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  5. "Sie müssen es nicht essen."

"Sie müssen es nicht essen."

Translation:They do not have to eat it.

March 4, 2013

61 Comments


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

No question that modals can be tough, but very useful in conversation. An interesting thing to remember is the relative strength of statements in regards to whether the statement is positive or negative. Zum Beispiel (for example) Dürfen positive is a soft statement. Darf ich jetzt spielen? (May I play now?) Soft. Dürfen negative is strong. Du darfst nicht rauchen. (You are not allowed to smoke.) Strong. Müssen positive is strong. Wir müssen unsere Tiere füttern. (We have to feed our animals.) Strong. Müssen negative is soft. Sie muss nicht schwimmen. (She does not have to swim.) Soft.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jamaicarose2

I have found it useful to translate müssen as "required to" or "have to". Then it's correct for positive or negative use. If you translate "müssen" as "must"(which of course is tempting because it looks so similar) that only works in the positive form.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanWill806004

An excellent tip. Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JJ1856

So how do you say 'She must not swim' Strong? (eg A parent to a teacher if the child has a cold. )


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

"Sie muss nicht schwimmen." is too weak and sounds as if she has the option of swimming. Saying "Meine Tochter darf nicht schwimmen." means 'My daughter must not swim' which is the strong statement you want to convey.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JJ1856

Thanks for that. I think I've got it now....finally. I'm copying tis into my notes.


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

Me too. Thanks, karlectron!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philipralph84

Thank you, very well explained indeed! I had a quick question: where do "soll" and "nicht soll" fall in this hierarchy? From other comments it looks like they are both strong, "I should" and "I am not supposed to" respectively, but I'd love your opinion.


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

Philip, not being a native speaker, please take my opinion with that understanding. However, I often use "solte," meaning "really should." I've noticed that the other modals, such as "muss," "konnen" drop into their past tense to indicate "gotta" or "really." By the time they drop into their subjunctive, the voice is strained a bit more to indicate that. I belong to a conversational group, and that's all they do is talk, most of them more fluent than I. For "sollen" try out "Ich soll gehen," vs. "Ich sollte gehen," vs. "Ich sollte gegangen sein." The difference is slight, but in English we'd say softly, "I should go;" with a little more force, "I really should go;" and being a little upset, "I should have gone." Where "nicht" fits in I feel that it simply negates the sentence with the same amount of verbal force as the other sentences.


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

Thank you! Have my Lingot!


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

Let me take a printscreen of this comment!! Thank you very much!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sheila351374

Thank you for explaining this so succinctly, karlectron. Btw, how exactly would "beispiel" translate?


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

"Beispiel" (note the capital "B") is a noun and means "example".


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

Duo accepts two translations that mean different things: "they do not have to eat it" and "they must not eat it".

They must not eat it = Sie dürfen es nicht essen, no?


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

Yes, you're right. 'must not' is wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JJ1856

Are you sure about this? As a beginner non-native German speaker it seems there are three different possibilities to describe the situation, if not the sentence: müssen nicht= must not (eg because it's poisoned) dürfen nicht = not allowed to (eg because you have to wait for others) ????? = do not have to eat (because it's your personal choice)

But maybe I've got the wrong sense of müssen, probably because it sounds so like must in English


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

Yes I'm sure. "Must not" = "dürfen nicht".


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

Then how do you distinguish "must not eat it" from "may not eat it"? Sie sollen es nicht essen?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David215844

Duolingo did not accept 'They must not eat it' for me; it was marked as wrong.


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

And Duo is correctly doing so. The negation of modal verbs works differently in English and German. Though the (positive) "müssen" corresponds to "must", "nicht müssen" does not mean "must not" (that would be "nicht dürfen"), but "need not".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David215844

Ah. I see. Thank you.


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

I checked with an online translator and the first translation is "have to." I've always used it to mean "must," and I see now that I was wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuisAdrian943811

Its So frustrating that the word "sie" can mean both she and They!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patty13647

Just keep your eye on the verb, and it will get easier!


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

One could as well say 'It's so frustrating that the word "you" can mean "du", "Sie" and also "ihr" ' :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patty13647

One could say and DOES say that--often!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeff.chern

Could another native german speaker step in and explain why 'muessen es nicht' is 'do not have to' instead of 'must not' ?


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

I am not a native German speaker but Dutch, but the system is Dutch is roughlu the same as in German. So, müssen = must and dürfen = may (also can in contemporary English).

So far, so good, but the problem is with the "not". In English the not belongs to the following part: You must not eat = you must (not eat). So there is an obligation to not eat. Same with may.

In German and Dutch the not belongs to the modal verb. Sie müssen es nicht essen = Sie (müssen nicht) es essen. I.e. There is not an obligation (müssen nicht) to eat. Or in other words it is the negative of Sie müssen es essen. The latter is an obligation to eat so the former is not an obligation to eat or they are allowed not to eat. In English expressed by may: They may (not eat it).

In the same way: Sie dürfen es nicht essen = negation of (Sie dürfen es essen) = they are not allowed to eat it. In English: they must (not eat it).


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

A common mistake is to interpret Muessen as "Must" in English. If you, instead interpret Muessen as "have to," it will make sense. So when you negate "have to," it turns into "don't have to." As far as Duerfen, think of it as "allowed to"


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

This was very helpful!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-rolf-

Does it make sense to think of "muessen" as "required to"? Z. B.: "Sie muessen schwimmen."..."They are required to swim."....."Sie muessen nicht schwimmen."..."They are not required to swim."...?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Artist-Engineer

Sounds like she's saying "Sie mussen Essen nicht essen."


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

"Sie müssen DAS Essen nicht essen." Without the "das" it sounds like the person shouldn't eat at all! You probably realized this after you posted, but it is comical. Thanks.


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

I thought it sounded like "Sie mussen Essen nicht essen." when played at normal speed. I had to slow it down to hear that she was saying "Es". As for your comment, it is common for doctors to say that you must not eat food before a medical procedure. That is how I understood it, anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krys1301

How am I supposed to know that the answer is not, "They must not eat it," when that is literally what is written?


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

Krys, you are perfectly correct, IMO. I'd say "Sie solten es nicht essen" to soften it a bit, meaning "should not eat it," whereas I'd say "Sie müsten es nicht essen!" to place more emphasis, as "really not at all" eat it. Duo is a language class, not mathematics, so often there is not one correct "solution." Have a Lingot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krys1301

Much appreciated, SaulSnatsky.


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

What's wrong with "They're not supposed to eat it?"


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

That would be Sie sollen es nicht essen.


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

I guess "shouldn't" should fit here :) "You shouldn't eat it"


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

No, it shouldn't :)

  • "they shouldn't eat it" = "Sie sollten es nicht essen"

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronel166785

So what does it mean then when you say: "sie dürfen es nicht essen" ? And "Sie brauchen es nicht essen"?


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

What is negated by /not/? German: the modal verb; English: the action verb.

English: "You are allowed to refuse it..."

German:"You are not allowed to eat it.".

and

English: "You are required to refuse it.:"

German:""You are not required to eat it.

Ben

Note: You meant Sie (you) instead of sie (she or they).


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

There is an enormous response to this use of "müssen." I think it is because we jumble up "must," "may," and "should" in English. Throw in "might" just for more confusion. Try not to get hung up on this unless you are a language teacher or linguist. I must...or should?...or "oughta?" get going...now. Go with Duo for this and move on to something else. You must/should/might/could do yourself a favor.


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

Why is "You must not eat it" incorrect?? Wouldn't that also be the formal you version of "you must"?


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

negation of modal verbs works differently in English and German. The positive "you must"/"du musst" defines a definite obligation. But whereas in German the negation "du musst nicht" only states the lack of such an obligation (= "you don't have to"), which is better translated as "you need not", in English the negation "you must not" defines that there is an obligation not to do it, which in German is expressed as "du darfst nicht".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patty13647

"They must not eat it or they will die." Will a native speaker of German please translate this for me? Thanks.


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

"Sie dürfen das/es nicht essen oder sie werden sterben".


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

In the perfect tense, is there a general rule for when to use gemusst and when to use mussen?


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

"gemusst" is the past participle, so it is used to build Perfekt ("Sie haben gemusst").
But in this sentence there is no Perfekt. It is Präsens (present tense). So it is "Sie müssen"). Note the "ü"!


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

I just read through all of the comments and from what I can summarize, the difference here is:

Ich darf nicht = I must not

Ich muss nicht = I don't have to

Is that right?


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

They haven't or they do not have is the same.


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

"have" is used as a full verb here, not as an auxiliary. Full verbs are negated by using "to do".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

"They haven't to eat it"? That makes no sense. "Haven't" is short for "have not" (e.g., "They haven't / have not eaten it"); it doesn't normally work in the same circumstances as "do not have."

"Haven't" and "do not have" are hardly ever interchangeable. "I haven't any [noun]" is possible but not a usual phrasing; otherwise they're definitely not interchangeable.

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