"Without you I am nothing."
Translation:Ohne dich bin ich nichts.
A constituent is an element of a sentence. So, for example, when people talk about the typical SVO (subject - verb - object) word order, each of those elements are constituents. It is common to think of them as either words or phrases, but as they can be either, it's better to use another term that encompasses everything it might be.
You can have the sentence:
Ich liebe dich
I love you
Where each word is a separate constituent; Ich-I-Subject, liebe-love-Verb, dich-you-Object.
But you can also have sentences like this:
Mein Bruder und ich versuchen die kleinen Kinder zu beruhigen
My brother and I are trying to calm the small children down
Where each constituent is made up from multiple words, and in the case of the verbs aren't even all consecutive:
Mein Bruder und ich-My brother and I-Subject, versuchen-are trying to calm-Verb, die kleinen Kinder-the small children-Object, zu beruhigen-down-Verb
To be certain we would need to hear what Paralars1 meant by "inversion", but from context I assume "inversion" is referring to the Subject-Verb inversion that is carried out to turn a simple declarative sentence into a direct question. Zum Beispiel:
Ich liebe dich.
Liebe ich dich?
Because the entire sentence is one main clause.
I've been racking my brain for the "best" answer, because "why" questions with regard to language often require looking back at how the language developed over hundreds of years and a full dissertation to articulate.
Asking about the lack of an element makes this even tougher, because with the converse you can zero in on exactly what purpose an element is serving in a sentence, whereas with an element that isn't present you can't do that.
With that being said I think the answer I gave is rather suitable.
P.S. *Why isn't there a comma after "Ohne dich"? :)
Many apologies for the delay in answering, Thomas. And of course you may ask!
As you might well imagine, it was not a simple process for learning German, and I would need to write an essay to detail it all, which I don't think would be appropriate for this specific thread, however, if you are interested, I went into my process at the beginning somewhat on this thread, and listed some of my more recent learning resources on this post of my own (apologies that it is entirely in German and awfully long), and in this collection of German language learning resources, though I haven't used all of the resources I listed there.
To quickly summarise though, shortly after starting here I studied the grammar in a little book I got, and over time supplemented that with various different TV shows, films, books, YouTube videos, podcasts and more, as well as some other websites/apps like Memrise & Anki.
How much of a role did Duolingo play?
As you can imagine, over time the role Duolingo played diminished as my collections of resources grew, however, it has always been a source of motivation, and I've gained a great deal from the discussions here :)
First to 'Ohne dich':
"Ohne" is a preposition and, as such, cannot stand alone in this sentence. It is bound to "dich" (it is the reason why "dich" is used and not "du" or "dir") and if you separated them, you would change the meaning of the whole sentence.
Now to 'ich bin':
This is tougher to explain because although they are related to each other ("bin" is the "ich" conjugation of "sein" in the present tense indicative mood) they do not form a constituent of a sentence.
"Ich" is a personal pronoun, and "bin" is a conjugated verb.
The position of "bin" within a clause is always fixed, be it in the first position for direct questions, in the second position for declarative statements, or at the end of a clause for subordinate clauses - it is always determined by the type of clause it is a part of.
The position of "ich" is more flexible and can usually be chosen by the speaker or writer. That doesn't mean it can go anywhere in a given sentence, but that there are usually a couple of options for where "ich" can go, and the speaker will decide based on where s/he wants to put emphasis within their sentence.
'Ohne dich bin ich nichts.' I get that because of V2 rule but 'Ich bin nichts ohne dich' does that need a comma? 'Ich bin nichts, ohne dich' ? And as this is quite a dramatic thing to say what then is wrong with 'Ohne dich, ich bin nichts' or elaborating 'Ohne dich meine Schatz, ich bin nichts!' or 'Nein, ich bin nichts! Grünhilde, ich bin nichts!' Now take a more mundane sentance -'Es wird nicht funktionieren' and prefix 'Ohne Batterie' and it seems to me in this case I really do need to follow the V2 rule - 'Ohne Batterie wird es nicht funktionieren' Can a native speaker please clarify?
In English yes, but in German for a question it would be: "Bin ich nichts ohne dich?"
The structure is normal. This is the preferred way to translate, but you could also say "Ich bin nichts ohne dich" which does literally translate to "I am nothing without you" which makes sense, it's just that in German the dependent clause most of the time comes first in the sentence, moving the "Ich bin nichts" to the end, and flipping the verb with the noun (cuz thats grammar rules)
Ich sage zögerlich ja :P
„Nix“ wird oft gesagt, auch manchmal da, wo man „nichts“ schreiben würde. Es ist (mindestens schriftlich) aber fest in der Umgangssprache genagelt und ich möchte hier energisch betonen, dass man „nix“ nie schreiben sollte, wenn der Zusammenhang auch nur ansatzweise formell ist.
Dein Satz sollte übrigens folgenderweise lauten:
„Nix“ bedeutet auch „nichts“, oder?; oder
„Nix“ heißt auch „nichts“. Ist das richtig?
Kann sein, dass man „richtig“ als Fragewort ans Ende eines Satzes einfügen kann, aber mir ist das nicht bekannt und da kenne ich mich auf keinen Fall aus.
Was hier wichtig ist:
Das konjugierte Verb muss das zweite Element eines Hauptsatzes sein.
„Meinen“ heißt „to mean“ nur im Sinne von „What do you mean?“. Also, in diesem Sinne hängt es immer mit einer Person zusammen. Wenn man sich also nach einer Bedeutung oder Definition eines Wortes, Begriffs usw. erkundigen will, muss man entweder „heißen“ oder „bedeuten“ verwenden.
In colloquial German—Umgangssprache—you'll hear and see "bins" in sentences like:
Some people write it "bin's" as it's an abbreviation of "bin es", but the rules for abbreviation in German aren't the same as ours in English. For example, in my experience "für das Auto" is almost always abbreviated to "fürs Auto" rather than "für's Auto". However, that's a preposition, so you're less likely to see an apostrophe there because of other prepositional abbreviations like "im"—"in dem"—and "am"—"an dem"—where you will never see an apostrophe.
So you'll see "bin's" more often than you'll see "für's"; but you'll see "bins" much more often than you'll see "dont".
The reason it's "Ohne dich bin ich nichts" and not "Ohne dich ich bin nichts", is because of clauses: "Ohne dich" = dependent clause, cannot stand by itself; "Ich bin nichts" = independent clause, can stand by itself, and it turns out that the verb switches to the start in independent clauses that are at the end of the sentence.