1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "When he has drunk beer, he d…

"When he has drunk beer, he does not drive the car."

Translation:Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht mit dem Auto.

January 4, 2018



Totally lost on word order.


Why is "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er das Auto nicht" wrong?


Aztend, It's correct. If Duo says otherwise, report that your answer should be accepted.


I got marked wrong for the same answer!


Duolingo accepts" Wenn er Bier getrunken hat , fährt er nicht das Auto"


I'm also confused about word order. Duolingo has told me it should be "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht mit dem Auto."

I put "Wenn er hat Bier getrunken, er fährt nicht mit dem Auto." I thought verbs should always go "second" in the chunks of clauses, and that the past tense verb should go at the end. What has changed in this sentence?


„Wenn er hat Bier getrunken“ is the subordinate clause. Wenn pushes the conjugated verb to the end as in „Wenn er Bier getrunken hat“. What you have is incorrect.

Since the sentences start with the subordinate clause. You need to switch „er fährt“ to „fährt er“.

All of these are correct.

„Er fährt nicht den Wagen, wenn er Bier getrunken hat.“

„Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht den Wagen.“


No one says: "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er das Auto nicht."?

Sondern immer: "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht das Auto."?

I admit the latter sounds better to me now, but is the first version really wrong?


zekecoma, Could you or someone answer the question brasilianland and I have about where "nicht" can go?

Welche Sätze sind richtig?:

  1. Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht das Auto.

  2. Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht mit dem Auto.

  3. Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er das Auto nicht.

  4. Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er mit dem Auto nicht.


I think I have found an answer to the question. (This is the source - look at the section "Einen ganzen Satz / ein Verb verneinen".)

I will copy the explanation here with adaptations to our case (Ich kaufe --> Er fährt):

Wenn das konjugierte Hauptverb verneint wird, bedeutet das, dass der ganze Satz verneint wird.

Beispiele: „Er fährt das Auto nicht.“

Wortstellung: Wenn das konjugierte Hauptverb (das an 2. Stelle) verneint wird, steht „nicht“ am Ende des Satzes, weil das Verb auf P2 bleiben muss.

Vergleich: „Er fährt nicht das Auto.“

Bedeutung: Er fährt dieses Auto nicht, aber vielleicht ein anderes.


Why does this sentence use the word "mit"? A car is what is driven, not driven with.


The mit emphasises the use of the means of transportation as means of transportation.

mit dem Auto fahren = use the car (by driving it)
mit dem Bus fahren = use the bus (as a passenger)


How do you differentiate between using the car as a driver and using the car as a passenger?


Bumping this after 4 mo. Anyone have an answer to my previous question?


According to my research here:

  • etwas (Akk) fahren [to drive/ride/pedal/cart sth]: Ich fahre das Auto. - I drive the car.

  • mit etwas (Dat) [dem Bus/Zug/Auto etc.] fahren [to take sth (the bus/train/car/etc.)]: Ich fahre mit dem Auto - I take the car.

Some other ways to show the difference in the case of the Past Perfect (this is from other sources):

  • Ich bin im Auto gefahren = I travelled by car (but someone else was driving)
  • Ich habe das Auto gefahren = I drove the car
  • Neulich habe ich ein tolles Auto gefahren! (Hier gibt es ein Akkusativ-Objekt)
  • Er ist nach Dresden gefahren. (Hier ist die Ortsveränderung wichtig.)


wenn er Bier getrunken hat , fahrt er das auto nicht is the position of nicht totally off?


I am not sure what your question exactly is here. Nicht usually follows the noun with a definite article. In your example, Auto is preceded by article das so nicht will follow Das Auto. More on the negation in the link below: https://resources.german.lsa.umich.edu/grammatik/nicht/


Why not "wann"?


"Wann" is mostly used interrogatively. Wann kommst du morgen? Wann ist dieses Jahr Ostern? Seit wann wohnst du dort? Seit wann sind Delphine Fische? Seit wann bin ich dein Laufbursche? Bis wann kann ich noch anrufen? Von wann an ... ? Von wann bis wann gilt es? Bis wann ist das Essen fertig? Ich weiß nicht, wann... Du kannst kommen, wann du willst. Wann [auch] immer.


So in another sense, if you can substitute "if" for "when" in the English, you would say "wenn?" I.e., "If he has drunk beer, he does not drive the car" in this case. Or is this just coincidental?


Yes, wenn can mean when or if. Wann can only mean when.


I'm aware :) Since I put "wann" and it was marked incorrect, my question is if you mean to say "when" in English in a sense where you could substitute "if", then must you necessarily say "wenn" auf Deutsch? Is this an accurate test of when to use "wenn"? When, wann, wenn, ... win... :)


I always think of it like this" Wenn is whenever and wann is simply when, as in specifying a particular time. Seems to work for me at least.


Can someone please explain to me why, "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er mit dem Auto nicht," is incorrect? Why isn't nicht at the end?


I am certainly not a good German speaker, but to me Duo's answer means the man travels by vehicle, but not the car. Your sentence says he does not travel by vehicle and then adds with the car. It is confusing if fahren is translated only as to drive. I also would like this to be clarified.


Currently trying not to shed a tear after getting defeated by an absolutely demoralizing sentence structure.

  • 223

In fact the sentence structure is completely regular. I.e. if you know the rules.
I think they have been given on this page in some comment already. But just to repeat: In affirmative main clauses the verb needs to be in second position. In subordinate sentences the verb comes last. The crucial clue here is, when the main clause follows the subordinate clause, you should note that the complete subordinate clause counts as first position of the main clause, that#s why the verb needs to follow immediately.


fehrerdef, I see you've been replying back to several of my posts so I just want to say thanks for having my back. I'm going to have to take a deeper dive into this topic because it's what's holding me back for sure.


"Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er mit dem Auto nicht." is not accepted. Why?


...faehrt er das Auto nicht? What is the Rule for the word order,if it is the word order that is off? iowegan says my answer is wrong, on the other hand Doktor John says it is OK?


? I don't see where iowegan offered an opinion. I recommend you read JrgenKnig1's reply to my comment above.


How can you tell which is the subordinate clause and which is the main clause?


A subordinate clause can't stand on its own. It just supplies more information about the main clause. "When he has drunk beer" only restricts the meaning of the main clause, "he does not drive the car" ans so is subordinate. I hope that helps.


To know which are the subordinate clause or clauses, you just have to identify the subordinating conjunctions at the beginning of each clause. (Well, right now I am not 100% sure if they are always at the beginning of the clauses, but if you can identify them in the clauses, that's it!)

The clause which doesn't have them is then the main clause.


Is ...... Wenn hat er Bier getrunken, färht er nicht mit dem auto. .... also the same sentence?


" Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er kein Auto " .. from the context I see my answer as correct . " Auto fahren = to drive (a) car ..


That would mean he doesn't drive any car. The English uses the definite article ("the"), so you need the definite article in German too.


The Answer in German given, "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht mit dem Auto." Does it literally mean in English, "After he has drunk Beer, he doesn't drive with the Car?" (fährt er nicht mit dem Auto) mit dem Auto (with the Car)
Should it be, "fährt er dem Auto nicht" (He does not drive the car) Your views please? :D


Laying aside the complex word arrangement, why is it "mit dem Auto"?


so close, i forgot the word oder


I thought "wann" was when and "wenn" was if? The English would work with either for the sentence.


"Wann" is only "when" as a question word ("When did X happen?" or "I know when X happened").

For the conjunction (as in "When X happens, Y happens"), you need "wenn." In this usage, "wenn" can mean either of "if" or "when," depending on context. So you need "wenn" here.


Hi all! Given fahren is a transitive verb, is mit really needed? I've tried to answer "Als er ein bier getrunken, fährt er das Auto nicht" and it was marked as wrong. Is it coherent ?


According to another comment on this page, a translation without "mit" is accepted. But you've got a couple of errors in your sentence.

  • "Als" is for past actions, but "When he has drunk beer" is more or less a present action, since it refers to a continuing tendency/habit that is still happening now and in the future. If you can substitute "when" with "whenever" ("whenever he has drunk beer"), you're going to use "wenn" rather than "als."
  • The English sentence has just "beer," so you should have just "Bier," not "ein Bier."
  • You're missing the conjugated verb in the first clause ("... Bier getrunken hat").
  • "Nicht" belongs before "das Auto." Afraid I don't have a good explanation for this one though.

Correct is "Wenn er Bier getrunken hat, fährt er nicht das Auto" (which another comment has said is accepted).


Thanks for the detailed answer! I stand corrected :)


Please dont mandate what is the correct usage of nicht, this is how grammar becomes simplistic and dull.


Isn't it 'When he has DRANK beer' ? I'm a native English speaker and this sounds right. Please correct me if I'm wrong


LandaWalsh, Maybe some people say it that way, but it's not correct. It's he drinks beer, he drank beer, he has drunk beer. "Drink, drinks, and drank" are used more often than "drunk," so that may be partly why it sounds strange.


Gonna go out on a limb, here, and say "When he drinks beer..." rather than "When he has drunk beer..." would be the more normal conversational English, but I do see the (rather frustrating) point in the excercise.

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