"I have nothing to do with that!"
Translation:Ich habe damit nichts zu tun!
Interesting that Duo gives this answer here, because in the lesson it gave me this answer: "Ich habe nichts damit an dem Hut." If the latter is correct, then I would guess it is some kind of idiomatic expression. Anyone know for sure?
The idiomatic expression nichts am Hut haben mit X has a different meaning: It means not being interested in X or in interacting with X.
„Mit etw. (nichts) zu tun haben“ is a fixed expression.
Using "machen" in place of "tun" would be analogous to saying:
"He can't dance - he's got two left legs!"
Okay, to me it sounds off, which is all I was trying to communicate.
Feel free to swap out words from the expression so that it sounds 'wrong', because that's how it sounds when you swap out "machen" for "tun" in this fixed phrase.
"Ich habe nichts damit an dem Hut" literally means "I have nothing to do with the hat." It's hard to understand how German gets there from "I have nothing to do with it." I guess it's just easier to stay with "Ich habe damit nichts zu tun." It hurts the head less.
No, it doesn't mean "I have nothing to do with the hat."
If you translate it literally, it would be "I have nothing at the hat with that."
I'm finally starting to get a general intuitive feel for what word order sounds correct in German. Very cool.
Looks like this is the correct translation but in the app Duo shows "Ich habe nichts damit an dem Hut!"
Why this word order? Bringing damit after the verb? What's the rational behind?
The verb has to be in the second place in the sentence -- you cannot have both ich and damit before it.
As for the relative placement of damit and nichts -- both Ich habe damit nichts zu tun and Ich habe nichts damit zu tun are possible, with slightly difference emphasis in each case.
What is difference in emphasis between "Ich habe damit nichts zu tun" and "Ich habe nichts damit zu tun"? (I find the first easier to say.)
I can't put it in words, I'm afraid. They are really very similar.
If you want to emphasise, the nichts (as in "nothing at all"), then putting it first feels more comfortable. But other than that, they are more or less interchangeable.
OK, at this point in my learning, it sounds like I can say "Ich habe damit nichts zu tun" or "Ich habe damit absolut nichts zu tun" and forget about "Ich habe nichts damit zu tun." (I really dislike the sound of "nichts damit.")
I think it is because "damit nichts zu tun" is considered an entire subordinate clause. In German, when a subordinate clause begins with a subordinating conjunction (damit in this instance), then the subordinating conjunction moves to the first place in the clause. German word order is a very complex topic and often difficult to understand for non-native speakers. A very academic, but thorough, discussion is here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html
This sentence contains the word damit with stress on the first syllable (sort of a combination of mit das or mit es), not damit with stress on the second syllable (the subordinating conjunction).
Just so I completely understand, can someone explain the position of "damit" in "Ich habe damit nichts zu tun"?
"Damit (etw./nichts) zu tun haben" is a (relatively) fixed phrase, where "mit", "zu tun" and the relevant form of "haben" are all essential components that are not interchangeable with synonyms (though I could write a separate post about why "damit" and "dabei" are rarely, if ever, synonymous).
Because the "Infinitiv mit zu" (i.e. "zu tun") needs to be at the end.
The rule of thumb in 'normal' sentences (i.e. declarative sentences in the indicative mood) is that the first verb conjugates (i.e. "haben" -> "habe") and goes into the second position, and the rest of the verbs go to the end in the infinitive form (i.e. "tun" remains "tun") where, depending on the verbs in question, an additional "zu" may be added. Of the remaining information, one element goes into the first position, and the rest goes in the middle (i.e. between the conjugated verb and the verb/s at the end).
Now, there are occasions where additional information does get added in the "Nachfeld" (i.e. after the verbs at the end), but all you really need to know now is that this isn't really one of them:
No. of results for the Google search
"Ich habe damit nichts zu tun":
No. of results for the Google search
"Ich habe nichts damit zu tun":
No. of results for the Google search
"Ich habe nichts zu tun damit":
Well, I see the statistics, but that does not make the sentence wrong. It is still correct, and perhaps, less used in written language. But you can emphasize "damit" but placing it at the end of the sentence without violating the grammatical rules. So, I am a little puzzled why is considered wrong.
Well, I see the statistics, but that does not make the sentence wrong.
When we're dealing with tens of thousands of results on the one hand, and barely ten on the other, there's certainly something afoot.
But you can emphasize "damit" but placing it at the end of the sentence without violating the grammatical rules.
Forgive me for using a German source.
The second Grundregel für den Satzbau in Hauptsätzen according to Lingolia is:
infinite Verbformen (Infinitiv, Partizip II) stehen am Satzende
And to illustrate these Grundregeln they incorporated this table into the article:
Where you'll notice that in all the examples the non-finite verb (in this case a past participle rather than an infinitive) comes right at the end.
I hope that helps somewhat with your puzzlement.
Indefinite -> non-finite
I am not disagreeing with your assertion and I agree that it is generally true that the verb goes to the end of the sentence, but in your previous post it says that sentences may have "ein Nachfeld" and when I answered previously, I was referring to that. I don't have to be right, but I wonder whether "damit" after the verb couldn't be such a case. Again, it would indicate that it was placed there for emphasis, and based on the given sentence, I believe that this is possible. Isn't "der Nachsatz" designed to emphasize "something"?
but in your previous post it says that sentences may have "ein Nachfeld" and when I answered previously, I was referring to that. I don't have to be right, but I wonder whether "damit" after the verb couldn't be such a case.
Okay, it looks as though you're clinging onto the wrong part of my comment, trying to tilt it to work in your favour. If I highlight the areas I believe are of importance, hopefully we can both view this the same way:
Now, there are occasions where additional information does get added in the "Nachfeld" (i.e. after the verbs at the end), but all you really need to know now is that this isn't really one of them
The "statistics" I went on to list quantify my assertion.
Isn't "der Nachsatz" designed to emphasize "something"?
I presume you're using "Nachsatz" as a synonym for "Nachfeld".
Please check out this article about the "Nachfeld" by Canoo.net; it explains the "Nachfeld" better than I ever could.
That would translate to "I can do nothing with that". Like if you're trying to dig a hole to plant a tree and someone gives you a teaspoon.
Why is "zu" before "tun" in this sentence?
Did I forget a lesson that explains that?
I tried Ich habe mit dieser Sache nichts zu tun. That wasn't accepted, although "ich habe mit der Sache nichts zu tun" was. Why can't dieser replace der in this sentence?
In this sentence (where it is stressed on the first syllable), it means "with that".
damit is used instead of mit das or mit es.
Firstly, "mit" is a dative preposition, so it would need to be "dem" instead of "das".
Secondly, and more importantly, there are, however, only a few situations where you would use the "mit x" construction instead of "damit" when "x" refers to a non-living entity (and this isn't one of them), so I would recommend using "damit" exclusively, unless you are referring to an animal or a person, and then learning the exceptions as you come across them.
Remove the comma, and you're golden :)
Because "damit" can also be a conjunction with a completely different meaning, you need to remove the comma for the sentence to be grammatically correct.
I was asking that because I thought "to do with something" is "mit etwas zu tun"...
TBH I'm still confused, haha
You're right with the translation, and in very much the same way that it would be wrong to put a comma in the English sentence, the same is true of the German one.
Does that help at all?
Yes... I think I understand now
More accurately it should be "mit etwas zu tun haben"