What about these sentences is incorrect?
"Mein Zimmer ist schmal aber lang."
"... weil meine Mutter kann auch sehr gut Deutsch sprechen."
The first one seems correct, only a comma is missing: "Mein Zimmer ist schmal, aber lang - my room is narrow but small"
The second one is either "...denn meine Mutter kann auch sehr gut Deutsch sprechen." or "... weil meine Mutter auch sehr gut Deutsch sprechen kann."
Is the comma in the first sentence really required? I'm not opposing the fact that it could be there, or even whether it should be there; but more whether it must be there.
In my opinion it is not a must but more of a should/could.
Also, I believe the translation into English should be:
"My room is narrow but long."
Alles Gute :)
Right you are. The room is long. But for the comma, I think that you need it because it is an enumeration (the arguments are long and narrow) and these have to be separated by commas. Then again, I am not the king of comma, so I could be wrong (again).
Thanks for the correction
Ah, I see where you're coming from. I would certainly agree if the arguments were all positive or all negative, and if there were more than two arguments. Zum Beispiel:
„Mein Zimmer ist schmal, eng und klein.“ oder;
„Mein Zimmer ist weder schmal, eng noch klein.“
(I hope the „weder ... noch“ construction can be used for more than two arguments like "neither ... nor" in English)
The two reasons I don't think the comma is necessary are:
The contrast between the elements (signified by "aber"); &
The fact that there were only two elements
Though like I said, I still believe a comma works there, and even could be preferred stylistically; I just don't believe it needs to be there.
Als Deutscher schlage ich im Zweifelsfall im Duden nach. http://www.duden.de/sprachwissen/rechtschreibregeln/komma. Dort heisst es: Das Komma steht zwischen den Teilen von Reihungen (Aufzählungen). Beispiel: wir waren arm, aber gesund. That really looks similar to me.
I think that settles the issue. To be honest, I really had to look it up, so even native speakers are not so sure about the rules ;-) I guess I could win a spelling bee, but don't ask me about grammar. I really don't know it, I just use it. Maybe I read enough books in my lifetime to work like that.
Gegen Duden werde ich niemals kämpfen (und gegen Hannibal-Barkas soll ich auch nicht)! :P
Yeah, that certainly settles it. I think this was me trying to impose English onto German (and Lord knows there's been enough of that! *cough* *cough* Denglisch).
but don't ask me about grammar
I can identify with that :P I was talking to a German I worked with a few months ago about a video I saw where a German couldn't name the four cases; to which she said "There are four, aren't there?"