examples include "Junge" and "Student". Thus: "Ich kenne den Jungen", "Ich kenne den Stundenten".
Yeah, in this example it's singular, so "Ich kenne den Jungen" means "I know the boy." On the other hand, "I know the boys" would be "Ich kenne die Jungen"; in an example like this, the only way to tell whether "Jungen" means "boy" or "boys" is by looking at the preceding article. ("Den" is the accusative masculine definite article, while "die" is the accusative plural definite article.)
Similarly, in the example here, "Wir wollten dem Jungen eine Freude machen" means "We wanted to make the boy happy" (note the singular "boy"). If you wanted to pluralize "boy", changing the meaning to "We wanted to make the boys happy", you would change "dem" (the dative masculine definite article) to "den" (the dative plural definite article): "Wir wollten den Jungen eine Freude machen."
So yeah, a fair amount of grammar knowledge is required to translate this sentence correctly, in addition to familiarity with the "eine Freude machen" idiom.
wow! Copy-paste time. when my head stops spinning I can read and reread your full and clear message and might understand . Many thanks.
Why is "eine" used here? The direct English translation would be weird "We wanted to make the boy a happy"
Yes, this common German phrase does not directly translate well to English. It should simply be committed to memory:
(jemandem) eine Freude machen
[literally, “to make a delight (for someone)”]
to make (someone) happy
There are other ways that one can say “to make (someone) happy” in German, including the literal translation “(jemanden) glücklich machen”, but this is a useful one to remember.
It is also possible to use the “Freude machen” construction without the “eine”, but I believe it has a subtly different meaning. My unabridged dictionary translates “(jemandem) eine Freude machen” as “to make (somebody) happy” and “(jemandem) Freude machen” as “to give (somebody) pleasure”. I believe the latter is not commonly used with people (so you couldn’t really drop the “eine” in this sentence), but rather with things and activities and so on—for example, “Es macht mir Freude, anderen Menschen zu helfen” (“It gives me pleasure to help other people”).
i am not an English native speaker is it wrong to say 'we wanted to give the boy some happiness'