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"They are washing the potatoes."

Translation:Sie waschen die Kartoffeln.

August 1, 2017

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JiDvok7

What about "die erdäpfel"?


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

That's regional.

This course generally teaches words used in most of Germany and pays little attention to regional vocabulary or words used nearly only in Austria or Switzerland.

So use Kartoffel here rather than Erdapfel, Grundbirne, Krumbir, ....


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

Why wouldn't it be "den Kartoffeln"?


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

Because den Kartoffeln is dative case, but waschen is an ordinary transitive verb that takes a direct object in the accusative case -- hence, die Kartoffeln (accusative plural).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin496801

Well, I know that Kartoffeln is plural and feminine. I am not sure but I doubt that Kartoffeln is accusitive and this is why I believe that DEN is never used as a pronoun for either Kartoffel or Kartoffeln.


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

I know that Kartoffeln is plural

That's correct.

and feminine

Gender is irrelevant in the plural. There's no "feminine plural" in modern German. Just "plural".

I doubt that Kartoffeln is accusitive

Why? It's the direct object of the verb waschen, so it's in the accusative case in this sentence.

this is why I believe that DEN is never used as a pronoun for either Kartoffel or Kartoffeln.

den is an article, not a pronoun.

And den is not only masculine accusative but also plural dative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valeria923240

i experimented with the order and wrote: "die Kartoffeln waschen sie" and it was marked wrong. Is it really wrong -- and if so why? -- or just an answer that duolingo wasn't expecting?


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

It's a possible translation, if you want to emphasise either the subject, the object, or the verb -- in English, you might use a cleft for this: "It's the potatoes that they are washing" or "It's they who are washing the potatoes" or "What they do to the potatoes is washing them".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebrahim968078

Maybe cuz u wrote sie not Sie


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

How do I know the difference between She is washing, They are washing, and you are washing?


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

You can tell the difference between "she" and "they"/"you" by the verb form, which ends in -t for "she" and in -en for "they"/"you".

For example, sie wäscht with -t for "she is washing", sie waschen with -en for "they are washing", and *Sie waschen" with -en and always with capital S for "you are washing".

In the middle of a sentence, you can tell the difference between "they" and "you" because "they" has lowercase sie but "you" has capitalised Sie. At the beginning of sentence, when sie/Sie is the first word of the sentence and is therefore always capitalised, only context lets you know whether the word means "they" or "you".


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

What about "Sie putzen die Kartoffeln"? Is it wrong or just unexpected?


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

I would say it isn't the best. "putzen" is more "cleaning" which could be just brushing off the dirt, and not washing.


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

Can i say sie waschen sie kartoffeln


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

No, you can not. "sie" is a pronoun. "the" is a defined article. Your sentence would be "They are washing they potatoes." and the second they is not a typo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valeria923240

Thank you, mizinamo!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Norm619204

I guess I am slowly learning to distinguish nominative from dative. I wrote den Kartoffeln instead of die Kartoffeln. I thought Kartoffeln was the object of the preposition. How does transitive work in this instance.


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

There is no preposition in this sentence.

die Kartoffeln is the direct object of the verb waschen, and it's in the accusative case.

Only masculine (singular) words have a separate form in German compared to the nominative, so the accusative plural looks exactly like the nominative plural, e.g. die Kartoffeln.


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

Die heiligen Kartoffeln?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatthewBulow18

why is there no difference between "they wash" and "they are washing" for example. is there a way to differenciate these tenses?


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

why is there no difference between "they wash" and "they are washing" for example.

Because German doesn't distinguish that grammatically.

Much as English doesn't distinguish "Tom did it (and I know that for a fact)" from "Tom did it (or so I heard)" grammatically, even though some languages go.

is there a way to differenciate these tenses?

No. And no need to, either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin496801

I am very confused! When do I use the umlaut and when do I NOT use the umlaut?


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

When do I use the umlaut and when do I NOT use the umlaut?

Umlauts are letters like any other. It's like asking when you use "t" with a line through it and when you use "l" without a line through it.

Learn each word together with its proper spelling.


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

Ok, first time that I forgot a character (wachen instead of waschen) and didn't get a positive with typo response.


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

If a typo results in a real German word (but the wrong one for this context), you'll get marked as a full error, because Duolingo can't tell whether you put the wrong word on purpose or because you left out a letter accidentally.

wachen is "to wake" or "to watch, guard".

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