"My friends and I could not decide."
Translation:Meine Freunde und ich konnten uns nicht entscheiden.
I am a German native speaker. It makes a difference of the meaning if you use "uns" or not in this sentence.
"Wir konnten uns nicht entscheiden." means that you were not able to find a decision because you did not find out which option would be better.
"Wir konnten nicht entscheiden." means that someone did not let you decide. You only had one option. Another way to express that in German ist "Wir hatten keine Wahl."
Possibly. But given that the suggested translation is far more likely in real-life situations, I actually like the fact that Duolingo made me stop and read this discussion. Had it let me sail through, I would have almost certainly not paused to read this and would not learn the difference.
no object: "to decide" = "sich entscheiden"
object with 'against' or 'in favour of' = "sich gegen oder für etwas entscheiden"
object with 'on', 'about' or without preposition = "etwas entscheiden" or "über etwas entscheiden"
Or is there a difference between 'decide on' and 'decide about' in English?
The difference between "decide on" and "decide about" isn't major, but "decide on" is often used to mean "choose" (e.g., "decide on a color"), whereas "decide about" is typically more general, and is often rephrased to "make a decision about". (However, it's not that we can't also say "make a decision on". These are just tendencies.)
Just a guess, but I think that when there is no object of the verb "entscheiden", as in this case, then the reflexive pronoun is used to, in effect, provide an object. When there is an object describing what is being decided then there is no need for the reflexive pronoun.
'Sie konnten nicht entscheiden, ob sie ins Kino gehen wollen.' means that they were obliged to go to the cinema. They were not allowed or made possible to decide.
'Sie konnten sich nicht entscheiden, ob sie ins Kino gehen wollen.' is also correct, but it means, that they were not sure, which option would be better, if it would be more fun, to go to the cinema, or to do anything else.
The infinitive is "sich entscheiden". "sich" is inflected with the accusativ or dative of the personal pronoun, with exception of the third person, where it is only "sich". This type of verbs is called "Reflexive Verben", which means that normally the action done by the subject effects the subject. There are quite many of them in German and it's impossible to avoid them. If you need accusative or dative, depends on the verb in question. In this example "Meine Freunde und ich" is first person plural, so the pronoun is "uns" (accusative and dative).
I believe it would be accusative. The reason is that reflexive verbs take the accusative if they are referring to oneself, and the dative if they are referring to another object in the sentence. For example:
Ich wasche mich - accusative, direct object is "mich" or "myself"
Ich wasche mir die Hände - dative, direct object is not myself, but my hands so i am the indirect object (and therefore dative "mir")
This link may help if you're still stuck: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/reflexexpl.html
I'm absoultely disappointed that Duo didn't put this Reflexive Verb in the tips & notes.
On the previous excercises, there is this question "Sie drueckt mir die Hand" which means "She pushes my hand". Since I've read JCobbles' link, I've known that parts of the body or item of clothing is named, it will be reflexive in the dative. But before that, I thought it was just an idiom or the other translation of "Sie drueckt meine Hand".
If Duo reminded me about this earlier or since I started coming across reflexive verbs questions like this in the tips & notes, I would have been typing it down on my notebook or something. But since I've learned so many verbs, it's like going back to the beginning as I don't know which verb belongs to reflexive dative or reflexive accusative. I also peeked on the Genitive case excercise. I was expecting to see the tips & notes on explaining it. But it turned out that there was no tips & notes at all in the excercise .
I feel that the tips & notes is useless.
Actually, there is no reflexive verb in the sentence, "Sie drückt mir die Hand." You can tell that the verb is not reflexive because the pronoun "mir" refers to someone other than the subject of the verb, "Sie". If the verb were reflexive, the sentence would have to be, "Sie drückt sich die Hand." That sentence doesn't make any sense, though, because "sich drücken" (as a reflexive verb) means "to chicken out" or "to inconspicuously retreat". Normally if I heard that sentence, though, I would assume that the verb is not being used reflexively and that "sich" is simply an object of the verb "drücken"; in that case, it would mean "She squeezes her hand."
In "Sie drückt mir die Hand", it's clear that the verb "drücken" simply takes a dative object (non-reflexively). The meaning of that sentence is usually closer to "She squeezes my hand."
It wasn't my downvote, but that strikes me as based on an arbitrary definition, and not a very useful distinction here. "Infinitives" in languages with pronominal or reflexive verbs are typically listed with the pronoun attached. Whether that makes the pronoun "part" of the infinitive or not is... pointless to discuss in the present context? Most people don't even know or care what a lemma is (though personally I like that you brought it up).
In English we have the "to-infinitive" and the "bare infinitive" (which I've also seen called the "zero-infinitive"). The former is composed of two words – or, to boldly venture into an equally questionable line of inquiry, is it a single word split into two parts? We can split hairs, but let's do it where it matters.
I asked this question recently and received a great answer. I'm sorry I can't direct you to it, specifically, but I'll do my best to answer.
konnten is past tense (were able [or were not able]), e.g., We couldn't do anything for her. Wir konnten nichts für sie tun.
könnten is conditional (present or future--are able [or are not able]), e.g., We could go into the restaurant [if you want to]. Wir könnten in das Restaurant gehen.
I hope it helps. ☺
Entscheiden can be reflexive or not. Given that there is no context for this sentence, both answers (either "sich entscheiden" or simply "entscheiden") should be allowed, otherwise the skill consists of you guessing what was in the mind of the person who thought out this sentence.
I thought it had to be "meine Freunden". Looking it up, I am still not convinced meine Freunde is the correct form. I assume we're dealing with the nominative here but all plural forms in the mixed inflection end with -en according to Duolingo's list. What's up with that?
"sagen" is a nice an regular verb.
Präteritum (some also call it Imperfekt)
Ich habe gesagt
Du hast gesagt
Er hat gesagt
Wir haben gesagt
Ihr habt gesagt
Sie haben gesagt
I believe Perfekt is not so difficult since it is "Präsens of 'haben' + Partizip II".
Maybe you have problems with the conjugation in Präteritum? It is somehow "-te-"+"suffix in Präsens". Not the same but similar.