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"Why don't you drink anything?"

Translation:Warum trinkst du nichts?

November 18, 2017



I'm having trouble with all of the why and whom ( etc) words and knowing when to use them. I need to look at the desktop app and see if the course notes have info.


As quis_lib_duo said, wieso, weshalb, warum are synonyms. And I guess, every German who saw sesame street in his infancy still remembers the lines of the intro, encouraging children to be curious and to ask: Wieso, weshalb, warum - wer nicht fragt, bleibt dumm!

As to the variants of who/whom: They depend on the four grammatical cases. Wikipedia has a good explanation of those. The correlating questions to the examples on Wikipedia would be:

Der Seemann steht da - Wer steht da?

Der Name des Seemannes ist Otto - Wessen Name ist Otto?

Ich gab dem Seemann ein Geschenk - Wem gabst du ein Geschenk?

Ich sah den Seemann - Wen sahst du?


Why is 'Warum trinkst du nicht' incorrect?


Because "nicht" is a negation of the verb "trinken" in this sentence whereas "nichts" refers to a given choice or maybe to a concrete situation.

In the general form, "Trinken Sie? / Trinkst du?" would be understood as whether someone drinks alcohol or not.


I still don't understand why it isn't "nicht." Can you possibly please explain it again?


Well, I can try another approach.
In this exercise, "not...anything" had to be translated.
"Not anything" or "nothing" both translate to "nichts" in German.

Effectively, of course, the outcome will be the same whether someone does not drink at all or whether someone does not drink anything. No beverage will be swallowed.

But semantically, it is not the same. One could further specify the negation:
I don't drink anything from a given choice: "Ich trinke nichts davon."
I don't drink when I'm alone: "Ich trinke nicht allein."


Why warum and not wieso?


Both are possible. As well as weshalb?


Why would "Warum trinkst du etwas nicht" be wrong?

Is it because etwas is some rather than anything, because I thought I'd seen it as something/anything before. For example "Es ist etwas anderes."


Because this order would not fit.
"Etwas" modifies following nouns, adjectives or adverbs. In your sentence, "etwas" would modify "nicht" which does not make much sense.
For instance, one could say "Du trinkst etwas zu schnell" (You're drinking a bit too fast")
Thus, the correct order would be "Warum trinkst du nicht etwas?" which is further shortened to "Warum trinkst du nicht(s)?"


I wrote "Warum trinkst du nicht etwas?" but Duo said it was wrong


I'm sorry for probably having mislead you by not expressing my thoughts well enough.
The phrase you chose would sound rather strange in German, it would be kind of a too literal translation.
In this case, when somebody asks why another person doesn't drink anything at all, the correct question can be "Warum trinken Sie nichts" or "Warum trinkst du nichts".


I got this wrong. Warum trinken Sie nichts.


Fixed now - that translation is fine. Sorry!


can someone help me with the placement of the word 'du' it seems very inconsistent


In German, there's a hard “(conjugated) verb second) rule” in main clauses (the only exception being yes/no question, where the verb is in first position). In questions, the interrogative (adjective/pronoun/adverb/phrase) generally has to come first, so the verb must follow immediately (to follow the above rule), so “warum trinkst” must be the first two words. After that, the subject would take the first available position.

In declarative sentences, the unmarked version would put subject first (“du trinkst Bier”), but emphasised elements can take the first place, necessarily displacing the subject, yielding sentences like “heute trinkst du Bier” (emphasis on today).


what is the difference between nichts and garnicht?


"nichts" is a noun whereas "gar nicht" (please note it's written as two words even by the rules of the old orthography) is a particle, a negation just like "not" in English.


Why is "Warum trinken Sie nichts?" wrong?


It's not only right, it's even the default when it's unclear whether to choose "Sie" or "du".

Maybe the situation of drinking together could suggest the use of "du", but your solution is perfect German.


Why not "warum trinkst nichts du"

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