"Wollen wir ihm sagen wer wir sind?"

Translation:Do we want to tell him who we are?

March 3, 2014



Do we want to say to him who we are?

Should be accepted

September 4, 2018


Report it then.

September 7, 2018


can anyone explain the sentence structure here?

September 7, 2018


I'm in the same boat as you, but let me try: "Wollen wir ihm sagen wer wir sind?"

"Wir wollen" = "We want", whereas "Wollen wir" = "Do we want?" (Verb first makes it a question)

"Ihm sagen" = "to him say/tell" or "to tell him"

"wer wir sind" = "who we are" (word for word translation)

"Wollen wir ihm sagen wer wir sind?" = "Do we want to him tell who we are?" = "Do we want to tell him who we are?"

I'd like to discuss the verb placement (always in 2nd position), but that is above my pay scale. "Wollen" I understand it's placement easily enough, but "Sagen" comes after "Ihm" putting "Wollen wir ihm", all in the first position. Maybe someone else has a simple explanation on this grammar structure...This is the extent of my German thus far.

January 1, 2019


I think you're a little confused with regard to the positions and verbs. In this sentence (question) we have two clauses: main and subordinate. It will help, though, to analyze the declaration complement to the question. (I.e., let's change the question to a statement.)

"Wollen wir ihm sagen wer wir sind?" ==> "Wir wollen ihm sagen, [dass] wir wer sind."

I've added "dass", a subordinating conjunction, to make this (hopefully) more clear.

In the main clause, the verb phrase is "wollen sagen": "want to say". We have a main verb (sagen) and an auxiliary verb (wollen). The general rule for word order auf Deutsch is subject-verb-indirect object-direct object. With an auxiliary verb in play, it's modified to subject-auxiliary verb-indirect object-direct object-main verb. We don't have a direct object here ¹ , so we say:

subject: wir

Then we have a subordinate clause: "wir wer sind". In a subordinate clause, the verb moves to the end: subject-indirect object-direct object-verb. I've seen some people refer to subordinating conjunctions (dass, bis, falls, etc) as "kickers" in that they "kick" the verb to the end.

In truth, wer can also be used as a subordinating conjunction (see final sentence at this ThoughtCo post), and acknowledging/recognizing this still works with the analysis (subject first, verb last), but with no object in the subordinate clause, it's not as clear that the verb is out of its normal position.

This article at FluentU.com discusses subordinate clauses/conjunctions.

At this point, the transformation from declaration to question requires nothing more than moving the main verb from second to first position:

"Wir wollen . . . " ==> "Wollen wir . . . "

¹ One could think of "wer wir sind" as a direct object, because that is the thing we are saying, but that ignores the subordinating clause component and mucks up the entire analysis.

January 10, 2019


How would you say "Do we want him saying who we are?"

That's how I first translated this sentence, I'm guessing it's to do with wir/ihm?

September 9, 2018


Are the pronunciations of 'wer' and 'wir' the same?

November 21, 2018


Nein. Wer uses the long "a", as in "air", "dare", or "fare", whereas wir uses a long "e", as in "beer", "mere", or "spear". In fact, wir sounds pretty much identical to "veer".

November 21, 2018


Vielen Dank!

November 21, 2018
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