https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Making Demands, formally and informally

Hey everyone. This has been a little bit confusing for me. But I think I've worked it out. So when you say that someone must do something. eg. 'Go, eat, sleep'. you say: 'Geh' 'Iss' 'Schlaf'. This is normal and informal. However my question is, do you use 'Sie' every time you give someone a demand formally? eg 'Gehen Sie, Essen Sie' 'Schalfen Sie'. I've also heard 'sich' being used in the context of 'formal'. Like in the sentence 'bitte sitzen Sie sich'

I'd appreciate everyone's input

October 15, 2017

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi,

maybe a little thing about "Infinitive imperative". In my opinion this is very direct. I would also call it "einen direkten Befehl" a direct order/command. As Adam wrote used in the army but also other authorities like the police. You can also hear it from parents sometimes to disobedient children or when there's an imminent danger.

For me sounds, no it is, very harsh.

Sitzen bleiben! Aufstehen! Runter! (down!) Tür zu! Stehen bleiben! or milt. Stillgestanden! Feuer! Rückzug! Sitz! is a command for animals to sit down.

I wouldn't use it in a normal conversation.

best regards Angel

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

In my German studies in 'Rosette stone' they have used things like 'Lies, Iss' and things to a child

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

Hey Angel,
Thanks for mentioning this, I know if I ramble on about German for too long I'm bound to get something wrong, or put my foot in it as we say (da gibt's doch ein für deine Redewendungen!). I think I just assumed the infinitive would be slightly more polite, without really looking into it.

Apologies!

I do have a question though, regarding my most recent post. Are you familiar with a reflexive verb being used in this "infinitive imperative"? And if so, would it be used the way I suggested? Bzw.:

  • Sich da drüben setzen!

All the best,
Adam

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Adam,

don't apologize! Du bist in kein Fettnäpfchen getreten :-) And indeed there is a situation you use this kind of imperative calmly and friendly.

Think you come home, totaly knackered. Your boy-/girlfriend asks if you want to drink something. Maybe you answer. "Ja gleich, aber erstmal hinsetzen"

your question: First option "Setzen Sie sich da drüben hin!" /"Setz dich da drüben hin" In combination with an direction (drüben) I would always use "hinsetzen" ("hin" -> "there")

Second option "Setzen Sie sich" / "Setz dich!"

Order / Befehl from authority (General / policeman) "Hinsetzen!" Very harsh and dominant. Or in a more formal tone (teacher say that in class f.e.) "Setzen!"

"Hör auf!" -> order "Aufhören!" "Leg das da hin!" -> order "Hinlegen!" (lay down something or yourself / your body depends on the context)

best regards Angel

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

Hi Angel,
Thanks! Haha, I love that when you break down "Fettnäpfchen" it means "small bowl of fat"! Vielen Dank dafür!

One question regarding "Ja gleich, aber erstmal hinsetzen"; unless I'm totally misreading it, it seems as though you're telling your partner what you are going to do, instead of telling them what to do. So, to word it differently, what you're saying is "Ja gleich, aber zuerst muss ich mal hinsetzen", instead of the imperative "Ja gleich, aber setz dich erstmal hin".

My mistake again :P Yes, "hinsetzen" does ring a bell (noch eine :P), and it makes sense because it denotes a direction, like you say; similar to "Wo willst du hin?" (falls du ein Rammstein Fan bist :P). It's also interesting that when used in the infinitive, the reflexive pronoun gets dropped; so you get "Hinsetzen!" instead of "Sich hinsetzen!". I mean, it makes sense, but is technically wrong :)


re:

"Tür zu! Das zieht sonst wie Hechtsuppe!"

Kann dir da leider nicht direkt antworten.
„Hechtsuppe“?! Was soll denn das?! Linguee übersetzt sie zu „pike soup“. Wie genau kann eine Suppe ziehen? Isst man Hechtsuppe eiskalt? Und deshalb wird einem nachher kalt, als gäb's eine kalte Brise durchs Haus? Das ergibt mir gerade leider überhaupt keinen Sinn :P Vielleicht heißt hier „ziehen“ was anderes als normalerweise.

Kannst du mir hier mal helfen, Angel? :P

Umarmungen :P
Adam

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Adam,

yes you are right. "Ja gleich, aber zuerst muss ich mal hinsetzen" is drawn together to "Ja, aber erstmal hinsetzen". "Hinsetzen!" is a short and hard order for "Setz dich hin!"

Hechtsuppe doesn't make sense for you? Hm, it is because it doesn't make sense *fg. I knew you would ask! lol

It is an old speech that changed over the centurys and doesn't make sense (anymore).

Die Redensart "Es zieht wie Hechtsuppe" hat nur auf den ersten Blick etwas mit Fisch oder einer Suppe zu tun. "Hechtsuppe" setzt sich aus den jiddischen Worten "hech" ("wie") und "supha" ("Sturm") zusammen. Wenn es also "wie Hechtsuppe" zieht, ist damit gemeint, dass es "wie ein Sturm" zieht.

hugs Angel

edit. the project you ask for in the discussion "German Passive" is faster growing than I thought^^

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

Hi Angel,
Das ist doch sehr interessant! Daran muss ich mich erinnern!

Meine Fresse ist es kalt hier drin! Tür zu, bitte! Es zieht doch wie Hechtsuppe!

Hahaha gefällt mir :P

LG
Adam

P.S. Ooh, this sounds very interesting :D Can't wait to have a look!

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Cluney,

yes, you've worked it out. Exept the last example.

"(Bitte) setzen Sie sich." "(Bitte) stellen Sie sich an."

best regards Angel

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Sorry. And also I'd like to thank you. That does help. I thought I had heard that somewhere but I'll stop using it (or intending to use it) for I haven't used it because I normally don't ask people to sit in Minecraft but thanks.

cluney2

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

You very well could have heard of "sitzen" which means "to sit" but in the sense of "to be seated" (rather than "sich setzen" which means "to sit" in the sense of "to sit down"). Zum Beispiel:

  • Ich sitze auf meinem Stuhl.

Which, as you can imagine, you can't really use in the imperative, unless you want to tell someone to remain seated, but even then you would probably say something like:

  • Sitzen bleiben!

Which brings me to my main point on imperatives that I wanted to add to this discussion.
Along with the "du", "ihr" and "Sie" imperatives (plus the "wir" version, I guess) the infinitive form is often used as an alternative to the imperative (useful if you're unsure how formal to be and don't want to sound too aggressive/commanding). I first noticed this on the great TV show "Deutschland 83" when the general of the West-German Army said:

  • Aufstehen!

When, according to what I knew, he should have said:

  • Stehen Sie auf!

So, if you want to command someone to do something, but don't want to sound too demanding, and/or you haven't established whether or not the two of you can sich duzen; the infinitive imperative is the choice for you!

Hope I could help.

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

I hate to be a pain in the neck but er. Infinitive imperative? I think that means the formal but I haven't learnt about that yet. Is it easy to explain or should I post a discussion on it?

October 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough.
By "infinitive imperative" I mean simply using the infinitive form of the verb instead of an imperative form. By infinitive, I just mean the "dictionary" form of the verb.

In English you can easily spot the infinitive because it begins with "to"; for example "to eat" (unless the verb is modal, but that's definitely for another discussion). In German it is the version that ends with "n" (usually "en", but there are exceptions); for example "essen".

This will be similar to the formal/"Sie" imperative because the conjugation for "Sie" is the same as the infinitive, however, there is no "Sie" present in the "infinitive imperative" and the imperative verb appears in the first position for the "Sie" imperative and in the last position for the "infinitive imperative". Also, separable verbs remain together in the "infinitive imperative" unlike in the "Sie" imperative. Sorry if none of this makes sense, I'll try and alleviate the matter with some examples.

"Sie" imperative:

  • Bleiben Sie sitzen!

"Infinitive imperative":

  • Sitzen bleiben!

"Sie imperative:

  • Stehen Sie auf!

"Infinitive imperative":

  • Aufstehen!

"Sie" imperative:

  • Machen Sie die Tür zu!

"Infinitive imperative":

  • Die Tür zumachen!

Hope I didn't further muddy the waters. Please let me know if you're still uncertain.

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Ok so it appears by the examples that the imperative is more like what I said '(verb) Sie'. like in all the examples you gave 'Sie' was used while the infinitive is more joined almost shortened and doesn't use Sie.

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

These were just two types of imperatives I was comparing, there are also the "du" and "ihr" versions I didn't mention, plus the two "wir" versions. Let me list some more examples which are all imperatives, but just differ depending on formality, number and inclusivity:

  • Du
  • Ihr
  • Sie
  • Wir
  • Wir 2 - Lassen*
  • Infinitiv

  • Bleib sitzen!

  • Bleibt sitzen!
  • Bleiben Sie sitzen!
  • Bleiben wir sitzen!
  • Lass uns sitzen bleiben!
  • Sitzen bleiben!

  • Steh auf!

  • Steht auf!
  • Stehen Sie auf!
  • Stehen wir auf!
  • Lass uns aufstehen!
  • Aufstehen!

  • Mach die Tür zu!

  • Macht die Tür zu!
  • Machen Sie die Tür zu!
  • Machen wir die Tür zu!
  • Lass uns die Tür zumachen!
  • Die Tür zumachen!

  • Iss dein Gemüse!

  • Esst euer Gemüse!
  • Essen Sie Ihr Gemüse!
  • Essen wir unser Gemüse!
  • Lass uns unser Gemüse essen!
  • Das Gemüse essen!**

Sorry, I'm sure I've complicated matters more than I've helped, but in my defence it's half one in the morning and I need to get to sleep :P Let me know if things are still confusing and I'll reply tomorrow :)

*With the "lassen" imperative there are actually three forms; for "du", "ihr" and "Sie" bzw. "lass uns", "lasst uns" & "lassen Sie uns".

**I used "das" there to avoid having to choose between "dein", "euer" and "Ihr"; which is part of the reason why one might use the "infinitive imperative".

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Only one supplement^^

"Tür zu!!" Short, maybe harsh but often used like "Tür zu! Das zieht sonst wie Hechtsuppe!" (there's a terrible draught)

hugs angel

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean

Just one more thing before I go to bed! :P
I just re-read your question (always a good idea :P) and I saw you mention the reflexive pronoun "sich". Just to cover that, it has nothing to do with formality; reflexive pronouns are used just as much in informal German as in formal German; it simply depends on whether or not the verb in question is reflexive.
I'll give one more imperative example for the reflexive verb "sich setzen".

  • Setz dich da drüben!
  • Setzt euch da drüben!
  • Setzen Sie sich da drüben!
  • Setzen wir uns da drüben!
  • Lassen wir uns da drüben setzen!*
  • Sich da drüben setzen!**

*You know when I said there were only three "lassen" imperative forms?
I lied.
Sorry about that.
You can combine the "lassen" imperative with the first "wir" imperative to get the hybrid you see above (sorry I really am making no sense whatsoever now). The reason I used that one here is so that the reflexive pronoun "uns" wouldn't have already been used by "lassen", so that it could be used by the reflexive verb "sich setzen" (I'm not sure even I know what I'm talking about here).

**This little tid-bit is just to say that with reflexive verbs, I'm pretty shaky on the "infinitive imperative", so I'd avoid that one until further notice :P

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

My goodness. I'm glad I'm not a German Gramatik teacher

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Me too!!!! :-)))

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SteffiBookworm
October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

I fell stupid but I can't read. I just use simple sentences so far to communicate with some online player in chat. So maybe a website in English would help

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi,

don't feel stupid. This side is very good, I look up there very often to answer questions here. But! I do it because it's my language and it's much easier for me. That it is harder for you .. that's normal. Maybe this site can help you https://www.germanveryeasy.com/

best regards Angel

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SteffiBookworm

Sorry, it's my turn to apologize. I should have searched for a source in English in the first place. This one looks better: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/german/german-commands/
:)

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Steffi,

die Seite ist wirklich klasse! Und zum spiken, um hier antworten zu können ist sie super. Um sie als engish native speaker nutzen zu können braucht man ein gewisses Deutsch-Wissen. Aber dann ist der Hinweis Gold wert.

liebe Grüße Angel

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SteffiBookworm

Danke, das freut mich :-)

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

No worries

October 18, 2017
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.