1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Many families subscribe to t…

"Many families subscribe to the newspaper."

Translation:Viele Familien abonnieren die Zeitung.

November 19, 2017



Why is it "die Zeitung" if the english is "to the newspaper"? Isn't that dative case, and therefore should be "der Zeitung"?


In short: because grammar.

Abonnieren’—unlike the English ‘to subscribe’—is a transitive verb in German, taking a direct object. ‘To subscribe to something’ = ‘etwas abonnieren’. Sometimes, the opposite happens too: English uses a direct object where German uses dative, for example: ‘I am following you’ = ‘ich folge dir’.

This, of course, is nothing compared to grammatical yoga required to turn ‘I like it’ into ‘es gefällt mir’. I say this just to illustrate that translating word for word (or complement phrase for complement phrase) often doesn't work, and while the grammars of the two languages are in many way analogous, the syntax required by certain constructions can often differ substantially.


Just when I think I've got it, a sentence like this comes up and saps all my confidence.


Don't let it. It just takes a bit of time to get the perspective needed to recognise those assumptions you make about how all languages work based on how yours does. Once that's done, it's much easier to stop making those assumptions, and accept and absorb the new rules and ways of doing things in the target language.


Why should we use "die Zeitung" instead of "die Zeitungen"?


No expert here by any stretch, but "die Zeitungen" is plural. This sentence uses a direct singular object (I think).


why not "abonnieren sich"? with a reflexive verb?


Because "abonnieren" is not a reflexive verb.


Why is this wrong? Viele Familien abonnieren zur Zeitung.


That's simply not how ‘abonnieren’ works: it's a transitive verb, taking a direct object (accusative case), man abonniert eine Zeitung, nicht zu einer Zeitung.


Vielen familien in die Zeitung abonnieren?


Why isn't anmelden accepted? "Viele Familien melden die Zeitung an"


I missed the o because I'm bad at typing >:(


Subscribe to pewdiepie


Ich habe es gerade getan.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.