Translation:We are putting the flowers on the table.
Things which imply movement leave things in accusative. E.g. "Er ging ins Schloss."
Except zu. That always stays dative. Because it doesn't like being pushed around.
But it says in the "tips and notes" to use accusative only if there's movement from one place to another. And to use dative if the movement is confined to a specific place. In this case the movement is confined. so why is it in accusative?
Imagine everything in boxes. In this case the table is the 'confined space', or the place that you're interacting with. If the object travels through the borders of that area/confined space/box, then there's movement involved.
So in this case the flowers go from off the table (outside the table's box) to on the table (inside the table's box).
If you were moving the flowers around on the table, then the table would be in dative. Of if the flowers were going for a walk on the table, for instance.
Another way of thinking of it is thinking of the word 'towards'. If something is going towards something, then it's accusative. Here the flowers are moving towards the table (not of their own accord, obviously).
Location change, not movement. "I run inside the church" > "Ich renne in der Kirche." (Dativ) - "I run into the church" > "Ich renne in die Kirche." (Akkusativ)
German is indeed full of surprises. Noted: "Verbs that imply movement stay in accusative." Thanks for the clarification. :)
Heh... "Because it doesn't like being pushed around."
I don't think I'll ever look at this word the same again! :)
I was confused about the difference between legen and liegen. And if anyone else is curious about it, here it is :
legen vs liegen
The difference is that liegen is used to describe where something is located while is used legen to describe the act of placing it. For instance you would have:<pre>
The rug lies on the floor. Der Teppich liegt auf dem Boden</pre>
But if you were talking about placing the rug on the floor, you would say:<pre>
I lay the rug on the floor. Ich lege den Teppich auf den Boden.</pre>
In the first example, notice that you use an indirect object to describe the location, but in the second you would use the accusative for both the object being positioned and the location.
Source: --Glenn Nelson
Would "leave" not work as "legen" here? As in "we leave the flowers on the table."
"Leave" isn't quite the same thing as "lay." "We leave the flowers on the table" only means that you don't take them away from the table.
In other words, you might lay them on the table, then walk away.
Or, you might simply see them on the table, and not take them off the table.
Don't confuse "setzen" with "sitzen" or "legen" with "liegen" or "stellen" with "stehen". One is the act of moving something somewhere, and the other is describing the location of something.
- ich setze mich auf den Stuhl. -> I'm in the act of sitting down on the chair.
- ich sitze auf dem Stuhl. -> I am sitting on the chair. (already there)
- Er legt das Messer auf den Tisch. -> He is placing the knife onto the table.
- Das Messer liegt auf dem Tisch. -> The knife is on the table.
- Er stellt die Flasche auf den Tisch. -> He is placing the bottle onto the table.
- Die Flasche steht auf dem Tisch. -> The bottle is on the table.
For many more details on this, click here
aufs is actually a contraction of auf das, which only applies to neuter nouns. Just as vom means von dem, and can't replace von der.
why not we put flowers on the table? does it make that much difference if we include the the?
Yep, because you're referring to a specific set of flowers. The following two sentences go together.
We went to the shop to buy some flowers. We put the flowers on the table.
The next two could be completely independent events. It could, for instance, be a completely different set of flowers, or a superset of flowers, or even only some of the flowers that we bought!
We went to the shop to buy some flowers. We are putting flowers on the table.
We put the flowers on the table means you have some specific flowers in mind, and the person you are talking to knows which flowers they are.
Why can't we lie the flowers on the table? (We lie them down, as in they are not upright?0
In English, the correct transitive verb is "lay." You can lie down, but lay the flowers on the table. You might look at this: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/lay-versus-lie
Nope. You need to imply that you're moving the flowers from one location to another (in this case the table). Keep implies they were there already, or are going to be there for a long time.
Why don't we say "to the table"? It is a move, put something to somewhere. "On the table" means I think, that something has already on the table. Am I right?
No. "To the table" only means that you have brought flowers from somewhere else to the table - you haven't necessarily put them ON the table.
And you can say "the flowers are on the table," meaning they are already there - but also "putting flowers on the table," meaning they were not already there, but you are placing them there.
Sorry, I don't agree. I read everywhere, that "put on the table" means something other, for example discussion, suggestion: "The chairman said we could not discuss salaries since the topic was no longer on the table." or "Her new offer is on the table." So, if this sentence means that "we should talk about the case of the flowers", it is correct. But I think, it means the movement, that "we put those flowers to the table".
Native English speaker here.
Yes, "on the table" can be used to indicate present position. However, it can also be used to indicate a motion ending in that position. See 6c on this link (Merriam Webster is the leading dictionary for US English): "used as a function word to indicate inclusion <put it on the agenda>." http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/on
Some English speakers may insist that "on to" is better than "on" in this sentence, but Cambridge (one of the leading dictionaries for UK English) permits either: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/on-onto
In any case, "Put those flowers to the table" makes no sense in English.
"Put on the table" can be used figuratively, as you suggest in your examples - but it also has a very literal meaning.
Can you say "Die Blumen setzen auf dem Tisch." Or "Die Blumen sitzen auf dem Tisch." Will either mean "The flowers are sitting on the table."?
Die Blumen stehen am Tisch. (in einer Vase oder im Blumentopf)
- "Die Blumen sitzen auf dem Tisch" would be a correct sentence but it just sounds totally weird.
Remember, German is very precise with describing things.
You use "sitzen" to lay something standing up. You use "liegen" to lay something laying down. You cannot use them interchangeably. This is just the way it is.
The same way happens with certain prepositions.
"Put" and "place" are perhaps interchangeable in this context, but "put" does not include "standing up."
"We leave the flower on the table" makes sense in English, but it isn't a good translation.
"We lay the flower on the table" describes the act of actually putting the flower on the table.
"We leave the flower on the table" says the flower was already on the table, and we did not take it away.
[US Englisch Muttersprachler]