"Der Tropfen, der das Fass zum Überlaufen bringt"

Translation:The straw that breaks the camel's back

March 5, 2014

170 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fransalo120

what about "the drop that spilled the cup", should I report it as an alternate translation?


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

That's the literal translation and it works in Italian because we have the same expression.

Anyway, these are idioms and each language has its own way to express the same idea. For this reason the only way here is to learn them by heart because usually the simple translation doesn't make any sense.


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

That's not true. The simple/literal translation makes perfect sense unless one is completely unable to grasp the concept of a metaphor. It just takes an itsy bitsy teeny little bit of imagination is all.


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

Yeah, that's what I was meaning! That the meaning of the idioms is often not directly related with the literal (grammatical? Whatever) meaning of the phrase. Therefore you need something more, like as you said, a bit of imagination.

For example in Italian we have "Patti chiari, amicizia lunga" ("Clear agreements, long lasting friendship") that in english is translated in "Good fences make good neighbours".

I really love idioms, you have like a windows on the culture that speaks that language :D


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

In Croatian we have a similar one to yours.We say ˝Čist račun,duga ljubav˝ - loosely translated it would go something like ˝Clear bill,long-lasting love˝ ,who knows maybe we even got it from you Italians.

Bill in this context is used like the bill you get in a store after buying something,just to be clear.


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

Oh, okay. In that case, yeah. I'll agree. I thought you were trying to say that the literal meaning of the phrase couldn't be associated with what the phrase actually means, even indirectly, and that one would always have to "just know" or be taught what the phrase meant 100% of the time, and that no one would ever be able to figure it out on their own by just thinking about it. I mostly got that impression from when you said that you have to just learn them by heart, I think. But at any rate, thanks for clarifying. It would seem that I had misunderstood you a bit. =P


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

And in French, it is "Les bons comptes font les bons amis". Good accounts (accounting) makes for good friends.


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

Thank you very much!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/foxxy1115

as an American, if you were to use the literal translation, we would understand the sense, but it would be very obvious that the person speaking is a foreigner. The way to master a language is to be able to fluidly use the idioms and other expressions that are used among the natives. So it depends on how well you want to know the language. I interpret between languages for a living, and a very big rule is not to translate word for word. You need to keep the sense and the meaning, so the patient or client has the same experience as if they were all speaking English, or German, or whatever language is the target language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobynLiebe1

What does this even mean?(the idiom)


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

As I understand it, it means that a series of small infractions eventually lead to a significant negative effect. Imagine that a schoolmate is teasing you. The first time it doesn't really bother you, but over the course of days and days the teasing gets more and more annoying until finally you just can't take another occurance. The last tease which causes you to lose your temper is the "Straw that broke the camel's back" or the "Drop that causes the barrel to overflow".


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

It is said to describe an event that causes something to break - usually someone's temper.


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

In Spanish that would be "La gota que rebasó el vaso ". It translates exactly the same.


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

And in French, it's "La goutte qui fait déborder le vase", same thing.


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

In Mexico it's "derramó" instead of "rebasó" but otherwise the same


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

I was thinking the same! it was more like the literal meaning, isn´t it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert683351

I feel this is a way better answer. This has nothing to do with a camel...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vicki325635

Agreed 100 %! Nothing about a camel here!!! Lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iris465878

No it does not work


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

When can der be used as that, exactly? I thought it was only when you were writing something like "der Apfel" that you could translate der as that, as in "that apple". Here der is used to stand for "der Tropfen". Can you always do this? And could you use das instead of der here?


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

"Der" has several functions. It can also be used as a relative pronoun (that/which/who) that introduces a relative clause.

Mein Bruder, DER in England lebt, ist Lehrer. (My brother(,) WHO lives in England(,) is a teacher)

Der Apfel, DER auf dem Tisch liegt, ist rot. (The apple THAT is lying on the table is red./The apple, WHICH is lying on the table, is red.)

Note that German always separates relative clauses from the rest of the sentence with commas, whereas English only does so in specific contexts.

You can't use "das" in the sentence in the excercise because the relative pronoun has to agree in terms of case and gender/number with the noun it refers to. Here, it refers to "der Tropfen" (the drop), which is masculine nominative. The relative pronoun for masculine nominative is "der". By contrast, if you had a neuter nominative noun such as "das Haus" (the house), you could use "das" as a relative pronoun:

Das Haus, DAS schön ist, ist teuer. (The house THAT is beautiful is expensive./ The house, WHICH is beautiful, is expensive)

http://www.deutschseite.de/grammatik/pronomen/relativpronomen.html


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

Thanks, Katherle! That was very helpful! What about "Ist das die Hose?" Could it it be "Ist die die Hose?", or no, because no clause is being introduced?


[deactivated user]

    The first "das" is not introducing a clause and rather refering to an object at hand, where using "die" would be incorrect.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andi312975

    Your first sentence is correct. Your sentence could be "Ist es/dies die Hose?"


    [deactivated user]

      Thank you for the explanation! I'd also like to hear the literal translation.


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

      The literal translation is very similar to that one of the right answers (The drop that makes the barrel overflow): | Der Tropfen, | der | das Fass | zum | Überlaufen | bringt. | The drop, | that | the barrel/cask | to the | overflow | provokes/makes.


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

      Could we say as a translation: "One snowflake can start an Avalanche."?


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

      "One snowflake can start an avalanche" is a warning that small things make a big difference, whereas "The straw that breaks the camel's back" is an explanation of that one action that went too far. If "The snowflake that starts the avalanche" were a common idiom that might be acceptable.


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

      I think this would be an excellent translation. The idea behind these idioms is that one small thing which by itself would be trivial but when added to many other similar things that small causes catastrophe.


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

      In other languages, like French and Spanish, instead of a barrel, it is a vase, but otherwise it's the same thing.


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

      What is the litteral translations?


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

      The literal translation is

      Der Tropfen = The drop

      der = that

      das Fass = the barrel

      zum Überlaufen = to overflowing/to spilling over

      bringt = brings

      i.e. The drop that makes the barrel spill over.


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

      Thank you! Also, that's a wonderful metaphor


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mustafadem599447

      I wish i can kiss you now for this awesome translation


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

      Ah see we have straw that breaks the camel's back, and I was wondering which words in Duo's sentence translated to that. But I like the German literal translation in English.

      The drop that brings the barrel to overflowing :-)

      Thank you so much for helping!


      [deactivated user]

        I've heard the expressions "The final straw" or "final drop" before I could swear... or maybe I'm just imagining things.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerda82

        Which is quite similar to Dutch: "De druppel die de emmer doet overlopen" (The drop that makes the bucket spill over.)


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

        Thank you! This helps us to understand the metaphor behind the idiom. :)


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

        Danke meine freund


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

        I am confused on the number and gender of the word for "drop" in German. Since „der Tropf“ is "the drop," shouldn't the plural be something like „die Tröpfe“? Then why is "the drop" „der Tropfen“, something that looks like the female plural but takes the masculine singular article? Or is „tropfen“ just a verb that German turned into a noun by appending an article to its front?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andi312975

        I'm sorry but the word "der Tropf" does exist, but it isn't the translation for "the drop"! In singular it is "der Tropfen" and in plural it is "die Tropfen" Now to your "der Tropf"... this is a very unhappy people, and if there are more of them, they are "die Tröpfe"


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

        La goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase


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

        Effectivement! Ça nous fait apprendre les proverbes anglais en même temps!


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

        it would be helpful if either the literal translation or the equivalent translation where in the "alternate translation area" so that one can also understand the words and sentence, as the current, equivalent translation does not let you build upon it vocabulary or grammar-wise.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        Yes, I've suggested this as well on other idioms.


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

        I thought it was "the drop that spills the barrel"... you would think a literal translation would be better for learning words so people don't think tropfen means straw for example...


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

        Good god, someone fix the idioms section.


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

        The straw that breaks the donkey's back should be accepted


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        Can anyone explain this syntax? Do the words have to be in this specific order to be grammatically correct? Could it be: "Der Tropfen, der bringt das Fass zum Überlaufen"?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brandonwong89

        where is the camel in the sentence! :o


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        it's an idiomatic equivalent, not a literal translation.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Diane508617

        Google Translate tries to translate the idiom in the same way as Duo, but ended up with the drop overflowing the camel's back which makes no sense in any language or as a translation.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joni651961

        Duo should have the literal German for the translation, and then the English equivalent. I'm just starting, so I try to come up with the translation before looking at the translation for the unknown words. So I had - The Tropfen, of the Fass that overruns brings. It is confusing to see the translation of The straw that breaks the camel's back.


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

        Yes. Most users seem to agree especially since they sometimes choose a different English idiom even when there is one that is an exact or almost exact translation. In this case the meaning is actually the same, but it doesn't help if you have no idea what the idiom is saying. In case you haven't scrolled through the comments and found the meaning it is The drop that causes the barrel to overflow.


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

        How the f*ck does a straw break a camels back?


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

        The theory is that there is a breaking point for anything. One extra.straw on top of the huge.load carried or even one extra snowflake that makes your roof collapse. But it is an idiom meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but not the one grain that gives you high blood pressure.


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

        he would be right I mean even human emotions have a breaking point (I reach mine a lot)


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

        :( That is sad.


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

        And what do you mean "it depends on the camels"?


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

        every one has a specific breking point


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

        it depends on the camels


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duo11dul

        That is someting wrong with this lesson


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moriya88

        Exactly the same in hebrew! הקש ששבר את גב הגמל


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

        The drop that brings the barrel to overflow


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

        For a non english-born this quitz is crazy :-)


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

        I would definitely prefer the literal translation. I get that the idioms apply to the same situation, but this translation will make me think Tropfen means "straw" when it's actually "drop" or something. I'd rather learn the actual German phrase.


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

        I agree. I knew enough German and Spanish to make it through when I got these bonus sections, but still had difficulty remembering which idiom to translate to. In the other languages I am waiting until I finish the tree to buy these bonus sections. Some of the vocabulary is not really is not really Duo core vocabulary so it isn't even drilled in other sections. Pretty much everyone agrees with you about using the more literal translation, either with or without the English idiom. They often miss the boat with the pairing anyway


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

        "the straw to break the camels back " was judged incorrect by duolingo.. I think this is being really picky !!! especially as it is given to be the correct translation in dict.cc !!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G-Shumway

        It accepts: "The straw that breaks the camel's back." The issue might be with "to break" as I have never heard the idiom phrased that way. It is "breaks" or "broke" (past tense).


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

        I'm sorry, I'm not a native English, can you tell me what is the "The straw that breaks the camel's back" means? Is it commonly used in every day life? Thanks.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G-Shumway

        Yes, it is common. It is a metaphor. The symbolic image is, when you put a load (straw) on a pack animal (a camel) there will be a point where one more straw will "break the camel's back". It is used to mean, we have reached a limit and anything more will be too much. Anything more will be "the straw that breaks the camel's back."

        The expression is sometimes shortened to "That's the last straw!"


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dux96

        As a native English speaker, I'd never associated the sayings, "the straw that breaks the camel's back" and "that's the last straw!". You learn something new everyday...


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G-Shumway

        You learn much about your native language in studying another one. For instance, an ellipsis should be exactly 3 dots, with a space between them and the last letter of text that the ellipsis follows. Earthlings often get that wrong (4 dots / no space, whatever)! :-) So there you go ...


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uan33

        4 dots with no preceding space would be generally accepted by a proof reader as correct for the case where the ellipsis follows a completed sentence. Also worth remembering that ellipses are purely typographical; in speaking we'd just trail off vocally, as in "Well, you know what John's like, so ..." (And where do you put the period then?)


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

        Thank you, G! JLU


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seva13

        the last drop makes the cup run over


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

        How about - The drops that are bringing the overflow?


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

        Whoa. Das ist schwer!


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

        Am I the only one who objects to the present tense in the English idiom? I have always head it in the past tense except with a future meaning. That's the straw that broke the camel's back is most common but I have heard that will be the straw that breaks the camels back.


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

        I thought it was the straw that BROKE the camels back


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        I've heard this. Is this translation not accepted?


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

        Well we generally say this in the past tense about something that has already happened. But you can also say it as a prediction That will be the straw that breaks the camels belt and this matches the tense of the German (Sorry if you read Spanish before I edited my error) It probably has a past tense version as well.


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

        You would also use it in the present tense as a general statement. "That is the (kind of) straw that breaks the (a) camel's back"....


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

        I hate these sentences...


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

        I don't get this expression.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moonlight10198

        I like the way they connected it to the English phrase, but I would much rather have it tell me the literal translation (something like: The drop, the touch of which brings overflow) so we can learn it piece by piece.


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

        You have the drop right, das Fass is the barrel. So the direct translation is The drop that brings the barrel to overflowing (overflows the barrel)


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

        While I appreciate the idiom connection, I'd like to see the literal translation as well - in this example, there were words I did not understand so I had to scroll a fair way through these comments to understand what was actually being said!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sara58430

        Considering this app is meant to help people learn a foreign language, I would find it more helpful if it asked me for the literal tranlation of the proverb rather than whatever proverb in the english language most resembles it in meaning. Not happy.


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

        I essentially agree, although learning idioms is not really the same as other language learning. I think the first thing is to move this bonus section later on the tree. There is often some discussion by people (Mostly people whose second language is English) who don't understand either the German or the English idiom from just knowing the words. One of the difficulties with idioms is their highly metaphorical nature which can be hard to get sometimes. Of course the other is their rote nature. Learning a language is the process of absorbing vocabulary, grammar and syntax rules from the target language to be able to both produce and understand a sentence that you may have never heard or seen before. But idioms are spoken the same way. They are sort of a ceremonial expression of a cultural truism. So, as I say, if they were put later where the vocabulary would be better understood and if both the literal AND a related idiom were provided it would serve to help you understand it when you hear it. While it can be assumed that you will hear and say some of the early phrases like Guten Tag, wie geht's,most sentences here are simply samples of possible constructions using the vocabulary and structure of German. But these are set expressions.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yakov278489

        What is the literal translation??


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eddie.zdi

        This has taken me about an hour and a half to get my head around because the literal translation wasn't provided. I couldn't work out what word was camel and what was straw. I googled it to find out what exactly the problem was and found out it's actually "the drop that overflows the barrel". As a native English speaker this phrase makes perfect sense, it's incredibly easy to work out what it means an going about it this weirdly cryptic way is unhelpful to the point of hindrance. I hope someone at DuoLingo sees this, and fixes this so it doesn't dissuade other learners.


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

        I am from the Midwest in the US and have never heard this before, can anyone explain please?


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

        Suppose you take one brick out of a castle floor. It doesn't hurt the castle much. But then you do it again, and again, and again, and there will come a time when you've pulled the last brick you can before the castle falls. Then you pull another.

        Here's another example. Suppose you have a kid, and you're a terrible parent. The kid has to haul the wood, pull the weeds, cook meals, etc. Then one chilly evening, you call the kid and tell he/her to drain the pond using buckets. The kid falls in, and gets ill, and she/he gets ill, and she is useless for a long time. What's more, you have to by some antibiotics.

        Here's another example. You're a cat, watching a daring mouse. The mouse walks closer, and closer, and finally, it takes one tiny step that brings it close enough to be eaten. That step was the straw that breaks the camel's back.

        Basically, the phrase means "to go one step to far".


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

        I live in the same place.


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

        "The drop that overfills the barrel?" That is the literal meaning, and I don't understand how or what a camel and straw had to do with it. :(


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeresaSwar1

        The reason the camel is in it well is becaus i'ts probally the german translashon not English the way i put it


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

        For idioms, Duo chooses an English idiom with the same point as the German one. It isn't a great system. But here, although there is no similarity among the individual elements, the metaphor is actually spot on.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paul29may

        What do you mean by this sentence?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mouss12

        In arabic: " القشة التي كسرت ظهر البعير !"


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/4ndrew

        Was too lazy to punctuate camel's and was penalized for it.


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

        Can't see the end of these translations on LG G4


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        What do you mean? That you can't see "Translation: The straw that breaks the camel's back"?


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

        Yes. The end of the sentence is offscreen. When I first meet a phrase like this I can only guess what can be the translation, but I can't be sure as I've never met and I can't see.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        Hm, yeah, I don't know of a solution to that. You'd have to contact support. When I used to use the mobile app I would rotate the screen so I could see the rest of the message.


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

        Thanks for the hint. I'll try that next time I see a long translation.


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

        Must be preeeety strong straw


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeresaSwar1

        No!!! I'ts not the straw's streangth or weakness that maters i'ts the amount that sits on the camle then it gets like sooo heavey then the camles back breacks


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

        @Luka Zaplat Mi v Dalmaciji slabo razumejo Slovensko,


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

        it is really the drop that overflows the barrel


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Misha274

        I'm sorry, but what's wrong with "The drop which makes the barrel overrun"? I am not native english speaker)


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        I'm not a native German speaker but I would think that should be an acceptable literal translation.

        Although "The drop that makes the barrel overflow" might be a more accurate translation.


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

        I said that it was the straw that breaks the camels back but the correct answer was the straw that breaks the camel's back. I was so close!!!!!!they should have said almost correct.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
        • 1592

        Fair enough. Report it.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shore01

        As far as I know, the saying is "It is the LAST straw that breaks the camel's back" - it would make sense if the German expression was something like "Es ist der letzte Tropfen, der das Fass......" It is just not any straw or any drop which causes overload - it is the last one in each case.


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

        The expression is It is the straw that breaks the camels back. That has morphed into the expression That's the last straw. The point of the expression is not that it's the last straw or the last drop. The point of the expression is that each straw or drop of water is equally small but at some point the combined weight of the straws or volumn of the water becomes too great. It is not too great because it is the last straw or drop as they are all equal, it is the last straw or drop only because it becomes too great.


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

        Or put another way, it becomes the LAST straw because its effect is such that there can be no more straws put on the camel, as its back is broken...


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

        It rejects 'which', but 'which' and 'that' are interchangeable in English.


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

        The drop that brings the overflow to the barrel (causes the barrel to overflow)?


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

        "The drop that makes the barrel overflow." is accepted , but "The drop which makes the barrel overflow." is not. I have reported it, and so should you.

        End thatism!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OldBen44

        'The straw WHICH broke..' What's wrong with that?


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

        Actually the use of that here matches the traditional or official rule for the correct usage. Of all grammatical rules to get proper on, Duo has chosen a strange one especially considering the ones that it ignores in favor of common usage. I would probably report it, but here is a link for the rule so that you know it should it ever matter lol.http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LwtaThat_Versus_Which.htm


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.kirito-kun

        What's funny is that most of the literal translations are exactly what one would say in Portuguese.


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

        I didn't get what they were trying to say can any one explain it


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

        Think of it as when the addition of one more small thing exceeds the capacity of another thing. (very general)


        [deactivated user]

          Again, one of those proverbs where a literal translation helps learn individual words and the idiom overall. It is very confusing to realise that the actual words in the idiom have nothing to do with camels and straws.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmadOsama94

          Is it a grammatical rule in german that verbs come last in sentence?


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

          Not all verbs come at the end. In the simplest sentences the word order is Subject, verb, object just like English. Ich lesen ein Buch. I read a book. But when you have a subordinate clause, the verb is at the end of the subordinate clause. Ich lesen ein Buch, wann ich schlafen gehen möchte. If you put the subordinate clause first, the verb comes first in the independent clause. Wann ich schlafen gehen möchte, lese ich ein Buch. Modal verbs also put the second verb which is in the infinitive at the end of the sentence.

          Here is a link explaining this in more detail.

          http://www.fluentu.com/german/blog/learn-german-word-order/

          There was a quote attributed to an American General (I want to say McArthur, but he was more in the Pacific arena, so it may be someone else) who said that the reason the Germans lost the war is that the soldiers had to stand around too long waiting for their commanders to get to the verb so that they knew what to DO.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmadOsama94

          Danke mate! that's really helpful ^^


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

          I translated it literally to, "The drop that makes barrel the overflow presents" (which obviously makes no sense). The literal translation is supposed to be "The drop that makes the barrel overflow", right? How would that be? Der = the Tropfen = drop der = that das = makes Fass = barrel sum = that / the Überlaufen = overflow Bringt = presents I just kept the words in order.


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

          First and most importantly you cannot ignore the rules of syntax and make a valid translation. Syntax affects meaning. Changing the required syntax of a language can either turn the sentence into nonsense as you have done or it can affect what it means. This is especially true when translating from a language like German with a highly inflected case system like German to English which only shows case in pronouns. Take the German sentence Die Frau gibt dem Mann einen Kuss. This will translate word for word with correct syntax as The woman gives the man a kiss. But because of the case system, a German speaker can move the position of the subject and objects without changing the meaning. Dem Mann gibt die Frau einen Kuss and Einen Kuss gibt die Frau dem Mann both mean the same in German as the first sentence. But in English you have to use syntax to determine what is the Subject, the direct object and the indirect object as there is no other clue as to the case in the sentence. If you translated that last sentence word for word you have The kiss gave the woman the man, and for someone who didn't understand that you were using a foreign syntax that would be nonsense. So syntax conveys meaning.

          But even beyond that if you translated the word for word better in this case you would get a better result.

          Der Tropfen = The drop (nominative class) Der = that (relative pronoun) Das Fass = the barrel (accusative although no change in the pronoun} Zum = zu dem = to the, although the "the" would not normally be translated Überlaufen = overflow Bringt = brings

          So literally word for word you have

          The drop that the barrel to {the} overflow brings.

          While this translation would be unnatural in English, it is a lot more understandable than the mess you created. I don't know how you got Das to mean makes. Der die and das should be easy by now.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
          • 1592

          O_o

          Close but not quite. Katherle gives the literal breakdown above.


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

          could this really happen


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

          It does all the time. If you watch water dripping slowly into a barrel, there is always some point where one drop breaks the surface tension of the water and the barrel begins to overflow. If you have any small measure of force, weight, volume, etc. you will always be able to clearly define the breaking point of something.


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

          This is interesting.


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

          This translation doesn't help one learn German. There is nothing in the German about a camel! or a camel's back.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

          Because in German they don't use the same expression. It doesn't help you to learn the word "camel" or "back," but it helps you to learn and speak German the way Germans speak, which should be the goal of any language course


          [deactivated user]

            This correct answer is not a literal translation of the words. Bit confusing!


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

            What does this idiom mean


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

            Literally it means the drop that brings the bucket to overflowing. Like the English expression it is saying that no matter how small the item is, at some point adding just one more becomes too much. It is of course metaphorical, often used about daily stresses.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adelT.Fahm1

            It literally exists in Arabic


            [deactivated user]

              what does this mean??


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

              Tropfen is drop and Fass is bucket. So the sentence is The drop that brings the bucket to overflowing. This one is actually quite close in message if not in literal meaning to the English idiom. Even when you are talking about small things there comes a point when one more is too much.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarDuolingo15

              In latin america when we assume people around you know the idiom we just mention the first part. Does this happen in Germany? US? For example: "Der tropfen..." or in spanish: "Esa fue la gota...".


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jamie284621

              Literal translation: "The drop that makes the barrel overflow" Equivalent translation: "The straw that breaks the camel's back"


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kenlielyse123

              This sentence translates to something like, "The drop that brings overflow," but the translation for this site is "The straw that breaks the camel's back." ... confusing


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

              All the idioms are translated to English idioms. This one is actually one that is an apt translation of the point. The worst one in the German course is Eine Hand wäscht die anderen translated as You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. On top of invalid comparisons they present difficult language too early.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lk1983pl

              does it mean "that's too much" 'przelała się czara goryczy' (PL) or "sth small and weak can consequently succeed against big and strong" "kropla drąży skałę"?


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

              I am assuming that PL indicates Polish as that is probably what I would have guessed although I don't speak it. But it essentially means too much. Both the German and the English idioms are saying that no matter how small and apparently inconsequential the element (one piece of straw or one drop of water) there will always come a point when just one more becomes impossible to handle.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lk1983pl

              right assuming, so we say in Poland "Póty dzban wodę nosi, póki się ucho nie urwie" sth like "vase carries water until its handle break off"


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GreekPolyglot9

              Any tips on pronouncing German like a German native?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJordanR88

              These idioms are difficult :/ Going to take me a lot more time to remember. I guess remembering the phrase "German is hard" will be my number one to memorize lol


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iamobsessive14

              Literally,German is confusing..


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SohaibAbdu1

              القشة التي قسمت ظهر البعير


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MonicaNely1

              In italiano come sarebbe dire?.....


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

              I think that "it is the last straw that breaks the camel's back" is correct too


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

              That's like third generation. The original expression was The straw that breaks the camels back. From there came people saying That is the last straw, referring to the idiom. Then some people began mixing the two.


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

              To appreciate an idiom one must understand both the literal translation and the figurative meaning. This was much more fun after I looked up Fass. It also helps me to remember the idiom, as drops and barrels are now linked in my mind to straws and camels.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antique_d0ll

              guys help how to i pronounce "Überlaufen"?


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

              I am assuming your main issue is the Ü in Über. The ü is one of the more difficult sounds to master and über is one of the most common words that has it. I wish I could link the a small cut from The Gilmore Girls TV show that was on some years ago. One of the characters, Kirk, started a rideshare service in their little town which he tried to call Über, to distinguish himself from the original Uber. He was constantly correcting people who said Uber and you would have heard a lot of that sound. To pronounce über, starts if to pronounce Uber but when your mouth is set to begin, purse your lips to the max and procede. It's sort of like a French u, if you know French, but not as short a sound and maybe a little more pursed. Here is a link that reviews the sounds of the umlauted vowels, but what it said about ü didn't really mean anything to me, and I know it, which is why I did my own explanation.

              https://www.dummies.com/languages/german/basic-german-pronouncing-and/

              German is the king of compound words, I think. I am assuming you recognize laufen, meaning to walk, although it can also mean to run. I learned German mostly verbally in country the first time. I never could tell the difference in sound between two words spoken together and a compound word, but I quickly learned that, if I wondered about whether something was two words or one, it always was one.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaurDL
              • 1592

              I found just treating umlauts as an "E" added to a word helpful, personally. So treating the "U" and "E" as a diphthong and gliding them together as "Uebur" is close enough, I feel.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blas_de_Lezo00

              It was the last straw which broke the camel´s back!


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

              I don't know whether changing the English idiom to match the syntax of the German really serves much purpose. I do agree that translating a German idiom with an English one has a questionable logic, but modeling the syntax of the German with the different English words makes people assume a greater correlation between the too. If you don't like the traditional English saying The straw that broke the camel's back, I think you should go for the literal translation. For anyone who doesn't know it, that would be The drop which brings the barrel to overflowing (or something like that).


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blas_de_Lezo00

              I didn't want to correct the sentence, just to remember the origin of the saying. Regards, lynettemcw.

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