"Vom Mann zum Vater"

Translation:From man to father

March 16, 2013

This discussion is locked.


is this an idiom?


Most likely. I think it really should be 'Von Mann zu Vater' But since it's an idiom...oh well right?


Actually no,

zum= zu+dem (masc + neuter nouns)

zur= zu+der (fem nouns)

So, since Vater is masculine, zu becomes zum.


then why "from the man to the father" reply is wrong ?


Because in German the sentence implies one is transitioning from just a man, to a father.

The English "from the man...etc." implies something is passing from a man, to a father. So whilst in direct translation it seems correct, it does not correctly convey the implied meaning, thus is an incorrect answer.


It is accepted now. I guess Duolingo realised since this isn't the idiom excercise they should accept direct translations at is means we at least know what it says.


In English, when making an abstract statement like this, we can also use the article,


Would one ever see this expression without contractions? "Von dem Mann zu dem Vater."?


This is correct, but Duolingo does not accept 'to the father', which is what 'zum' would imply. It only accepts 'to father'. This would suggest something idiomatic about the phrase or an error on Duolingo, no?


German requires much more article use than English does. I probably wouldn't introduce John Smith as "the John" in English, for example (and there's plenty of better examples throughout this course - I think "the January" for Jan in general is another one). The -m is probably required because zu and von are always dative - that doesn't necessarily make the English wrong because it doesn't use articles.

I don't know enough to be able to say whether "the" should be accepted. If it should be, that doesn't mean that the sentence without articles should be unacceptable - English and German just use articles in different ways. Anyway, everyone's griping about it in this thread, but no-one has mentioned whether they've reported it. If it has been (and I'd hope so), well, the team will get to it eventually (whether that's to add an alternative answer, to add a pop-up explanation for why "the" is wrong, or to lock the the thread and delete everything but a mod comment along the lines of "only from man to father is correct, reports will be ignored"). I recently got the "your feedback has been processed!" email for a report I made this time last year.

I do know that this sentence isn't an idiom, because if it was, you'd see it used many times in many different contexts (but with a consistent meaning) when searching "vom Mann zum Vater" on Google. Instead, the only results that actually use the phrase (on Google and DDG) are about a book for new parents (which would indicate that "From Husband to Father" should be accepted, but in this context, articles wouldn't actually work for the English: It's clear that the husband and the father are the same person, but saying "from the husband to the father" in English implies that they're separate individuals - the husband is giving a present to the father, or something. The same isn't true in German since German has different rules for articles).


I wrote 'From husband to father' for the same reason, and was marked wrong.


Thanks for the lengthy response! Your point about articles being more prevalent in German makes sense.

My question about whether or not there is something idiomatic going on is not about the whole phrase itself, just the 'zum' part only meaning 'to father'. I guess a better way to ask the question would be to ask if there is a rule wherein something undergoing a transition to something else would require an article in German (where in English, it wouldn't).

As far as reporting this one, I personally did not because I wasn't sure if it was an error or not. Apparently, it's not. Anyway, thanks!


I guess a better way to ask the question would be to ask if there is a rule wherein something undergoing a transition to something else would require an article in German (where in English, it wouldn't).

Oh, I see. I have no idea about that one, sorry for the misunderstanding.

As I said, I don't know whether or not articles should be accepted in general (unlike book titles, Duo sentences have no context), so it might still be worth reporting (or hopefully we'll get word from a native speaker as to whether the articles are always required, at least).


It seems to me that both translations schoud be censidered correct, though the have different meanigs.


but Duo also accepts von Mann zu Vater. I'm not sure what, if any, difference it makes. But the sentences seems to be sort of weird/nonsense in any case


Since zum is a contraction of zu dem, does that not make the meaning "from 'a' man to 'a' father"? I believe the answer to the translation to be incorrect.


If you're translating it literally, word for word, ignoring other rules in both languages, you'd have the, not a.

I don't know whether "the" should be accepted or not, but knowing that German uses articles much more often than English does, I don't have any problem with the English lacking it.


If you say "Von Mann zu Vater" it implies that they are talking to each other. If you say "Vom Mann zum Vater" there was a development. The man became a father.


I agree, I think this should be in Idioms instead. When I was doing Idioms, it didn't seem like there were that many sentences...is it just me?


"From man to father" isn't an idiom in English, and given that there's a grand total of seven results for "von Mann zum Vater" in Google, I don't think it's a German idiom either. It's more likely just one of those weird Duo sentences, like "the place of residence is beautiful!"


Oh ok...Danke! ☺


It is not an idiom if by that you require that it be relatively common.

However, it is idiomatic in that many readers will inject a layer of meaning concerning the evolution or change in status from being just a man to being a father. This meaning is not contained in a simple translation of the available words. It takes that meaning from a shared cultural understanding of the assumed differences in the social obligations attached to each status.

I'm not sure about the German inclusion of articles in the phrase but the absence of them in the English translation signals that it should be treated in an idiomatic way rather than literally.


In what way might "from man to father" be treated literally rather than "idiomatically" understood as meaning... "From man to father"? (Giving, I suppose, but the fact that it could be understood two different ways depending on context is hardly idiomatic, unless you want to say that every single statement is an idiom, including metaphors and similes).

Anyway, my original point was that it is not a common idiom, like all of the idioms in the idioms lesson. They aren't metaphors or phrases that merely require cultural understanding of what a father is, but they're set phrases with a particular meaning, like "that's water under the bridge". Maybe that's not the only definition of an idiom, but that's how they're being used in that lesson. So this still shouldn't be in the idioms lesson, which is the point I was originally making. This should be clear from the post I was responding to, where someone said this should be in the idioms lesson instead.


"An expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, as in keep tabs on."

"From man to father" may be idiomatic, but it is not an idiom.

"I am a doctor" isn't an idiom either, even though people wonder about the use of the article in that vs. the German "ich bin Arzt(in)".

Even if there is some definition of idiom that I am unaware of and am unable to find, Duo seems to be using a more restricted definition of common(ish, or at least cliched) phrases that cannot be understood by ordinary translation, and this sentence does not seem to match either of those.



In what way might "from man to father" be treated literally rather than "idiomatically

One way to treat it literally is to wonder why there aren't any articles in the English translation.

I'm not sure how common an idiom has to be before you think it should be included in an idiom section but the..... from blank to blank ....construction intended to show a gradual or stark change in status with significant implications for someone or something is very common in English.

If I thought that Duo should put as many of its idioms into one lesson group as possible then I would say that this construction qualifies.

from dictionary.com

idiom a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.

I am constantly surprised by how many metaphors work across various languages word for word. But this phrase doesn't. A literal translation from the German changes the apparent meaning .

Most English speakers seeing the phrase from man to father will think something more is being referred to than simply that his wife had a baby. And if some don't get it, that doesn't mean that it isn't a figure of speech with a special meaning that is lost by a literal translation of the German.

Personally, I don't care if it is put in the idiom section or not. But I don't see why it should be excluded. I can see why those students who think the idioms should be introduced as such would prefer to see them all together. Some have expressed their desire to see this one included as well.


I think it means that the man now has a child, so he went "From (a) man to (a) father"


It's not an idiom, but it's proper German.


Isn't it normal to write "Von Mann zu Vater" in German? Do you need the definite articles?


Why cant it be from husband to father?


Mann only means husband when it is preceded by a possessive. This is also the cause for Frau.

mein Mann: my husband, ein Mann: a man


I'm puzzled as well!


One more member ))


The correct translation is "from man to father", how would you say "from THE man to THE father"?


I agree, it is not von Mann it is von dem Mann...


Vom is just a German contraction of von dem. Makes Germans' lives easier.


I really don't find any meaning for this sentence. In what context can one say such thing?


I thought it meant something like "A man has become a father" or "From manhood to fatherhood".

Am I completely wrong here? Is it, instead, a simple description of an action, as when someone is handing something over to another person? Literally, "from the man to the father"?


I thought that, too, and I wrote "From husband to father" and it did not accept it. Any clue why?


Perhaps because it's possible for a man to become a father without being a husband?



Seeing what appeared to be an example of a kind of expression, which is actually common in literary English, I put From Husband to Father. The saying, in English, refers to the change in lifestyle, obligations and needs connected to the commonplace life event where men's status changes from husband to father.

From man to father could have the same meaning but could equally mean a lot of other things.


I had exactly the same and it was not accepted.


You might use it in the context of giving an awful speech (that's your cue Donald Trump). Like you might say, "From a man to a father he went, a beautiful transition through the antidisestablishmentarianistic world", or something equally awful. Flag me if the spelling is wrong. ;)


Well, you go from being just a man, to being a father when you have a child. That was what came to mind for me at least. I think it implies that being a dad is like, better than just being a regular dude. At least, to me, that's how it must feel when you get to be a dad (or mom). It's like a higher sense of worth to be a parent or an uncle or aunt. Suddenly you aren't just Betty and Dave Matthews. You're mom and dad, and you have a whole new set of dreams and things you want to tell, and adventures you want to share.


When someone has a baby


Vom= Von dem zum = zu dem. Am i correct here? Since von and zu both call for dativ prepositions. But then the translation would from The man to The father..?


You're correct (assuming that first den was a typo of dem). But remember that German requires greater use of articles than English, even requiring them where they'd make no sense in English. So we wouldn't need to have "the man to the father" - it's just another of the differences between the two. You could introduce someone as "das ist der Adam" in German, but you wouldn't translate that to "this is the Adam" (most of the time).


thank you! (it was indeed a typo). I think my confusion comes from the fact that in my native language (Portuguese) we also use articles than in English (we don't have as many variations as in German, by far, but we use them in similar situations from what I've learned). So in Portuguese, "the man to the father" and "man to father" mean sort of different things. so I assumed it was the same in German, and in that case the correct answer should include the articles. But I can also interpret it as it having the meaning of "man to father", but needing the articles anyway.

In Portuguese we also use articles when talking about people. Thankfully, we only have 2 genders, and no declensions. It's funny because there's a bunch of similarities between English and German , but I also see a few with other european languages like Portuguese and Spanish, so knowing those two languages sometimes help me with German :)

Anyway thanks!


"From husband to father" makes more sense, but was marked wrong.


It shouldn't have been. Without context, the phrase could just as well mean "From husband to father" as "From man to father." DL should know that and have allowed some wiggle room for those participants with the wit to write "From husband to father."


Hmm. I wrote "from the man to the father" and was incorrect. Why say vom and zum and not von and zu?


Shouldn't it be "Von Mann zu Vater"?


you gave something from the man to the father. --> vom Mann zum Vater

you became from a man to a father. --> Du wirst vom Mann zum Vater.

you sentence sounds like bus stations From London to York. It seems logical but it is not right in this sentence.


From husband to father.. Cant work?


Why doesn't "from husband to father work?" Mann is the same word.


Would it still be correct if i use "Aus Mann zum Vater"?


2 datives? It's the 1st time I see this. How many nominatives, accusatives and datives can we have for one verb? How about genitives?


There's no verb in this sentence. Prepositions also take certain cases.


What's the difference between 'zum' and 'bis zum'?


I googled it and found it the name of a book [http://www.robert-richter.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10:vom-mann-zum-vater&catid=4:buecher&Itemid=10]. I didn't find an Englisch version while I didn't try much.


whats the difference between vom and von?


Vom is short for "von dem". Since von always takes the dative, you'll often see "vom" used with masculine and neuter nouns (when you need a definite article, anyway). Similarly, zum is short for "zu dem".


Can someone please explain why it is not; from the man to the father?


getting an answer wrong is a good thing :)


The English is incorrect


it reminds me those transformation videos: Vom Kind zum Monster


Is this an idiom or just another idiotic sentence?




isn't it more acceptable if it was " Von einem Mann zu einem Vater" ?


It can be a name for a great American novel


Why did it not take "the man to father"? Vom translates to the


Vom is "from the" or "of the" (von + dem), not just "the" (dem, in this case). Only "from the" works for this sentence, though, since from/to are paired and "of the man to the father" would make even less sense.


This sounds like the name of a lame comedy movie.


What about "from a man to a father"? Does this sound weird to native English speakers?


it's not an idiom;but rather a popular refrain., which would freeze it gramatically.


To me this sentence does not make sense in English. Is it a saying in German? What does it mean?


What in the world does that mean? Is this a German saying? Or just a peculiar translation exercise?


from the husband to the father what is wrong with my version?


There is no possessive in this sentence, so there is no basis for interpreting Mann as "husband".


Die Ordination, Die Weihe, (both female nouns - nice one Germany) although is a catholic priest addressed Vater or Pater?


Curious as to why this phrase is in the dative case (I mean, other than the fact that this is the dative pronoun exercise...)


Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.


Instead of "from man to father" because wife gave birth, couldn't it mean "from Man (as a human being) to Father (as Jesus)? Just saying. :)


WHY can't I see and follow my comments? If I can not see my comments I can't see if someone answered me, so.. I remain with all my confusions as I wouldn't have asked any question at all. :(


I always get an email alert when someone replies to a question. I do not know of course, whether you will ever see this reply?


why the dative in "vom Mann" it should´t be "vor Mann" (vor = von + der)


The preposition von always requires the dative case.

And vor is a separate preposition -- it is not a contraction of von + der. von + der stay uncontracted, e.g. von der Frau "from the woman".


What about feminine? Such as 'from woman to mother' Google translate says 'von Frau zu Mutter'


I still don 't get why this cant be from husband to father?


Because Mann does not mean "husband" on its own.

It only means "husband" in a possessive context, such as mein Mann.

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