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  5. "If not, she will become his …

"If not, she will become his wife."

Translation:Falls nicht, wird sie seine Frau.

February 23, 2013



Would "Wenn nicht" instead of "Falls nicht" work here? What is the difference?


Yes, "Wenn nicht" is possible as well. "If" can be translated as either "falls" or "wenn", with "wenn" being perhaps slightly more common or colloquial. (If "if" is used in the sense of "whether", it translates as "ob").

"Wenn" cannot only mean "if", however, but also "when". So a sentence such as "Wenn du kommst, koche ich etwas" can mean either "If you come, I'll cook something" or "When you come, I'll cook something". So you can use "falls", which can only mean "if", to avoid confusion in certain contexts.

falls = if

wenn = if OR when

ob = if (in the sense of "whether"); whether


I thought "when" would've been "wann" not "wenn"?


Wann is when only in a questions - Wann kommst du?


Is 'will become' the conjunction here?? It doesn't seem to be, as 'if not' is the subjunctive clause yes? So why does it come before 'she'?


Maybe I've been misinformed, but I was taught that if a conditional is used, like if, the dependent clause is always in the subjunctive voice. (I even notice that many Germans do this when speaking English.) As a result, I went for "Wenn nicht, würde sie seine Frau werden". Is this wrong then?


Is not quite correct. Otherwise in English should be "she would become ".


But that IS the English translation. I also put "wird sie seine Frau werden" and got it right, is it not?


That was my answer and it was accepted.


Why the wird in the second part comes before the sie and not otherwise


In short, "Falls nicht" is a subordinate clause, serving as short-hand for a condition stated previously, and thus requires the specified word order. If the "Falls nicht" clause were expanded, it could be something like, "Falls sie das macht, wird sie seine Frau" ("In the case that she does that, she becomes his wife"). The word order is the same as other sentences in which the subordinate clause comes before the main clause. If you wish to put the subordinate clause after the main clause, my contrived sentence would become, "Sie wird seine Frau falls sie das macht".


Couldn't you also say dann after the coma here? Don't see why that would be wrong.

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