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"Who do you thank?"

Translation:Wem dankst du?

December 9, 2017

49 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ericdsouza4

The English is wrong, it should be whom


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joffen1

I completely agree with this. I am English and use "whom"; I also know of others who use it. As this is a language course, one would hope that the grammar was correct. Please could you amend this, Duolingo?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miknairb

Why is "Wem danken Sie ?" incorrect? I am confused !!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biertopf

It's correct as well. If it's not accepted, please report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SharonNaor

I wrote "Wem dankt ihr" what is wrong with that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

It's a completely valid translation. Report it if you'd like.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tematrilia

It may be a silly question but, why is it WEM and not WER, fem. dative ends in "er" and the plural in "en" Do the W-questions have a special declension of their own?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

wer "who" only has one form, not gendered forms: there is no feminine or plural form.

(wie means "how", not "who (fem/pl)".)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nova46
  • 2236

While "wem" can translate to either "who" or "whom" in English, the example English sentence calls for "whom, as it is in the form of a direct object., "we" being the subject and "who(m)" the direct object"Whom" is the dative (because of dankst)"wem" in German. Separate words. As mizinamo says, it's not a declension or gender issue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WarrenBrow3

"Wem" translates only to "whom". The English sentence given is grammatically incorrect, it should be "Whom do you ask". As a complete statement (indicative mood) one could say "I ask a question OF HIM [dative]. The direct object a question is understood.

It seems "whom" is disappearing from English, though. And I'm aware of the controversy around gendered pronouns in English but still it's helpful to me to remember that the M in hiM corresponds to the M in whoM.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

It seems "whom" is disappearing from English, though.

That's right. It is no longer natural for many native English speakers.

In this course, we usually do not use "whom" (though we usually accept it in free-text translations into English for those who do still use it).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julieford13

'they' said the answer was 'wem dankt ihr' not'wem dankst du'? Now I'm really confused!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Both of those are correct translations -- so it's not appropriate to speak of "the answer" as if there can only be one.

You would ask Wem dankt ihr? if you are speaking to several people at once. You would ask Wem dankst du? if you are speaking to just one person.

Oddly enough, English doesn't make a distinction here, using "you" for both, even though it has kept the distinction between "I / we" and between "he / they". German has kept the distinction between du / ihr as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KjayJ

Wer danken sie, is wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

wer is the nominative case, used for the subject.

But "who" here is the object of the verb "thank", so it should be in the dative case in German, as danken takes an object in the dative case.

Also, sie means "they", not "you".

So it would have to be Wem danken Sie?, with capital Sie, if you want to use the polite "you".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Is "wem" neuter?

I don't think gender applies here.

Wer? Wem? Wen? are used to refer to any person, so they're neither specifically masculine nor feminine, but I wouldn't call them neuter, either.

Since no adjectives or articles can agree with them (you can't say "the whom" or "my who" or "a big who" or the like), the grammatical gender of those words is irrelevant anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnau724

Thank you for this


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nova46
  • 2236

Does "Dankst du Wem?" work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

No -- German, like English, moves WH words such as "who, what, how, why" to the beginning of a question sentence, rather than leaving them in the position where the answer would be.

Even more strongly, in fact, than English -- if you were particularly surprised at something you just heard, you might say (e.g.) "You thank WHOM???!" in English but the German would still be "WEM dankst du???!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oldie17

I always find your knowledge very useful thank you. Are you a native speaker of German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I'd say so. It's not my first language (that would be English) but I have spoken German since I was three years old and have lived in Germany for nearly all my life.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/UZOhAB1A

Thank you so much Mizinamo for all the help that you always provide us. Your explanations are very educational and always get me through the material when I do not understand it. As a matter of fact I am always looking forward to see your comments.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ghaith415370

Welchem dankst du, is it correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

No -- it means "Which one (of them) do you thank?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeborahLac19

So in this sentence wem is in dative and du isn't? But why why why??? Cant understand how du even gets to be there as we are learning dative???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

So in this sentence wem is in dative and du isn't?

That's right.

du is the subject of the verb danken (to thank) and is therefore in the nominative case.

wem is the object of the verb danken and is in the dative case -- because danken requires the dative case for its object.

Cant understand how du even gets to be there as we are learning dative?

Did you think that there is such a thing as "a dative sentence", where everything is dative? Then we wouldn't be able to tell who is thanking whom, or who is giving what to whom.

Cases such as dative apply to parts of a sentence, to identify how that part fits into the sentence as a whole.

Sentences that have one or more parts in the dative case will almost always have at least one part (the subject) in the nominative case, and may have more parts in other cases (e.g. accusative) as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Halay69

How is this different from " who thanks you" ? That is how I translated it :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

How is this different from " who thanks you" ?

Then "who" would be in the nominative case (as the subject of "thank") and "you" would be in the dative case (which is the case that danken requires for its object): Wer dankt dir? instead of Wem dankst du?

The verb will also change to match the new subject.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Halay69

Amazing,thanks! I guess it's common sense I should've figured out with all these lessons. Looks like I've got a lot to learn! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julie18183

The incorrect English grammar in this question really bothers me. Although in colloquial spoken English "who" is frequently used, in written English we use "whom."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonMcInnis

That question should read "Whom do you thank". That's what their correct answer translates back to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

That question should read "Whom do you thank".

That ship has sailed; "whom" is dying and most native speakers will say "who" when speaking naturally.

This course accepts "whom" in translations but uses "who" itself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stollgisao

@mizinamo du = you; ans not a verb like trinken, schreiben you drink = du trinkst Ich spreche Deutsch


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

@stollgisao I'm sorry, I have no idea to which of my several comments on this page you are referring to or what you are trying to tell me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janmetdepet

'Whom thankst thou', essentially.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynda823575

Why not "Wem dankst dir?" I thought danken was a dative verb?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why not "Wem dankst dir?" I thought danken was a dative verb?

danken is a dative verb in the sense that it takes an object in the dative case.

The subject is in the nominative case, as usual.

Thus dative wem? but nominative du.

Much as in English we would say "Who(m) does she thank?" and not "Who(m) does her thank?" -- the subject "she" is in the subjective case, not objective "her".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahmelq

Why "wer dankst du" is wrong ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why "wer dankst du" is wrong ?

danken is a verb that has a subject (in the nominative case, as usual) and an object (in the dative case).

wer and du are both in the nominative case -- but you can't use danken with two subjects and no object.

One of the two has to be in the nominative case and the other in the dative case:

  • Wer dankt dir? "Who thanks you?"
  • Wem dankst du? "Whom do you thank?"

Note also that the verb has to agree with the subject -- if the subject is du, the ending is -st; if the subject is wer, the ending is -t.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Charlierashi

it has already been pointed out, but the English is wrong in the sentence. We should use whom in this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/confused.sloth

Could this be shortened to 'Wem dankst' if you are talking informally? or is that a bit too informal?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Could this be shortened to 'Wem dankst' if you are talking informally?

No.

German is not a pro-drop language; you need to include the pronoun in your sentence even if the verb form usually identifies it.

or is that a bit too informal?

No; it's simply wrong.

(Even at its most informal, Wem dankste? still has the subject marked: the du ends up as an unstressed -e after the verb ending -st.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aashna786654

why "wem" and not "wer" and "du" instead of "dir"? i thought we use dative case with verb "dank"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

i thought we use dative case with verb "dank"

The object of the verb danken is in the dative case, yes.

That is why we use dative wem? and not nominative wer? when asking for the object.

The subject is in the nominative case, of course, thus du and not dative dir. You are the person doing the thanking, not the person being thanked.

Compare:

  • Wer dankt dir? = Who thanks you?
  • Wem dankst du? = Who do you thank?
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