"The towels are in the cabinet."
Translation:Die Handtücher sind im Schrank.
A number of prepositions, including in, can take either dative or accusative case: the dative case to indicate a location, the accusative case to indicate the destination of motion.
Here, the towels are "in" the cabinet (lying there motionlessly: the cabinet is their location); they are not "into" the cabinet (destination of motion).
Thus the German has im Schrank with dative, and not in den Schrank with accusative.
It's a bit too outdated, I think. The word "Kabinett" is usually only in use for the political Cabinet (of ministers). (Or for a kind of wine. :) )
"Der Schrank" is, in my book, first and foremost a wardrobe (two metres high, for clothes). However, the word is just as well used for, well, any furniture with a door on it, really. If somebody asks you to get them a towel "aus dem Schrank", they'd have to point you to the wardrobe / cabinet / sideboard / kitchen cupboard in question, because you wouldn't know what kind of Schrank they're referring to. (cf. Schrankwand = wall system)
If 'Handtüche' is 'towel'
Handtücher is the plural; one of them is a Handtuch.
Handtüche doesn't exist.
what is a hand towel?
Theoretically a Händehandtuch.
But we don't usually use that precise a word.
If it hangs in the bathroom next to a sink, it's simply a Handtuch -- you can dry your hands with it or your face. If it's a bit smaller, it might be a Gästehandtuch "guest towel" since those are often smaller than the ones for family members. (No idea why.)
A bigger one for drying off your body after a shower would also often just be a Handtuch. (Though there's a specific word Badelaken as well.)
So you might talk about ein kleines Handtuch und ein großes Handtuch "a small towel and a big towel" if you want a hand towel and a body towel.
Ok, so "Tuch" or "Tücher" aren't used? They litteraly mean "towel/s" if I'm right...
You are not right.
Tuch is "cloth", Tücher is "cloths".
So -- more like a rag that you wipe up a spill with.
A Taschentuch (pocket-cloth = handkerchief) and a Handtuch (hand-cloth= towel) and a Kopftuch (head-cloth = headscarf) are separate things.
May I ask why the discussion about the opposite-direction translation of the same phrase is locked?
There's no way to tell -- moderators can't leave a note when locking a sentence explaining why they did so.
My guess would be that the discussion there devolved into lots of repeated postings about how hand towel "should" be accepted for Handtuch.
Isn't 'closet' a possible translation of 'Schrank'?
Tricky, since "closets" -- especially in the US -- are often a lot larger than a mere Schrank, and are often built into the walls rather than being a separate item of furniture. So I'd say no.
Wikipedia seems to agree:
A closet (especially in North American usage) is an enclosed space used for storage, particularly that of clothes. "Fitted closet" are built into the walls of the house so that they take up no apparent space in the room. Closets are often built under stairs, thereby using awkward space that would otherwise go unused.
A piece of furniture such as a cabinet or chest of drawers serves the same function of storage, but is not a closet, which is an architectural feature rather than a piece of furniture.
Der Schrank (niederdeutsch Schapp, rheinisch Schaft, Schaff, süddt. auch Hälter, süddt. und österr. auch Kasten) ist ein Möbelstück […]
So the essential part of Schrank is that it's furniture, and the essential part of "closet" is that it's not furniture.
Even if they both can serve similar purposes (storing clothes).
I don't think "closet" should have been used as the preferred translation for Schrank in that sentence.
However, having looked at a number of sentences with Schrank in them, the list of accepted synonyms is rather inconsistent -- or rather, it seems to depend on which course contributor created (or last edited) that sentence.
It would be nice if there were one unified team which decides that "we're going to accept the translations X, Y, and Z for the word A and we're going to reject P and Q", instead of sometimes accepting (say) "armoire" and sometimes not.
But that's not what we have on the German course.
Wäscheschrank (m) is what would be used to refer to the linen closet. At least 'linen closet' as understood in the US (a door-fronted storage space in the wall made up of shelves and maybe 2 feet deep). Used to store bed sheets, towels, etc. I think this type of space is called an 'airing cupboard' in the UK, but I'm not sure.
I get a bit confused as to when to use 'in' and 'im'
im is a contraction of in dem "in the".
So you would use im to translate "in the" when the following noun is masculine or neuter.
("in the" before a feminine noun is in der -- which does not have a contraction in the standard language.)