"You don't know the bear."

Translation:Du kennst den Bären nicht.

March 22, 2018

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Why not "Du kennst nicht den Bär"?


    The reason is that the position of nicht affects the meaning. You can read more about it in the lesson tips.

    When we have du kennst den Bär nicht, as in the correct example, nicht affects the verb kennst. The meaning is that "you don't know the bear".

    However, if we incorrectly have 'du kennst nicht den Bär', nicht affects the noun den Bär. The meaning is that "you know not the bear". This doesn't really make sense without further detail: You know something, but it's not the bear. What is it?


    Sorry, I still don't get it. So far, Duolingo's tips stated that "nicht" usually comes after the verb but didnt explained the other cases. Why would "nicht" refer to "den Bär" insted of to the verb when after it in "Du kennst nicht den Bär"?

    Danke :)


    I think that it is just as you pointed out, there are other cases in which the "nicht" has a different position in the sentence. I believe that "nicht" here has another position because the different components that a sentence can have (e.g. subject, verb, complement, etc.) can occupy different positions in the sentence and they also have some sort of "preference" above other components. So, in this case "den Bären" is filling the 3rd position so "nicht" cannot be there. I guess you should look into structure of the sentence or order of the parts/components/words of a sentence in German to know more about this.


    It's a bit archaic, but the second example you gave used to be a more formal/educated way of saying 'you don't know the bear' in English. It's still a valid sentence, even if it would raise a few eyebrows. It's also fully standalone, and requires no further context. In light of that, I'm still not seeing why that wouldn't be acceptable German.

    [deactivated user]

      In az_p's explanation, he says in the second example that nicht affects or modifies den Bär. So 'not the bear'. In the archaic English sentence form you mention, 'you know not the bear', 'not' modifies 'you know', so 'you know not'. This means that even though the word order is identical to a literal translation of the second incorrect German sentence, the grammatical meaning corresponds to the first correct German sentence.


      Ok, so what if we negate the noun instead? For example, "Du kennst keinen Bär." How is that different than the above example?


      For example, "Du kennst keinen Bär." How is that different than the above example?

      It would still have to be accusative Bären.

      Du kennst keinen Bären would be "You do not know a bear".

      kein is indefinite, but the English sentence has definite "the bear".


      You don't know any bear.


      Good point, grammar and its complexity hehehe. Thank you for your help


      I did input same but i dint know y it shows bären instead of bär trying hard but getting lost


      While I understand the difference I don't know how we are supposed to know which (you don't know the bear or you don't know the Bear but you may know the rabbit) without additional context. Having never been required to know a bear (or a rabbit for that matter), it seems nonsensical to assume either!


      Okay so...is one of the formats always going to be correct? or do I just have to watch out for this myself?


      Does that mean that we write 'nicht' after the thing I need to negate and not just directly after the verb? Did I get this correct? Thanks


      Thank you for your prefect reaply.


      wow! Ich verstehe, vielen dank!


      The bear here is the direct object so you use accusative form to indicate this by declining the article (der changes to den). I read that some nouns also change with the accusative adding an "n" or "en" at the end. But I'm not sure if this always happens for these nouns or if it is related to the different structures a sentence can have.


      Maybe they're just glossing over this, but shouldn't den Bär be den Bären? Der Bär is one of a few nouns that retains an accusative ending like den Namen does. Or maybe this is falling out of use? I've tried to be careful not to forget this one, so it's odd to see it without its accusative noun ending.


      But wouldn't "Bären" be the plural for "Bär" and be translated as "You don't know the bears" ?

      Unless Germans notice the speaker has just said "den" making it compulsory to be followed by a masculine singular noun... unless Germans wonder whether the speaker is a foreigner struggling with articles and should have used "die" with the plural "Bären".

      Though in case of "Bären" referring to "all bears" in general, like "any bear", then Germans would think this poor foreigner should have used "du kennst keine Bären".



      I think I actually know the answer to this one! ("But wouldn't 'Bären' be the plural for 'Bär' and be translated as 'You don't know the bears' ?") "The bears" (plural) is "die Bären." Since the article in the sentence is "den" not "die," that's our clue that Bären is singular in this case.


      Since the article in the sentence is "den" not "die," that's our clue that Bären is singular in this case.

      You need an additional clue: the fact that kennen expects an object in the accusative case.

      That way, you know that den has to be masculine accusative (i.e. singular).

      den could also be dative plural -- it's only because you know you're expecting accusative that this possibility is excluded.

      If you had a verb that required the dative case, e.g. Ich folge den Bären, it would mean "I am following the bears", plural, since den here has to be dative and thus plural, rather than accusative and thus singular.

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      I checked with several other native speakers, "n-declined" nouns with consonant endings are moving out of the n-declension. Both versions should sound okay to a normal German speaker. Duden is, as usual, behind on this.

      • 2222

      Duden was a guy who was relevant for standardizing German spelling. Nowadays, the publisher with that name regularly oversteps its boundaries of describing what the common usage is by denigrating people that use other variants. They seem to wish for a static language that never changes, instead of embracing the reality: that language is alive and will forever change.


      Love this explanation so hard. Language IS alive and always evolving (or devolving depending on one's views)...but I refuse accept "irregardless" no matter how many dictionaries and linguists bend to the masses (though it is often noted that it is improper, which provides a small degree of solace). Totally OT, but truly just wanted to give your explanation more love than just an upvote.


      thanks, i was looking for just this clarification.


      They changed it.


      Why is it den Bären and not den Bär?


      Some German masculine nouns just get an "n" or "en" added in every case except nominative. Look up "n declension" and you'll find lot of sites explaining it. Here's one: http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/nouns/weak-nouns-the-n-declension/


      Thank you! This was the explanation I was looking for (that makes sense). It's one of those grammatical rules/exceptions.


      How the hell am I supposed to know the difference between "Du kennst nicht den Bar." (I can't type an umlaut on this keyboard) and "Du kennst den Bar nicht."? Is there some secret information somewhere that I'm supposed to find before answering questions like this? Is there a reason why it's a secret, and not part of the actual lessons? Why is it that some translations allow "nicht" to be after the verb and some don't? There's no consistency with this. ❤❤❤.


      From what I've read on other comments, it has to do with the verb "sein" (to be). If the verb used in the sentence is sein, then nicht seems to inmediately follow the verb. If it is any other verb, nicht seems to go at the end. I hope this helps!


      I suppose the Duolingo test question is the lesson. When you are marked wrong you read the discussion and learn more. And consult other sources. I find this site useful: https://yourdailygerman.com/position-nicht-german/


      Sooo.... let me get this straight. In this lesson, which was not introduced in the introductory notes in the web interface, I'm supposed to "just know"that Bär magically turns into "Bären" unless its in nominative case, and that nicht -- and we're currently working on nicht vs nichts vs kein in all its manifestations -- goes at the end of the sentence. Or else it would be kennst "not a bear, which should keine Bären for those playing along at home. Thanks. That's clear as mud.


      Why du kennst keinen Bär is wrong dear friends?


      When nouns have definite articles, in this case der, you will never use kein, you will use nicht. For more information, this website (https://deutsch.lingolia.com/en/grammar/sentence-structure/negation) shows which to use in an easy way.


      You asked for "You don't know the bear" (singular) not bears (plural) so why is it "Bären" and not Bar?


      Is no one going to ask why the answer is plural but the question is singular? When did the second bear show up?


      Why is bear plural in the answer?


      Why is bear plural in the answer?

      It isn't. Bären is the form used in all cases of the singular and of the plural, except for nominative singular (which is the dictionary form), der Bär.

      So den Bären here is accusative singular.


      Would have been nice if they could have mentioned that before.


      Accusative case. I do an example Mein Name ist banana , er kennt meinen Namen nicht. Der Bär frisst banana, ich kenne den Bären nicht. Namen and Bären are in these cases singular accusative


      Why not der Bär? Is than accusative case?


      In the accusative case, masculine articles ("the" and "a") change to end with "-n." So "der Bär" becomes "den Bär" and "ein Bär" becomes "einen Bär" (but only masculine "ein" not neuter "ein" change).

      If you happen to have access to a computer or web app instead of just the Duolingo app, there is a function called "Notes and Tips" on each Duolingo lesson that gives detailed information so learning all these rules isn't as hard (I don't know why it's not available on the mobile app).

      • 2222

      Yes, "you" is the subject (nominative), "the bear" is the object (thus accusative).


      Shouldn't it be "Du kennst den Bären nicht"? The word itself will also change, not only the article. I'm a native German speaker.


      I don't understand any of the comments backing up this translation. "Bären" is plural for "Bär", is it not?. Shouldn't the answer be "Du kennst den Bär nicht." Also wouldn't we use "die" with "Bären" anyways given the fact that it would be plural? Duolingo's translation is either incorrect on multiple levels or they need to explain why this is a unique exception.


      "Bären" is plural for "Bär", is it not?

      Not only. It's also the form used in the oblique cases in the singular, i.e. everything except nominative.


      why is this not du kennst nicht den bären


      Where can I find "tips" in duolingo?


      If you click the skill you're interested in, before clicking "start" (or "practice") there will be a lightbulb icon to link you to tips and notes for that skill.

      Most Duo courses have them for web-version only, but we are lucky in the German course because tips and notes are available on the app version now! :-)


      You have put Bären as the answer when you asked for Bar singular


      After reading some comments, I understand the sentence structure now. I still do not get why is it "den Bären" instead of "den Bär" or "die Bären". I'd appreciate if someone can explain it to me, or redirect me to an explanation :D


      I still do not get why is it "den Bären" instead of "den Bär" or "die Bären".

      die Bären would be plural, which is not appropriate if you're talking about one particular bear.

      As for den Bären, not den Bär -- Bär changes to Bären in the accusative case (and, in fact, all cases except the nominative). See e.g. https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Baer_Raubtier#grammatik or http://www.canoonet.eu/inflection/b%C3%A4r:N:M:Tier .

      der Bär is nominative. den Bären is accusative. den Bär is simply wrong -- as is der Bären.


      Much difficult grammar, help please?


      I am confused with the usage of kein and nicht


      to me this doesn't really make sense!!! to much wierd compilacations


      Where should be nicht used? before or after the noun?


      Why is "Sie wissen den Bär nicht" unacceptable?


      I think because of the meaning. In German "Kennen" is right to translate "to Know" to say knowing someone or something.


      why the use of den bar instead of der bar ? pl advise


      der Bär (Nominativ, 1. Fall) Der Bär ist braun. den Bären (Akkusativ, 4. Fall) Ich sehe den Bären. den Bären (Dativ,3. Fall Plural) Wie geht es den Bären?


      Why it doesn't use "keine"?


      Why it doesn't use "keine"?

      Because kein is used before indefinite nouns, but "the bear" is definite.


      Isn't "bären" the pl. of "bär"?


      We were never taught that the accusative of Bär is Bären that i recall. I thought Bären was the nominative plural.


      You are right, they have never mentioned different noun forms other than plural in any of the lessons to this point. If you read my explanation I posted a while ago, you can read about such nouns that also "decline" depending on case. Viel Glück!


      Is Kennen used both for "to be acquainted with someone or something," and "to understand, have knowledge of something or someone"? How is it being used here in the problem?


      It means to know. It aint complicated


      Ist must be: "Du kennst den Bären nicht." The sentence is wrong.


      Its grammatically correct: "Du kennst den Bären nicht.", but it sounds like a phrase and I have no idea, what it means.


      Duden oder nicht: "Du kennst den Bären" klingt richtig, "Du kennst den Bär" klingt falsch. Es klingt wie amputiert.


      Why can't you use weißen in this sentence? What's the difference between weißen and kennen?


      In short, "Wissen" is for knowing information, skills, etc. "Kennen" is for knowing people, animals, talking trees, etc. (i.e. living entities).

      A longer, more complete answer is available from Your Daily German :-)


      Warum ist es nicht "Du kennst keinen Bär"? Das wurde genau so gehen, die meisten wurde es auch so sagen. Verdammte Sackgesichter

      • 2222

      "keinen" = "nicht einen".

      "Sackgesichter"? …


      What about "Du kennst kein Bär"?


      The correct version of your sentence is "Du kennst keinen Bär" (or "Du kennst keinen Bären"), and it means "You don't know a bear", not "You don't know the bear."


      "Du kennst den Bären nicht" is the correct sentence.


      why is it saying it needs to be bears when it asks for one bear only?


      There is only one bear in the sentence given.


      There is only one bear in the sentence given.

      Correct. That's why it's den Bären (masculine accusative) and not die Bären (plural accusative).


      az_p suggests "du kennst den Bär nicht" is correct, but it is not accepted. There is a competing explanation advising "Bär" (a noun) should take an accusative ending (making it appear to be plural). Please explain why "den Bär" is incorrect. Lesson Tips is blank.


      There is only one bear. Why then Baren?


      Why then Baren?

      Accusative case.

      Also, it's den Bären, not den Baren. (If you can't type ä, use ae instead: den Baeren.)


      Why is it den bären and not der bär?


      Why is it den bären

      It isn't. It's den Bären with capital B. Accusative case form of der Bär, used here because it's the direct object of the verb kennen.


      Im seeing questions on nicht placement, but why is it Bären and not Bär? Why is it pluralized?


      why is it Bären and not Bär? Why is it pluralized?

      It's not plural. Bären is the form that word takes anywhere except in the nominative singular -- so not only in all cases in the plural but also in 3/4 of the cases in the singular, including the accusative case, which you need here.


      Why is it 'Du kennst den Bären nicht' instead of 'Du kennst den Bär nicht', when the English translation uses the singular bear?


      German uses singular bear as well -- which is Bär in the nominative case and Bären in the genitive, dative, and accusative cases.

      Here, you need the accusative case: den Bären.


      Why is ,,du kennst den bär nicht'' wrong Du kennst den Bären nicht Is exactly the same I know that because deutsch is my first language but i take this ciurse to learn english


      @Hyraklius Please, please report it. Perhaps a native speaker may carry more weight. This topic generates more confusion than any I've seen so far.


      We teach -- and expect -- standard German on this course.

      Some Germans may say du kennst den Bär nicht or Ich sehe kein Bär or Ich singe gern weil das macht mir Spaß or du bist größer wie er -- but none of those are standard German and none of those are accepted.

      Please use standard grammar here. We will not be adding non-standard forms.

      In standard German, the accusative of der Bär is den Bären. Not den Bär.



      why the word "Bären" instead of "Bär"?


      Why is it den Bären? Wouldnt that be plural?


      Why is it den Bären? Wouldnt that be plural?

      den Bären can be dative plural or accusative singular. In this case, it's accusative singular, since it's the direct object of kennen and thus has to be accusative.


      I read through almost all of the comments, and I still don't understand why the answer is "den Bären" instead of "den Bär." I get that with context clues you still can understand that the bear is singular due to "kennst" and "den," but then why is bear written as plural? Why not write it as a singular noun instead of hoping someone gets the context clues?


      why is bear written as plural?

      It's not plural.

      Bären is the form used in all forms except in the nominative singular.

      So you have singular

      • der Bär
      • des Bären
      • dem Bären
      • den Bären

      and plural

      • die Bären
      • der Bären
      • den Bären
      • die Bären

      Since you need the accusative case here, you're not "nominative singular", so you need Bären.

      It's not (just) a plural form.


      Okay, I'm getting real pissed now. What's the thing with nicht's placing in a sentence?


      If a good student fails to answer a question correctly 6 times due to grammer we haven't learned, then the question should be altered to reflect what we have learned to this point. Ich mag keine bären. Vielleicht.


      Why DEN and not DER? I'm missing something


      Accusative, den is the accusative of der.


      What's the difference between den and der?? what would it mean if I used der Bar instead of den Bar??


      Both are for masculine singular, but "der" is nominative (for the subject of the sentence), and "den" is accusative (for the direct object of the sentence-- the thing being known, seen, eaten, found, etc.).

      If you mix up "den" and "der", you will still be understood, but it would sound a little funny to a native German-speaker. In English, we only distinguish nominative and accusative with certain pronouns (I/me, she/her, etc.). So the equivalent would be like saying: "Me know she." instead of "I know her." :-)


      Why "du kennst keinen baren" is not correct? By the end of the dat, it litteraly means "you know no bears" same as you dont know the bear


      "you know no bears" same as you dont know the bear

      No, those are not the same.

      One is talking about a specific bear ("the bear") whom you do not know, while the other states that you do not know any bear at all.

      Also, baren (cash) is not the same as Bären (bear) -- you can't just leave out the dots or it will turn into a different word. If you can't write an ä, use ae instead: Baeren.


      That is correct in almost every case. "Du kennst den Bären nicht", (singular, one stands for all) can be used to refer to the character or habits of bears in general, too. Just as "Du kennst die Bären nicht." (plural) I'm german.


      @Pondress: Why "Du Kannst keine bären" is incorrect?


      Why isn't "Du kennst den Bär nicht" acceptable?

      [deactivated user]

        Well, not a surprise for me. They don't say, "Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache… " for nothing ... Seems like there are a lot of rules and exceptions in German language.


        Why not "Du kennst keine Bären?"


        Why not "Du kennst keine Bären?"

        Because that would mean "You do not know any bears" (indefinite, plural), rather than "You do not know the bear" (definite, singular).


        A younger and perhaps less educated English person might say "this does my head in!" I am finding the whole of this negating hard going, Then on top of the placement of nicht and trying to work out if nicht or kein why has the bear suddenly become plural?


        Why bären and not bär?


        Why bären

        It isn't bären; it's Bären with a capital B.

        and not bär?

        Because you need the accusative case here, not the nominative case.


        Isn't it suppose to be Bär instead of Bären. And I know that many have asked about the why nicht being is at the sentence's end and not after 'kennst', but unfortunately I still don't understand why it is so?


        Isn't it suppose to be Bär instead of Bären.

        Not in this sentence. You need the accusative case form den Bären, not nominative der Bär.


        Why isn't it 'Du kennst den Bär nicht'?


        Why isn't it 'Du kennst den Bär nicht'?

        Because the accusative of der Bär is den Bären, not den Bär.

        Bär is a weak noun, so it takes -en everywhere except in nominative singular.


        Does that mean that we write 'nicht' after the thing I need to negate and not just after the verb?


        Why not "Du kennst den Bar nicht." Den Bar is singular accusative. Die Baren is plural. Nicht war?


        Den Bar is singular accusative.

        No. Den Bar is simply wrong.

        die Bar is singular accusative for "the bar".

        But here you need "the bear", which in the accusative is den Bären, with ä and with -en.

        Nominative der Bär, accusative den Bären.

        Die Baren is plural.

        No; "bears" is Bären with ä. (Or ae if you can't type that letter, as in Baeren.)


        If there is a negative word in the english of the sentence then why not in german ?


        If there is a negative word in the english of the sentence then why not in german ?

        Er, what?

        "You don't know the bear."

        Du kennst den Bären nicht.

        I see a negative word in the English sentence and in the German sentence.


        How about 'du kennst kienen den baren'? What would be the meaning of it?


        How about 'du kennst kienen den baren'? What would be the meaning of it?

        Nothing. kienen is not a German word.

        den baren means "the cash one".

        Are you thinking of den Bären with capital B and ä? (If you can't type ä, write ae instead, e.g. den Baeren.)

        And presumably of keinen with ei?

        Du kennst keinen den Bären. makes as little sense as "You do not know a the bear." -- you're using indefinite keinen (not ... a) and definite den (the) together.


        Why du we use "den" for "Bären" in this sentence?


        Why du we use "den" for "Bären" in this sentence?

        Because it's in the accusative case -- the direct object of the verb kennen.


        This is confusing... Not been taught properly.


        Duolingo really loves their bear character, they use it every language.

        Unfortunately, in German, it is an irregular noun. A particular one called an N-noun. It means that the noun has to "decline" also, just like its article. In the case of "der Baer", every time it is not as the subject, it immediately switches to Baeren. It looks plural, but sadly it is simply the form that occurs in every other case, including the plural. So, "Der Baer bla bla bla (insert verb here)", otherwise "bla bla (subject) bla bla (verb), (appropriate article) Baeren".

        I really tried to make this clear but will be happy to explain further if it still seems weird. Wiki has an article, though! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nouns

        Scroll down to the table and look at the important word (for us) Student. Then look at all the forms after the nominative singular. All "Studenten", right? Our Baer, here, follows exactly that path.

        Viel Glueck! (sorry, no umlauts on my computer)


        Why "du kennst keinen bär" is incorrect. Dake


        Why "du kennst keinen bär" is incorrect. Dake

        "the bear" is definite -- you're speaking about a particular bear.

        kein is used before indefinite nouns.

        Also, kennen -- like pretty much all verbs that take an object -- takes a direct object in the accusative case, so you need accusative Bären and not nominative Bär. (You know "him", not: you know "he".) And lowercase bär is completely wrong. (Unfortunately, Duolingo does not check this.)

        Du kennst keinen Bären. would be "You do not know a bear."

        Du kennst den Bären nicht. is correct for "You do not know the bear."

        "a bear" versus "the bear" -- indefinite versus definite.


        It should be bar not baren


        It should be bar

        Eh? bar means "in cash", i.e. with money that you can touch. This sentence has nothing to do with money.

        This sentence talks about a bear, which is Bär in the nominative (note capital B and ä) and Bären in the accusative.

        (If you can't make an ä, write ae, as in der Baer, den Baeren.)


        When do we have to use keine and when do we have to use nicht?


        When do we have to use keine and when do we have to use nicht?

        Rule of thumb:

        • kein with indefinite nouns ("a", no article in plural)
        • nicht with definite nouns ("the", "my", "that", "Paul's", ...) or with adjectives


        You want me to say bär for bear, but when I put that in, it's wrong. The sentence calls for bear but the translation for getting it wrong wants bären which would be bears.


        Please pay attention to the correct spelling: Bär, Bären have a capital B.

        Also, "bear" can be not only Bär but also Bären, depending on which case you need. Please read the other comments on this page.


        So.... bären is bears.... Why is it here?

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