"When I do not cook, I do not eat."

Translation:Wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht.

October 16, 2017

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What about "the verb must be in the second position"?


    It still is! I'll show you how it's built up:

    ich esse nicht - totally normal, verb second

    ich esse am Sonntag nicht - adding in 'time information', verb still second

    am Sonntag esse ich nicht - same as the previous sentence, but with the subject and time information swapped around for emphasis. The verb is still second, still conjugated to the subject

    But what about when the 'time information' isn't a specific time, but a condition? Like "when I don't cook". Well, first notice that in English "when I don't cook..." is an incomplete sentence - this is called a subclause, or Nebensatz in German. Within Nebensätze, the verb actually comes at the end: wenn ich nicht koche.... This is in contrast to the usual verb order for this piece of information, which would otherwise be ich koche nicht. It's the word wenn that triggers the Nebensatz, if you were wondering. So now let's add that 'time information' into our previous sentence instead of am Sonntag:

    wenn ich nicht koche esse ich nicht - looking good! But it's a bit confusing with all those verbs mixed around. That's why German requires commas on either side of a Nebensatz as appropriate:

    wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht


    This is a really helpful explanation. Take a few lingots


    Danke. You would be most useful as Duo's PDG.


    I thought when was wann


    German is not a code for English -- words don't always have a single translation that covers exactly the same range of meanings as the English word.

    "when" can be wenn, wann, als depending on the usage.

    In short:

    • wann when it's a question ("at what time?")
    • wenn when referring to the future, the (general) present, or repeated events in the past
    • als when referring to a single event in the past

    Here, it's a general present sense, so "when" gets translated by wenn.


    Exactly the explanation I was looking for. Thanks a lot!


    Great explanation. I was familiar with all of the words but mixed up usage frequently. This clear depiction will help me keep them straight.


    Danke mizi... you know how to make yourself useful.


    Could you ever use Als instead of Wenn in a sentence like this?


    It depens on what you mean with “a sentence like this”.

    als is used for individual events in the past (or for a time period in the past viewed as a single time).

    So Als ich nicht gekocht habe, habe ich nicht gegessen. works for “When I did not cook, I did not eat.” when referring to one time or one time period.

    But not for “whenever”, whether referring to the past or to the future or to hypothetical situations l


    Danke mizi...when you write, you make it valuable.


    how would you translate, whenever i did not cook, I did not eat?


    Wenn ich nicht gekocht habe, habe ich nicht gegessen.


    why is it not wenn ich nicht koche,ich nicht esse?(why this rule does not apply.. verb at end because of wenn)


    (why this rule does not apply.. verb at end because of wenn)

    Subordinate clauses started by a subordinating conjunction such as wenn send the verb to the end of their clause -- which may not be the entire sentence. Here, the subordinate clause is wenn ich nicht koche and you can see that it does indeed have its verb at the end.

    Then consider a sentence such as Dann esse ich nicht. A simple main clause, with the verb in the second position and a time expression (dann) at the beginning.

    Now replace dann with wenn ich nicht koche and you get Wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht. The verb esse is still in the second position of the main clause; the first position is simply a bit longer, being an entire clause rather than a single word.


    oh....i got it thanks..!!


    Why not "wenn ich koche nicht........ " ?


    Because wenn is a subordinating conjunction, starting a subordinate clause, so the verb koche has to be at the end of the clause wenn ich nicht koche.


    I do not like this type of question format, please remove it. Writing complete sentences or simply translating single words is much better.


    I do not like this type of question format

    Questions types are chosen automatically by Duo; they're not linked to any particular sentence.

    One and the same sentence might be shown to one person as a translation exercise, to another as a multiple-choice exercise, and to a third as a listening exercise.

    So nobody here can know what kind of exercise you got -- nor influence the proportion of what kind of exercises you get.

    Nor can you send your complaint to anyone at Duolingo who could change the proportion -- they act on aggregate numbers from huge numbers of learners through A/B tests to see which behaviour gets the best "results" according to their indicators, rather than listening to individual voices.

    (And what they consider best might not be what any particular individual considers best.)

    So your options are basically to "suck it up" and keep going, simply suffering through the kinds of exercise you dislike, or to stop using the app.

    Because the number of people who stop using the app is one of the numbers they track, so if lots of people quit using Duolingo when a particular kind of exercise gets more frequent, that's definitely something that will "get heard".


    Why not wann instead of wenn?


    Why not wann instead of wenn?

    wann is a question word = "at what time?"

    But here, "when" does not mean "at what time?" (test: "At what time I do not cook, I do not eat." ???)

    It means "At the time when". This is wenn in German when the meaning is general.

    (For more distinction between wenn and als as translations of conjunction "when", please see my reply to Pronkman666.)

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