"Er hat das Sofa nicht gemocht."
Translation:He did not like the sofa.
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Sure, but not a big difference.
"Ihm hat das Sofa nicht gefallen." This is what you would prefer when you speak about a sofa not very well known by you. You saw it and you did not like it. More spontaneous than:
"Er hat das Sofa nicht gemocht" - he has had some experience with the sofa, e.g. slept on it, or he got it as a present, some way or other got involved with the thing, and it was not to his taste.
Ihm hat das Sofa nicht gefallen, und er hat es nicht gekauft.
Er hat 10 Jahre auf dem Sofa geschlafen, und er hat es nie gemocht.
n.b.: "Ich mag dich." = (I am fond fo you. - Nice compliment)
"Du gefällst mir" = (No real english equivalent. Something like "In my eyes you look good" - Goodness, what kind of compliment is this? Ironic?
This. In my college German classes the professor told us that in virtually all settings: haben, sein, and the modals are exclusively used in the preterite, and all others in the perfect, however in more formal written settings it's more common to use the preterite for everything.
It strikes me as a bit odd to me that Duolingo teaches you the Preterite so extensively and often ignores the perfect. I guess if they're interested in teaching you how to translate texts it makes sense...
I would think it says something different because disliking something is different from not liking it.
For example, I've never gone skiing; therefore, I don't like skiing, but I also don't dislike it. Similarly, I can "not like" my friends (romantically) without disliking them. Additionally, it should be noted that "disliking" something requires agency, while "not liking" something doesn't; this is because "not liking" something is simply the absence of liking it. Therefore, one could say that benches don't like sofas—indeed, they cannot—but it usually would not make sense to say that benches dislike sofas, considering that benches do not have agency.
Nonetheless, I do think that when someone says they "don't like" something, they often mean that they dislike it. If I'm asked, "Do you like raisins?", and I reply, "No, I don't like raisins", the implication could be that I dislike them. Accordingly, "disliked" could be a proper translation of "hat nicht gemocht", but only in the case that you know for sure that distaste/hostility/aversion is being expressed.
It was similar for me. Also, despite having learnt German on and off for about 30 years, I could make no sense of "gemocht" and assumed it must have been "gemacht", when I heard it. I could see what it meant, when I saw it written down, but when I heard it I had no idea as to what was being said. (Perhaps the past participle of "mögen" isn't used very often).
Are you wondering how to tell the difference in the audio? It might be difficult until you train your ears, but "er" is more like "air", and "ihr" is more like "ear". Besides that, the conjugation of a verb can often help. In this case, "hat" tells you it must be "er", while "habt" would indicate that the subject must be "ihr".
Well, the conjugation helps to find out the difference, if the verb is irregular or changes the stemm vowel ;-) But the regular verbs use the same form for 3rd person singular und 2nd person plural:
singen => er singt / ihr singt
sagen => er sagt / ihr sagt
denken => er denkt / ihr denkt
fühlen => er fühlt / ihr fühlt
The verb hat translates to has.
The verb hatte translates to had.
"He had not liked the sofa" is Plusquamperfekt/pluperfect/past perfect, which means it describes something that happened in the past before another past event.
It translates to: "Er hatte das Sofa nicht gemocht."
"Er hat das Sofa nicht gemocht" is Perfekt, which is generally best translated into the English past tense but can also sometimes be translated into the English present perfect.
It translates to: "He didn't like the sofa" or "He hasn't liked the sofa".