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  5. Ich kenne eine Frau, die das …


Ich kenne eine Frau, die das kann.

This was the sentence on wiktionary. But it says "who can that". Shouldnt it be "die das machen kann" (who can do that)? I did get the latter on google translate, so it's at least also possible right?

Is die one of the words that displace the verb to the end of the sentence (in this case kann)? Like dass, weil, etc..

June 12, 2017



"können" is used a little differently in German as opposed to English "can". Both are modal verbs, they can modify a second infinitve verb without having to use "zu"/"to".

Ich kann sprechen.
Ich can talk.

Ich versuche zu sprechen. (versuchen, not a modal verb but a full verb)
I try to talk. (to try, not a modal verb but a full verb)

Not all modal verbs have an equivalent modal verb between English and German "wollen" (modal) "to want" (not modal).
In English you expect a second verb, when you hear a modal verb and if there is nothing specific "do" turns up to fill the gap. In German that is not the case. You could say the German modal verb can be used as a full verb.

Ich kann/darf/soll/muss das.
I can/may/should/must (do) that.

Think of "das" as including both "do" and "that". You can maybe get a feel for it with verbs that are modal in German but not in English.

Ich will/mag schwimmen. Ich will/mag das.
Ich want/like to swim. I want/like that.


In subordinate clauses, the finite part (conjugated part) of the verb is sent to the end. Subordinate clauses can be introduced by a conjuction (dass, weil..) or by a relative pronoun (der, die, das, welcher, welche, welches) for relative clauses. Relative pronouns in English are "who, whom, which, that".

Side note: Not all conjuctions connect a subordinate sentence to a main sentence. Some connect two main clauses. (aber, oder, und)

Ich kann sprechen, aber ich darf nicht. (aber, connecting two main clauses. The finite verb is still the second constituent)
Ich can speak, but I am not allowed to.

Ich kann sprechen, wenn ich es möchte. (wenn, introducing a subordinate clause. The finite verb is sent to the end.)


Thank you!!!! But just the question that i also asked meereischen above that in german adding sprechen or machen with kann wont be considered "wrong" would it?


It is certainly not wrong. Check out the link. Your question is addressed in the last paragraph with some examples.
"As full verbs:
When modal verbs are used as full verbs, one can usually complete the sentence with an infinitive:"

Using modal verbs as full verbs (without a completing full verb) is more likely to be frowned upon. I remember older people asking children back to give them the full verb after "Darf ich..."

  • "Darf ich eins ...?" (instead of "Darf ich eins haben?")
  • "was eins? angucken, verlieren, wegwerfen... haben?"

  • "May I ... one?" (instead of "May I have one?")

  • "what one? gaze at, lose, thow out... have?"

Another link for subordinate clauses.


Oh ok thank you!!


Your translation is better. (who can do that)

'die' can initiate a relative clause, in which the verb is at the end of the sentence, this is correct. What always do to check that is, if i can replace the word with 'welche'. If you can do that, its a relative clause, if not, it's something else. Although I do that for punctuation and am not sure, if that is helpful advice for non-native speakers.

Edit: The sentence with 'welche(r/s)' will be archaic, be careful about actually using it. How to replace: die - welche der - welcher das - welches


Thank you Jonkobu

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