1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Es hat diese Person nie gege…

"Es hat diese Person nie gegeben."

Translation:This person has never existed.

February 24, 2013



Geben also means to exist.


Ah, like es gibt... This makes more sense if I use a more familiar sentence as a reference point:

Er trinkt / Es gibt
He drinks / It exists

Er hat nie getrunken / Es hat nie gegeben
He has never drunk / It has never existed

So this seems clear so far. Then we introduce the accusative part of the sentence:

Er trinkt Wein / Es gibt Wein
He drinks wine / Wine exists

Er hat Wein nie getrunken / Es hat Wein nie gegeben
He has never drunk wine / Wine has never existed

Breaking it down into those steps seems to allow my brain to keep up. Please let me know if it needs any corrections (for example I'm not sure if Es gibt is a complete sentence, but I think it illustrates the point).


Yeah so my issue now is, why is "Es gibt" it exists all of the sudden?! and not "There is"?


I suppose, while sounding odd, you could say "there is a person" or "there exists a person"? For something to be there it has to exist.


I was having trouble with identifying the subject here. Could it be "Es" or "diese Person"? I think I cracked it but tell me if I'm wrong.

In English the subject is "This person", but in German because of "Es... gegeben", like "es gibt", the subject has swapped. The literal translation would be "It has never been this person", with "It" as the subject. Meaning "diese Person" is the object in the accusative form.

Am I right?

Certain phrases in German like this confuse me, like how "Es gefällt mir" becomes "I like it" and the subject/object has swapped. But I'll get used to it.


The literal translation is more like, "There was never this person."

'Diese Person' is not actually accusative. Try thinking about what happens to a masculine noun for an 'es gibt'. Perhaps that will help.

[deactivated user]

    Just to clarify, "diese Person" is in fact accusative. "Es gibt/Es gab/Es hat ... gegeben" always the accusative case. If you replace "diese Person" with a masculine noun, you'll get "Es hat diesen Mann nie gegeben". In terms of thematic roles, of course, "diese Person" is the agent and "es" is just a dummy pronoun.


    Can you switch the order to be Diese Person hat es nie gegeben?

    [deactivated user]


      I always get that wrong. Thanks for the correction :-)


      Does that mean I'm right in my way of thinking? I need to get to grips with this because I always make mistakes.


      DTipps, here's my two bits on your problem with es gefällt mir. In English this would be a passive sentence, it is liked by me, i think some verbs in German are always used in passive voice, gefallen being one of them, however this is an assumption for my comprehension of the language. Ich mag dich( i like you), du gefällst mir(you are liked by me). I guess for some reason the verb itself changes in the passive voice in German.


      Would "This person was never/has never been there" be acceptable translations? (it is rejected)


      One of the correct answers I got was "There has never been that person." But, I put, "There has never been this person." "diese" means "this" and yet it was marked wrong. I'm not sure why.


      Is it possible to translate the sentence "Es hat diese Person nie gegeben." as "This person never gave it"?


      I think this is kind of like "Es gibt" being "There is." So the sentence is saying: "There never was this person," or "This person never existed."


      I understand how your first translation works with the given Duo example, but I'm curious, can you eliminate the Es and just say "Diese Person hat nie gegeben" for the more direct "This person has never existed?"

      [deactivated user]


        what is gegeben normally?


        Geben. However, it will help if you consider the conjugation for 'es' in present tense.


        That is, "es gibt," "it exists."


        Shouldn't it be "dieser"?


        Tried: "There is no such person." and it was rejected.


        try "there has never been this person"


        "it has never existed this person" could be right?


        Not in English :-)


        "There was never this person"
        was wrong


        How can you talk about "this person" if he never existed? I answered "there has never been such a person" Marked wrong but I still think it is the answer that makes the most sense. Could this sentence also not be: "this person has never been there" - ( so he couldn't have committed the crime) ?


        I agree with SydneyBlak4. If we talk about a person of uncertain historicity, eg Merlin the Wizard, we could say 'this person never existed', but if we talk about someone of no historicity whatsoever, eg the "president" of the UK, we would say 'such a person never existed'.


        "This person has never existed" is not correct English. Given that they do not exist, you cannot point out this person. "That person has never existed" should be the only acceptable version. It is a very tortured example to try and come up with a formulation where "this" works. If we are talking about say a perfect role model, or Merlin, we would say "such a person has never existed". We might say, "That person never existed." About the only formulation I think might work would be considering whether you have a photofit of a suspect where you discover it was based on lies.

        In other words, another poor sentence where we spend more time trying to make sense of Duo than making sense of German.


        This seems like an awfully strange way to express this idea. Would any German really ever say it this way? Just another way Duolingo tries to Shanghai the unsuspecting with obscure grammatical concepts I guess.

        [deactivated user]

          It's hardly obscure. Using "es" as a dummy pronoun is very common. Surely, you must have encountered "es gibt" (there is/there are) before. "Es hat gegeben" is just the perfect of tense of that phrase. There's nothing complicated about this.


          Ok. It took me three tries to wrangle this sentence initially, but now that I have read your explanation and re-read it a few times back & forth, it makes more sense. "Diese Person hat nie existiert." still seems more straightforward. Nevertheless, thank you for your explanation, Christian, helps a lot!


          Thank you christian!


          I got marked wrong only for not starting the 'person' with a capital P. Why?


          All nouns are capitalized in German. All.


          Duo are you ok?


          Would “diese Person hat (noch) nie existiert” work too?


          ah yes, from what I've been taught it makes sense that " It has this person never given" translates to "This person has never existed".... and if someone tells me that "Es" means "This" in this example, I'd like to know how and why, and then why I was never taught that from Duolingo or how I am supposed to know when the word changes to it or this

          Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.