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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

"Ja, da wären Sie gut beraten."

March 15, 2013

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Why "wären" and not "hâtten"? Doesn't this tense mirror the structure of transitive versus intransitive verbs? Or am I missing something else?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

'gut beraten sein' = 'to be well-advised'. 'gut beraten werden' ='to receive good advice'. The corresponding Konjunktiv form of 'sein' is 'wären'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Thank you. So, in this form, it isn't exactly a transitive verb, but a predicate adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

Hmm, your view on the matter is a bit unusual. But basically, I'd say yes, it does make sense to look at it from this angle.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Thanks. (And I have been told before that my views are sometimes unusual. ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreasWitnstein

Interesting indeed! The usual view would be that it's a passive. Note that you can include a demoted agent, as in ‘Ja, da wären Sie vom Vorstand gut beraten.’.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

Nope. Your sentence is in fact a shortened version of "Ja, da wären Sie vom Vorstand gut beraten worden" which is indeed passive but it's not the same construction as in the original sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreasWitnstein

Modern linguists recognize several passive forms in the German language. The one you're referring to is now known as “dynamic passive” (‘Vorgangspassiv’ oder ‘werden-Passiv’). In contrast, the sentence without ‘worden’ is an example of “static passive” (‘Zustandspassiv’, auch ‘Stativ’ oder ‘sein-Passiv’).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

@Andreas: OK. I see. That's certainly a valid way to think about it. And apparently you're also right in that it seems to be the standard way to look at it, nowadays. Thus our contrasting views on the matter simply seem to be a matter of terminology. There are two distinct forms we have to distinguish. Whether we call them dynamic/static passive or view one of them as passive and parse the other as a predicate adjective is just a question of terminology. But I agree that we should stick to the majority view. So in future I'll follow the dynamic/static distinction. Thanks for the update.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

I'm still struggling with tense here. Shouldn't this translate as ". . . you would have been well advised there"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

No, that would be "Da wären Sie gut beraten gewesen"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Oh . . . it's because "beraten" is not the verb, but a predicate adjective? The verb is sein/gewesen? EDIT: In any case, it looks like the same thing that tripped me up before: "gut beraten sein" is a lexical unit; the verb is sein/gewesen, not beraten.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

Yes, that's a valid way of parsing the sentence. (I personally prefer to look at 'gut beraten sein' as one big phrasal verb). EDIT: But on the other hand, you can make constructions like 'schlecht beraten sein', 'besser beraten sein' and 'besser gestellt sein'. So, there are good arguments to parse it your way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Yes, I like your way better. I also tried parsing it as passive-past-conditional something, but I wasn't sure that was right and anyway got way over my head..

Thank you for your patience and the explanation. I think I got it now. [Pounding forehead to make sure explanation sticks this time.]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreasWitnstein

Actually, it seems to have been right at your head level, so stop pounding. wataya's version ‘Da wären Sie gut beraten gewesen.’ is in fact past conditional passive, while the original ‘Ja, da wären Sie gut beraten.’ is present conditional passive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

@AndreasWitnstein: Sorry, this is not correct. Passive would be 'beraten werden' not 'beraten sein'. EDIT: It's a matter of terminology. See my post above. @readers of this: It's better to follow Andreas' terminology.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreasWitnstein

According to older grammars, yes. But nowadays, ‘beraten sein’ is recognized as a static passive form, and ‘beraten werden’ as a dynamic passive form.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soglio

Fascinating: the discovery of grammar as an ongoing process. Thanks for the discussion, as well as the explanations.

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