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  5. "I have had a hat since you h…

"I have had a hat since you have had a hat."

Translation:Ich habe einen Hut, seit du einen Hut hast.

March 14, 2018



Why not "Ich hatte einen Hut seit du einen Hut hattest" ? Ich habe einen Hut isn't that in the present time like "I have a hat"?


It is. The problem is that English uses the perfect tense to express a present meaning: “I have had a hat [since…]” means “I have a hat now [which I got…]”. This use of the English perfect has to be translated as present tense in German. More examples:

  • I have lived here for a couple of months. -> Ich wohne hier seit ein paar Monaten.
  • He has known this for three years. -> Er weiß das seit drei Jahren.

If you translated it as past tense, it would mean that the state you’re talking of is no longer valid. Or that you’re telling a story maybe.


But why are simple present and past tenses the only option? Why not "Ich habe einen Hut gehabt seit du einen Hut gehabt hast"? That seems like the most literal translation of the English sentence, no?

EDIT: I've just read your answer to this below. Apparently Germans decided that the best way of dealing with different tenses it to make them mean exactly the same thing. You start with two different sharp knifes, so let's dull them until any fine difference goes away... Makes perfect sense, why all these complications? That what happens when you let humans mess with the language ;-)


Does not translate right with present and future time


I know this sounds right, but since it is in the Dative Prepositions lesson, shouldn't it be : "...,seit du einem Hut hast?" instead of "einen Hut"?


No, haben wants an accusative object. I’m not entirely sure why you got this sentence in the Dative Prepositions lesson. I can only assume it’s because of seit which can indeed be a preposition used with dative case, for example seit einem Jahr “for one year/since one year ago”. But in this case it’s a conjunction introducing a subordinate clause, so it shouldn’t be in a dative prepositions lesson if you ask me – unless its intentionally used to throw people off.


Thanks! I love Duolingo, and the fact that it says it out loud so I do not develop an awful accent but It's hard sometimes to figure out these things alone.


I also got this in dative prepositions, which was good for me because I entirely forgot that the verb goes to the end for subordinate clauses somehow and missed it the first time.

Maybe it's simply review content that's somewhat relevant because it uses the same word?


Beware of the ❤❤❤❤❤ traps!

Seit roughly means "since". However, it works a bit differently. First, it always denotes something that is still going on. Second, it has three different ways of usage. Consider these examples: Ich lerne seit sechs Jahren Englisch. (I'm learning English for six years now.) Ich lerne seit 2012 Englisch (I've been learning English since 2012.) Ich lerne Englisch, seit ich denken kann. (I've been learning English since I can think.) In the first example, seit defines a stretch of time, which reaches into the present. In the second example, it also defines a stretch of time, reaching into the present. But it defines this stretch of time by its starting point. Seit can also be a subordinating conjunction (check the lesson "Conjunctions"). In these, the verb leaves the second position of the sentence, and ends up at the end. This is why in the last example, ich kann denken (I can think) turns into seit ich denken kann.

And by the way, what's wrong with the translation "Ich habe einen Hut seit ihr einen Hut habt"? Is this a no-go? Reported.


Shouldn't this translate to: Ich habe einen Hut gehabt, seit du einen Hut gehabt hast?


Nevermind, it is also accepted as one the answers.


Thanks, it worked.


How exactly does seit work in terms of sentence structure? Is it similar to conjunctions like "weil" or "sondern"? Thanks


seit is a subordinating conjunction like weil.


''Ich habe einen Hut, seit ihr einen Hut habt'' isn't accepted.


As of Feb. 2019 the following German translations are still not accepted (but have both been reported):
"Ich habe einen Hut, seit ihr einen Hut habt." (edited/corrected)
"Ich habe einen Hut, seit Sie einen Hut haben."

Both Sie (formal "you") and ihr (plural "you") should be applicable to this sentence. Is there any reason these two sentences should not be accepted by Duolingo?


“seit ihr einen Hut habt” ;)


Ah, I typo'd that one. Yes, I did use "Ich habe einen Hut, seit ihr einen Hut habt." for that answer, but it is still not accepted. Thanks for catching my slip up, AbunPhag!


I think the reason the english translation of this sentence sounds so wrong to those of us who are native english speakers, is the way since is being used in this sentence. At least for me, if you are using since as a time reference, it would make more sense to say - I have had a hat for as long as you have had a hat - I would never use since here. If using since as a sense of -because- then it would be I have a hat since (because) you have a hat without throwing the word -had- in. The sentence as is seems to be combining and mixing the two.


Duolingo puts in in present perfect cause since is used with present perfect.. Am I right?


Sort of. English likes to use present perfect for verb actions which started in the past and are still ongoing in the present (actually present perfect progressive is more common with normal verbs, but it sounds odd with “to have” in most situations). Usually you see a clause with “since” or “for”:

  • I have been living here for 5 years.

German regards this as present tense since it’s still ongoing:

  • Ich wohne hier seit 5 Jahren.


Why it is not " ich habe einen hut seit du hast einen hut" ?


seit introduces a subordinate clause, and in subordinate clauses the conjugated part of the verb comes at the very end.


What's wrong with "Ich habe einen Hut, seit ihr einen Hut habt" here?


Nothing, it should be accepted.


I've reported, thanks.


Formal you (seit Sie einen Hut haben) is not accepted, not sure why.


Is it possible that you entered an incorrect verb form? With formal Sie it should be: “Ich habe einen Hut, seit Sie einen Hut haben.”

If that wasn’t the problem then they probably just forgot to add that as a possible answer. Feel free to use the report function to report the mistake directly to the contributors if it comes up again.


Thank you, I'll report it next time.


Consider it reported.


Wouldn't this translate to: "Ich hätte einen Hut, seit du einen Hut hättest"? or maybe "Ich hätte einen Hut, seit du einen Hut hast"


No, hätte (as well as hättest, hätten etc.) are the past subjunctive forms. They basically indicate a hypothetical/non-real situation, much like English “would have” (although English uses the past for this in some situations – most notably conditionals like “if I had a hat” – because the past subjunctive merged with the simple past in English).

The simple past form of haben is hatte, without the Umlaut.


Shouldn't this be: I have a hat, since you have a hat.


I have a hat, since you have a hat is saying I have a hat because you have a hat. I have had a hat since you have had a hat is saying you have had your hats for the same amount of time


I agree with you Fancyfrau, and I too am a native English speaker, in England to boot!


Would you say that though (I’m assuming you’re an English native speaker)? I learnt that for cases like this one, you use the present perfect in English: Subject has been in state x since point y/for y amount of time --> ”I have had a hat since…”

English seems to focus on the “this state was valid in the past” aspect while in German we focus on the “this state is valid now” aspect: “Ich habe einen Hut seit…” It sound quite awkward to use perfect tense here (at least in Standard German).


I am not a native English speaker, nonetheless I think it would make much more sense that the English Translation for the sentence: 'Ich habe einen Hut, seit du einen Hut hast' would be: I have a hat, since you have a hat.

My question is, since the sentence is: 'I have had a hat, since you have had a hat' Wouldn't the German Translation would be: 'Ich habe einen Hut gehabt, seit du einen Hut gehabt hast' ?


Yes, that sentence would sound rather weird in German.

The problem is that the situation involves an odd combination of what’s called “perfect” and “progressive” aspects in linguistics: A situation started in the past but it is still ongoing today. English can use the present perfect for this (although it does have other uses too) – so you could say English focuses more on the fact that part of the action occurred in the past. German on the other hand has a construction called “Perfekt”, but in terms of use it’s pretty much just a past tense in modern German. So there is no difference in meaning between “Ich habe in Berlin gewohnt” and “Ich wohnte in Berlin”. Both would mean “I used to live in Berlin (in the past)”, implying that I don’t live there anymore. If we want to say that the situation is still ongoing, we use present tense instead: “Ich wohne [seit…] in Berlin.” It’s simply the English perfect being used in ways the German one can’t.


Thanks for the great explanation!


Thanks indeed!. So just to clarify: If I want to say that 'I have been studying German for seven years' (and thus I am still studying) in German, this would be: 'Ich habe Deutsch fuer 7 Jahre studieren', and NOT 'Ich habe Deutsch fuer 7 Jahre gestudiert' ?


Correct, you would use present tense: “Ich lerne seit 7 Jahren Deutsch.” If you said “Ich habe sieben Jahre lang Deutsch gelernt,” that would mean you are not learning it anymore.


Why does "Ich habe einen Hut seit ihr einen Hut habt" wrong? And also- can that means the two of you have one hat each, or does it have to be one hat together?


If you use ihr the verb form has to be habt rather than hast.

As for the interpretation… It’s possible that a linguistic nitpick might only regard the “the group of you have a single hat” as correct. In practice though it’ll depend on knowledge of the actual situation.


Thanks. I did use 'habt' here but it was still marked wrong. If I understand you correctly, I need to report it?


In that case, yes, you should report it.


Can 'seit' have OSV, OVS, SVO, or VSO? SOV is confusing to me.


No, SOV is the only option for subordinate clauses.


Warum nicht "seit dem du einen Hut hast"?


seitdem (be careful to spell it as one word) should be accepted as well. Be aware though that seitdem can also be an adverb meaning literally seit + dem “since then”.


"Since" here is referring to Time and not Reason - hence 'Seit', isn't it?

If it was "I have a hat since (because) you have a hat." would that translate to: "Ich habe einen Hut, denn du hast einen hut" ?


I have a hat because (since)you have a hat. translate to: Ich habe einen Hut, weil du einen Hut hast
In this case it refersto reason, not to time!


So why am I seeing present perfect sentences when I can barely understand German present.


The example is didactically wrong!


Why not "Ich habe einen Hut, seit Sie einen Hut hatten"?


Why "since du hast einen hut" wrong?


For two reasons:

  • since is not a German word. Use seit for giving a point in time where something started.
  • The word order is incorrect. Clauses which are introduced by seit are subordinate clauses. Therefore, the conjugated part of the verb has to be at the very end: “seit du einen Hut hast”.

  • 1971

This is a great thread. Real learning taking place and thanks to all of the participants. Another question, is this not correct? Ich hatte einen Hut gehabt, seit du einen Hut gehabt hattest.


That would be using past perfect: “I had had a hat since you had had a hat.” So you would be talking about a point in the past. At that point you had a hat which you acquired some time earlier, at the same time the addressee got their own one. Whereas in the original sentence the point of reference (when you have a hat) is the present.


Can you remove the comma from the German sentence?

Ich habe einen Hut seit du hast einen Hut.

If you can, does the verb hast change places?


The comma is obligatory. Apart from a small number of exceptions (the biggest ones being clauses introduced with und or oder), main and/or subordinate clauses are obligatorily separated with a comma. The conjunction seit introduces a subordinate clause and therefore always has the conjugated verb at the very end.


Apart from a small number of exceptions (the biggest ones being clauses introduced with und or oder), main and/or subordinate clauses are obligatorily separated with a comma.

I do not believe clauses introduced by und or oder are classified as main and subordinate. These are examples of coordinate clauses, i.e. clauses coming on equal footing with one another.


If I’m not mistaken, the theoretical difference between coordinate and main clauses is that a main clause is always at the outermost nesting level, whereas a coordinate clause is simply at the same nesting level as the one it is attached to (so if it’s attached to a nested clause, then the coordinate one is nested too). This is indeed relevant when we’re talking about und, oder and aber which can indeed introduce a Nebensatz if attached to another Nebensatz:

  • Als er nach Hause kam und sein Hund ihn mit wildem Schwanzwedeln begrüßte, war der Tag gleich nur noch halb so grau. (When he came home and his dog greeted him wildly wagging its tail, the day immediately seemed only half as gloomy.)
  • Könntest du mir bescheid sagen, wenn es Post für mich gibt oder ein Anruf kommt? (Could you notify me if there is mail for me or somebody calls?)
  • Wenn jemand eines Verbrechens beschuldigt wird, aber es keinen Beweis für seine Schuld gibt, dann gilt die Unschuldsvermutung. (If somebody is accused of committing a crime but there is no proof for their guilt, then the presumption of innocence applies.)

But these three seem to be the only conjunctions that can do this, at least I can’t think of a way to form such sentences with other coordinating conjunctions like denn or daher.

In any case, what I meant in my earlier comment was Hauptsatz, but that concept isn’t necessary for the comma rule: Any two clauses with a conjugated verb – whether coordinated or subordinated – are separated with commas (unless the second clause is introduced by und or oder).

(Of course this is not the only thing which can require you to use a comma, but it’s one of – if not the – most common one.)


Ich habe ein Hut gehabt, seitdem du einen Hut gehabt hast.


Why not, "ich habe eine Hut gehabt, seit du einen Hut gehabt hast."


Because you need einen (accusative singular masculine) in the first clause. Maybe you just made a typo seeing as you got it right in the second clause, but because the form eine also exists, Duo will think you made a grammar error and not accept it.


Why not 'Ich habe einen Hut gehabe seit du einen Hut hast gehabe' which is a more accurate translation of 'have had'?


The English sentence would have been clearer as; "I have had a hat for as long as you have had one" or/ I've had a hat as long as you've had one" Using the word since introduces ambiguity. The word since, in the example could mean either; "because" or "for the period of time that"


The answer is covering the english translation so it does not work


I have alreay complained that,the answeris covering the quesion in english

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