"The skirt is not bad, but really short!"
Translation:Der Rock ist ganz gut, aber total kurz!
How does ganz gut translate to not bad? To me it sounds like totally good, or a more positive comment than 'not bad'.
You can't interpret ganz gut literally by combining the meanings of the individual words -- the combination as a whole has an idiomatic meaning something like "ok, but not particularly great".
Der Rock ist nicht schlecht, aber sehr kurz = The skirt ist not bad, but very short. Even if I consider the translation 'Der Rock ist nicht schlecht, aber wirklich kurz' as the closest in meaning, 'sehr' (very) as a translation of 'really' should be accepted as a synonym, too.
You'd use nicht ... sondern ... when there's a clear contrast or correction about one point. Using aber is just like adding another point, which is not as strongly related to the first point.
Der Rock ist nicht schlecht, sondern echt toll! = "The skirt is not terrible, but rather really great!" - Here there's a stronger contrast in the two qualities, so sondern works. It's like you're correcting someone who thought it was terrible.
Der Rock ist nicht lang, sondern total kurz! = "The skirt is not long, but rather extremely short!" - Again, we're contrasting the same quality so sondern also works. It also sounds like a disagreement here.
Der Rock ist nicht schlecht, aber total kurz! = "The skirt is not bad, but it is very short!" - How good the skirt is, and how short it is, are two different qualities that are not inherently linked (you could have a good long skirt or a bad long skirt, a good short skirt or a bad short skirt). Using aber fits here. It's like you're saying one positive point and one separate negative point, weighing up the decision to buy it.
I used "wirklich" instead of "total" and was dinged for it. Why doesn't it work?
I've added it.
It doesn't sound completely idiomatic to me for some reason, but I suppose it could work.
...aber echt kurz would be one better alternative (which was also previously not accepted but now is).
I'd use schlimm most often for abstract events -- es ist nicht schlimm, wenn du zehn Minuten später kommst "it's not a problem if you come ten minutes later".
If in doubt, use schlecht for "bad".
"Der Rock ist nicht schlecht, obwohl er echt kurz ist" doesn't work? Means the exact same thing.
Ganz gut means not bad??
Sorry, Duo, you are using the word "total" quite wrongly in these exercises. You would never hear a German say "Der Rock ist total kurz". The appropriate words are "ganz", "sehr", "wirklich".
You would never hear a German say "Der Rock ist total kurz".
I disagree. (Native German speaker here.)
Maybe it's a regional or an age thing.
agreed. Total is an absolutely foreign translation. Ganz, sehr nd wirklich are used in german dictionary.
Der Rock ist nicht schlecht aber kurz das ist grammatikal richtig eure sentence ist verkehrt
Why is "nicht schlecht" wrong as a translation for not bad, yet "ganz gut" is?
While I'm not a native speaker, I did check some other sources (dictionaries & phrase books). It seems that "ganz gut" is almost consistently equated with "sehr gut" as in the phrase "ein ganz gutes Buch". When used as an adverb as (in this case modifying the adjective "gut") its meaning is given as "völlig, sehr, ausnahmlos, und genau"). "Not bad" in English (unless used sarcastically or ironically) never means "really good" or "quite good". And so by the logic of this translation we can also say that "sehr gut" means not "not bad" which (to me at least) makes no sense.
It is what it is in Duo. And it is a stand alone sentence that that could be taken as "ironic". But I think it's mistake to say that the English and German phrases are semantically equivalent: "not bad" means adequate but not even "good"; whereas "very good" obviously means better than "good".