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

Translation:Wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht.

October 16, 2017



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

October 16, 2017


    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

    October 16, 2017


    This is a really helpful explanation. Take a few lingots

    November 10, 2017



    October 21, 2018


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

    April 1, 2019


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

    February 5, 2018


    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.

    February 6, 2018


    I thought when was wann

    June 2, 2018


    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
    • 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.

    June 2, 2018


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

    June 5, 2018


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

    June 12, 2018


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

    April 1, 2019


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

    December 12, 2018


    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

    December 12, 2018


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

    April 1, 2019
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