"The ghosts always come at midnight."

Translation:Um Mitternacht kommen immer die Geister.

November 18, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Why not "Die Geister kommen immer um Mitternacht."


Ja, ist doch durchaus korrekt


That was marked correct for me today—2019/11/13.


"Die Geister kommen immer Mitternachts" was accepted.




Something just occurred to me that I didn’t think of when previously encountering this sentence. There’s an ambiguity in the English sentence. It could either mean “On the occasions when the ghosts come, they only do so at midnight”, or it could mean “Every time midnight comes around, the ghosts come.” Does the German sentence also have both meanings, or would, say, a change in word order differentiate the two?


I would say it only has the second meaning. the first would be something like, "Wenn die Geister kommen, ist es immer Mitternacht" oder "Die Geister kommen nur um Mitternacht".


For the first, I'd say that the ghosts come only at midnight.


It's kind of confusing that things happen "um" midnight, but "am" midday.


It might help to remember that "am" is a contraction of "an dem", and since "dem" is dative masculine and neuter, it can only precede nouns of those genders. Mitternacht on the other hand is feminine, so you know you can't use "am". (I know it's still a bit confusing as to why you use an Vs um but it might help a little!)


In my mind, Mitternacht is an exact point in time, so you use the same preposition as with times of the day: um 0 Uhr, um Mitternacht. But Mittag is a period rather than a point (I would say roughly from 11am to about 1 or 2pm), so it uses the same preposition as other such periods: am Morgen, am Vormittag, am Mittag, am Nachmittag, am Abend.


Even though I said "midday" for the sake of alliteration in my original post, I've been thinking of "Mittag" as meaning "noon", i.e. 12:00 p.m., so it seemed odd for it to use a different preposition than another word that I also took to be a specific time. Especially when those two words are so closely related (word for "middle" + word for one of the two halves of the day).


I kept the 'm' from "am Mittag" when I typed it above, but it's not the genders that are confusing. It's the use of the two different prepositions.


I agree with you on this -- on the ambiguity. I was going to comment on it, but saw that you'd already done the heavy lifting.


This is probably the most confusing word structure out of all the ones in Duolingo.


Um Mitternacht kommen die Geister immer. Why is this incorrect and why does the adverb kick the subject out of its usual position?


warum nicht? " Die Geister kommen immer um Mitternacht


That was marked correct for me today—2019/11/13.


Why is the verb neither in the second position nor at the end? "Um Mitternacht immer die Geister kommen" is wrong? Please explain.


Why is the verb neither in the second position nor at the end?

In the presented solution:

Um Mitternacht kommen immer die Geister.

The verb is in the second position.

"Um Mitternacht immer die Geister kommen" is wrong?


Please explain.

This is a main clause, so the verb has to be in the second position (as shown above). If this were a subordinate clause, your word order would be correct.

If anything about this word order is still unclear, I'd recommend checking out the linked article from DoubleLingot's comment earlier in this discussion.


Thanks. If the verb is in the second position, that means "Um" doesn't count in the word order? I think I know that articles don't count in this situation, but prepositions don't either?


“Second position” doesn’t mean it’s the second word in the sentence, just the second thing. So, it’s not that um doesn’t count, it’s that um Mitternacht, as a whole phrase, is the first position. Just like, if you put the subject first, you would say “die Geister kommen”, and die Geister is all in the first position, even though it’s two words.


Word order is confusing and look like poetic . I feel it as a language of Shakespeare. I miss the order of words very often due to my familiarity with English. Um Mitternacht kommen immer die Geister =At midnight come the Ghosts. This sentence is a generalised sentence relating to belief of ghosts.The sentence also should have been in general form but why it is in the poetic order.


This sounds a lot like the game "Phasmophobia"


Geister kommen immer um Mitternacht ?


Why is 'Die Geister kommen immer um Mitternacht' not an acceptable answer?


Die Geister komnmen immer um Mitternacht is the better translation,,, to what has been asked.... in this sentence...Duos translation has a slightly different meaning in the word order, like it is a different meaning in English.... so it is slightly incorrect what Duo translates.


"die Geister kommen jederzeit um Mitternacht" was marked wrong?

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