"Die Leute erkennen ihn kaum."

Translation:The people barely recognize him.

March 15, 2013



Somebody want to explain to me the grammar behind kaum going behind the object of the sentence?

January 21, 2014


"kaum" acts exactly like "nicht"

February 20, 2014


Haven't really nailed it myself. The basis on the reasoning is this: pronouns are different. Germans feel it sound better when pronouns precede nouns and don't end the sentence. Probably because pronouns are such popular an compact words that easily roll of tongue.

For example, if it is "I'm writhing a letter to him", "him" in German will precede the letter. If "I'm writing it to my mother", then "it" wil precede. Curiously, "I'm writing it to him" will have "Ich schreibe es dir", while for the nouns it will be the other way round: "Ich screibe meiner Mutter einen Brief".

The thing is, pronouns used as objects also seem to come before the adverbs in the sentence.

January 27, 2014


I haven't nailed the concept completely either, but this link: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/WordOrder/WordOrder.html, helped explain a lot of things. If you check out Section A. I. d (Qualifiers Non-Obligatory Elements), you'll see that they discuss this distinction; wherein the adverb has been moved the end (after the object). Seems like it depends on the piece of information that the speaker is trying to emphasize. I'd be happy if a native speaker could further elucidate though!

May 30, 2014


native speaker here.. non-obligatory qualifiers are a bit different. actually, in this case there is no viable way to reposition the word "kaum" without loosing the whole meaning, so emphasis is not really the issue. (one could say "Ihn erkannten sie kaum" instead of "Sie erkannten ihn kaum" or in sub clause structure "erkannten sie ihn kaum" but then the emphasis change is not related to "kaum".. what would change between these sentences is whether subject or object are emphasized. "kaum" is an extension of the verb and it works just like other adverbs (e.g. "nicht", "gut", "vage", ... ). it has to be located after the verb it qualifies, it is part of the (complex) predicate. when "kaum" stands before the subject (and predicate), it changes function and meaning, i.e. it is no longer an adverb qualifying the verb, but would start to qualify the whole sentence/phrase.

December 15, 2014


Any examples?

June 25, 2015


Could this also mean "The people barely know him"?

Edit: Nope, that would be "Die Leute kennen ihm kaum". :)

July 2, 2015


Is erkennen a separable verb?

February 27, 2015


No, "er" is one of 6 prefixes (be-, ent-, er-, ge-, ver-, zer-) that does not separate from the verb. The rule of thumb is if it has no standalone meaning, it doesn't separate.

October 24, 2018


I would say that in english you would not need the article "the" before people.

March 15, 2013


I interpreted it differently, thinking of "the people" as a certain group of people that know him.

August 4, 2013


Yes, "Leute" means a specific group of people. For example when I was in school, the German teacher (there was only one) would address the class as "Kinder" in our first years, then "Leute" when we got older.

February 17, 2014


"the people recognize him barely" is not correct?!!

June 27, 2013


It's not idiomatic. You'd rather say: "People barely recognize him."

July 14, 2013


I disagree, it sounds perfectly natural in English. It does however change the emphasis (and could probably do with a comma between him and barely) - it changes from something like "The people only just recognise him" to "The people do recognise him, but only just".

August 4, 2013


I know I should know this by now, but how do you know when to use 'ihn' and 'ihm'?

July 2, 2014


When the person (male) is in the dative case.

E.g. She gives him the apple - Sie gibt ihm den Apfel.

Here, Sie (some lady) is the subject. The apple is the direct object (Akkusativ / Accusative). The guy who the apple is being given to, is the receiver of the direct object (Dativ / Dative). Hence 'ihm'.

You'd mostly use ihm, whenever you'd say "to him" in English.

The example I used could also be written as - "She gives the apple to him" (although, you'd normally use the original form of the statement)

Phrases such as "with him", "by him", "on him", etc. you'd use ihm, as they all trigger the dative case.

July 2, 2014


I wrote : "The people barely recognise him." and it was accepted, without error but it needs to be "recognize"

December 18, 2013


"Recognise" is also correct.

December 18, 2013


it is? then tell google to correct spell check XD !! (and then tell them to add "google" to spell check)

December 18, 2013

December 18, 2013
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