"Wem schreibst du?"

Translation:Who are you writing to?

8/17/2017, 9:37:25 PM

36 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.

    8/19/2017, 9:52:34 AM

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

    8/19/2017, 2:49:40 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/TroyDoby
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    It's incorrect grammar to end a sentence with a preposition in English.

    5/20/2018, 1:33:36 AM

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

    5/27/2018, 10:46:25 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/Will709432
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    It's not an old myth. Who are you writing to, is incorrect in formal English. Formally, you should write, To whom do you write. Seems to me German is much more specific gramatically than English. Wem is the indirect object, as in a prepositional phrase.

    Example:

    I am writing a letter to my friend.

    My friend is the prep phrase indirect object. Therefore in German Wem is used to ask to whom.

    9/30/2018, 11:05:54 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/Nancy783127

    It is in fact a myth. In many situations, English uses two or more words where Latin (and often German) use just one. For example, all infinitives:

    lernen = to learn lesen = to read

    Constructions like "to whom" also fall into this category, with the German equivalent being "wem".

    In Latin, neither of these constructions could be separated into different pieces for obvious reasons: they were single words. But in English, they were not single words, and nothing prevented their separation. Indeed, from the very beginning of their use, people did often separate them, in written as well as in spoken language.

    At various times there has been a push to try to make the English language more rigid, more logical, more valid in some way. Western European culture being what it is, that meant: make it more like Latin. People who considered themselves well educated would never dream of splitting an infinitive or ending a sentence with a preposition (except when they DID, for reasons of emphasis. But that's OK, you see, because as educated men they understand the rules of grammar and when to break them.)

    Bottom line, though, there is no reason, linguistically, logically, or grammatically, for English to be constrained by these consciously constructed rules. All they represent is mere preference, enshrined into a marker of high status. There is nothing to say they have to stick around.

    9/30/2018, 3:35:14 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/JasonBruba

    Language does not conform to rules. Even if you want it to.

    1/19/2019, 4:43:27 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo
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    That depends on which grammar reference you ask.

    5/20/2018, 6:15:59 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/JasonBruba

    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.

    3/6/2019, 1:15:14 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/DanFelker

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

    4/28/2018, 6:43:04 PM

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

    5/28/2018, 10:09:36 AM

    [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!

      5/28/2018, 10:18:21 AM

      https://www.duolingo.com/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".

      8/22/2018, 7:20:36 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/PatriciaJH
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      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

      5/31/2018, 7:02:45 AM

      https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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      yeah it is standard but still not accepted :/

      1/26/2019, 8:19:26 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/SharkStrong

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

      1/28/2019, 1:35:34 AM

      [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.

        4/30/2018, 6:42:34 AM

        https://www.duolingo.com/Delta1212
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        It is not required in American English, however.

        5/12/2018, 8:48:29 PM

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

        6/27/2018, 1:31:39 PM

        https://www.duolingo.com/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.

        8/20/2017, 3:09:27 AM

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

        8/20/2017, 4:41:28 AM

        [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.

          8/21/2017, 6:42:42 AM

          https://www.duolingo.com/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.

          8/3/2018, 3:41:24 PM

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

          8/3/2018, 6:26:26 PM

          https://www.duolingo.com/Nancy783127

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

          8/22/2018, 7:19:20 PM

          https://www.duolingo.com/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.

          6/30/2018, 12:55:24 AM

          [deactivated user]

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

            6/30/2018, 7:00:13 AM

            https://www.duolingo.com/Aquist1940

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

            9/4/2018, 12:59:13 AM

            https://www.duolingo.com/Flecha_D
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            the verb schreiben asks for Dativ?

            2/23/2019, 3:40:27 AM

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

            2/23/2019, 6:22:23 AM

            https://www.duolingo.com/DawsonDarl

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

            1/12/2019, 10:42:31 AM

            https://www.duolingo.com/WilliamM.G
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            Given that we should be learning correct German icw using correct English, this is wrong --> Whom are you writing to?

            1/25/2019, 2:46:16 PM

            [deactivated user]

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

              1/26/2019, 7:53:22 AM

              https://www.duolingo.com/shasdi1

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

              3/15/2019, 12:09:06 PM

              https://www.duolingo.com/Delta1212
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              That sentence is theoretically possible, but not as natural as the above suggested translation.

              3/15/2019, 12:14:55 PM

              https://www.duolingo.com/DawsonDarl

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

              1/12/2019, 10:44:43 AM
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