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  5. "Wem schreibst du?"

"Wem schreibst du?"

Translation:Who are you writing to?

August 17, 2017

82 Comments


[deactivated user]

    It may be pedantic these days, but it's surely not wrong to say, "To whom do you write?" Duolingo marked this wrong. Yet "Whom are you writing to?" is counted as correct.


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

    Agreed. I've added your version now.

    This is a fairly new sentence so it hasn't had time to "mature" through reports much yet, and that particular wording had slipped my mind when I last touched the sentence.


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

    Tested it 2 years later - "To whom are you writing?" works, thanks


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

    It's incorrect grammar to end a sentence with a preposition in English.


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

    This is an old myth, based on people trying to force English to follow Latin's grammatic patterns. Here's the Oxford English Dictionary's blog on its history and when and why English propositions do often belong at the sentence end: https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/11/28/grammar-myths-prepositions/


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

    That depends on which grammar reference you ask.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Craterbrain1st

    Yes, but only for the time it is written. Drift happens constantly, and grammar rules can never fully encompass a language. Don't take me wrong, grammar rules are good, doubly so when learning a language. I appreciate the effort Duolingo puts in to make sure the material and translations include many variants. Good luck to you and your team. Language is messy, and properly teaching it is hard work.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eleanor358706

    You are right but unfortunately nobody seems to be taught that any longer. It should be...To whom are you writing..


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

    What's the difference?

    1) Wem schreibst du?

    2) Wen siehst du?

    Does the first one get dative because you write TO someone, or does "schreiben" always take the dative? What's the real difference here?

    It's not a hard concept, as the notions of writing "to" and "seeing" someone are similar between German and English, but I want to make sure I'm getting the nuance correct.


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

    schreiben can take two objects: a recipient in the dative case and some writing in the accusative case.

    For example:

    • Ich schreibe meinem Bruder. (recipient only)
    • Ich schreibe einen Brief. (writing only)
    • Ich schreibe meinem Bruder einen Brief. (both)

    So Was schreibst du? (with accusative) would also be a possible question, if you are asking about the writing rather than the recipient.


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

    "Who are you writing" should be acceptable as the "to" is understood in English.


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

    "Who are you writing" still isn't accepted, 5/28/2018; I've just reported it. It's entirely standard American English. I'm a native English speaker from New England.


    [deactivated user]

      I'm surprised that if this really is standard American English, and not a New England regional form, it is not accepted. Usually problems arise in cases where American English is assumed by Duolingo to be the only correct answer. For example, I have sometimes been marked wrong for translating "bathroom" as "Badzimmer" because "bathroom" seems to mean "toilet" in America. I hope that when an American says he is "cooking on gas", he doesn't mean that his kitchen stove is powered by petroleum spirit!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nancy783127

      Sounds normal to me in southeastern NY as well. I'd be shocked if most Americans speaking common dialects didn't routinely leave off the "to".


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

      Here is a nice article on American English, the verb "to write" and the prepositions it does and does not require in Standard American English.. Although the exact phrase "who are you writing" isn't mentioned, I think "I write them" is equivalent, given that we've already noted that "whom" is rarely used. (The author is also appropriately tart about those who hint that others dialects are incorrect.) https://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/2009/10/write-to-someone.html?m=1


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lily191575

      You don't 'write' someone you to them.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Delta1212

      You can write someone in American English and it means the same as writing to them.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lily191575

      If you 'write someone' they have been written so become a different part of the sentence.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Delta1212

      And in American English, if someone has been written, it means that they have been written to. The meaning of both sentences is the same.


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

      "Who do you write?" isn't accepted either.


      [deactivated user]

        Not in the UK. If it were "Who(m) are you phoning to?" then the "to" is unnecessary, but with writing it is needed.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Delta1212

        It is not required in American English, however.


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

        In the UK can you write someone a letter, or would you have to write it to someone? In parts of the US where people might not leave ot the "to" in "I'll write [to] him" they might still say "I'll write him a letter."


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anita107177

        UK English. I will write to him. I will write him a letter. I think the 'him' would be dative in German and the 'a' (letter) accusative.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Holly2786

        This is what I wrote as my answer (as an native English speaker from America), and it was wrong. It's perfectly acceptable and easily understood to ask "Who are you writing?" even if grammatically speaking, it's not right.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulDixon7

        That particular phrasing, read out of context, would indicate to me that the author was creating a fictional character.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anita107177

        Wem is dative/indirect object? It may be pedantic English, but to make this clear, Duo should suggest 'To whom are you writing' over the current 'Who are you writing to'. Nom Wer-who. Acc Wen-whom. Gen Wessen-whose Dat Wem-to whom?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeWagner2

        When does Wen become Wem? Or Wessen? Maybe that's in the tips and I missed it?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sadaf131989

        What is the difference between wen and wem ?


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

        What is the difference between wen and wem ?

        wen is the accusative case form, wem dative.


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

        this is a great example of the dative case. thanks duo, its a lot clearer now;)


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

        I was not sure about "Whom do you write?" as I'm not native english , and it was marked right


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

        A strong clue is the German. English follows the same rules, so "whom" would be correct. There are some people who would use "who," some people who would consider it acceptable, and some who would consider it bad grammar. However, nobody would claim that "whom" is incorrect, so it's a better word to use.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilliamM.G

        Given that we should be learning correct German icw using correct English, this is wrong --> Whom are you writing to?


        [deactivated user]

          Yes, it should be either, "To whom are you writing?" or colloquially, "Who are you writing to?"


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anthony172525

          I said, in my best English grammar: to whom are you writing; and it was corrected with a sentence ending in 'to".


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nancy783127

          Requested that "Who are you writing" be accepted as correct, as it is completely idiomatic in wide areas.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aquist1940

          typ fehler, i did not mean to type "your" It was just a typo


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

          the verb schreiben asks for Dativ?


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

          When you have a recipient, yes. "I am writing a letter to my friend." "To whom are you writing?"

          The direct object (the thing written -- the book, letter, article, note, etc.) is in the accusative case as usual.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanMartin683360

          Whom are you writing to . marked wrong


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

          It has been accepted for me but marked as a typo. I assume the hiring shortages in the US mean that Duo is hiring people without high school diplomas.


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

          That's how I say it - Who are you writing? I don't say the to or the whom unless I am being pedantic.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew885189

          The answer "Who are you writing to?" is wrong. It should use "whom", as in "To whom are you writing?" or "Whom are you writing to?".


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

          It is colloquially used in Scotland.


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

          It is colloquially used everywhere but is still wrong, at least formally.
          Hint: check Who/whom with he/him as a possible answer.


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

          I would have used 'wen', which Duo says means 'to whom'. However, the sentence uses 'wem' - why is that?


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

          What is the difference between wen and wem?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Catharine499251

          "Whom" is not given as a choice on the phone tiles, and yet it is the only truly correct answer.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nigel-NXL

          Whom are you writing to is marked incorrect by Duo, but it is in fact grammatically correct


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewFisc13

          Marked as a typo/error but Whom isn't in the clickable words.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kesh315018

          Can someone please explain the difference between wen, wer and wem. Thanks in advance!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewFisc13

          If the question is about the subject, use wer. Wer bist du? -- Who are you? Wer ist er? Who is he? (That's how I rember to use wer)

          If the question is about the object of a sentance, then use you use wen or wem. It depends on the case the verb takes.

          Wen is for accustive case.

          Who does he see? Wen seit er? Accustative case.

          Wem is for dative case. Whom in English - at least in this example.

          To whom are you writing? Wem schribst du?

          I hope this helps.


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

          super confused about when to use Wen versus Wem. Any advice?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David634390

          "Whom are you writing to" is now considered wrong (7/2021), answer suggests "who." What a disappointment.


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

          I'm guessing whoever added the list of sentences though that the sort of person who would use "whom" would also believe in the "rule" that prepositions do not belong at the end of a sentencee, and would write "To whom are you writing?".


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Detlef191231

          Whom are you writing to. Warum wird das nicht akzeptiert? In der engl. Variante wird auf "whom "bestanden


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErikTheRed704

          So is wem a direct translation of whom?


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

          So is wem a direct translation of whom?

          English merged the old dative and accusative cases into a single objective case, while German still has them separate.

          So English objective-case "whom" can correspond to German dative wem or to German accusative wen.

          (The words "whom" and wem are ultimately related.)


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephan0475

          “Whom are you writing to“ marked incorrect!


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

          Oh Duo, could you please learn some English first?

          My answer: Whom do you write to

          Duo's response:
          You have a typo.
          Who do you write to?

          Do I write to he? Really? I realise that too many English speakers, particularly in the States can't tell the difference between "who" (nominative) and "whom" (objective), but that's not the reason to mark a grammatically superior answer as a typo. (And please spare me from the lecture about "To whom...", which is certainly correct but is not required; there is no rule about placing the preposition in front in English, as has already been pointed out in this thread).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Banshee1967

          If Duo is going to insist on Whom as the initiator of this question then the proper english is 'To whom are you writing...not whom are you writing. Idiomatic english would be who are you writing.


          [deactivated user]

            Not in the UK. It's either, "To whom are you writing?" or "Who are you writing to?"


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shasdi1

            Shouldn't the translation be 'Whom are you writing'?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Delta1212

            That sentence is theoretically possible, but not as natural as the above suggested translation.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen83116

            Duo should use 'wessen' here, as it is hard to distinguish if the computer is saying Wen or Wem. At least Wessen would clearly be understood. Wenn can be translated as 'When Are You Writing', where if you use 'Wessen', then it is clearly understood Who you are writing to; thus, Wessen schreibst do (who are you writing to).


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

            Duo should use 'wessen' here

            Eh?

            What do you think wessen means?

            if you use 'Wessen', then it is clearly understood Who you are writing to; thus, Wessen schreibst do (who are you writing to).

            Wessen schreibt du? would be "Whose are you writing to?"

            It makes no sense in either language.

            schreiben does not take the genitive case, so wessen does not belong there.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen83116

            You are correct...brain fart! Thanks for setting me straight.


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

            To whom are you writing is a more grammatically correct translation


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

            To whom are you writing? This is a more grammatically correct translation, as a sentence should not finish with a preposition.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex93ag

            That's a made rule with no base in actual english writing


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eddie175872

            As of 4/25/20 "who are you writing" is not accepted.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KrisAnne356419

            In modern American English, "whom" is rarely encountered outside of Chaucer or nineteenth century and earlier British writers. Who are you writing to? should be a valid answer.


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

            It's not only already a valid answer, it's the one that is currently marked as the best answer for this sentence.

            If you typed that and got it rejected, can you provide a screenshot, please? Thank you!


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmandaSieg5

            I think that "whom" is correct and "who" is incorrect, technically. But it would be understandable for "who" to be accepted as a colloquial variant. But, I think that "who" is a subject while "whom" is an object. The preferred answer should probably be one with "whom".

            Or, is this just an old part of the English language that is being widely discarded? Not quite sure.


            [deactivated user]

              In my earlier message, I certainly didn't mean what "who" should not be accepted - I just meant that "whom" should not be marked as incorrect. I've since had feedback to say that "whom" is now accepted too.


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

              Seriously, for all this controversy just think: how often in the real world do you use the word "whom"?


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

              It would depend on with whom I am speaking.


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

              IMHO "whom" is the last ditch effort for most of today's English teachers to stay relevant.

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