It seems to me I could leave out some words
In the sentence "I had not eaten for days." Why can't I just say "Ich hatte nicht essen vor tagen." Instead it's: Ich habe seit Tagen nichts gegessen. Doesn't Seit kinda also mean no? Duolingo has put me from Elementary to high school. I haven't even learned all the colors of the rainbow. :( Help...
no you can not do what! you have to put the verb in the right tense. essen is present . so you need gegessen to make clear it is past. seit means since it makes clear it is still ongoing. if you would change the habe for hatte you would set in the plusquamperfect time.. (completed past) like in a story a situation continued for some days but what is long over.
the germans would probably understand your meaning but their ears will be bleeding from what sentence.
You are right 7hAu0bvY, but chill your beans. We're all learning here.
But yes seit means since. Ich habe seit Tagen nichts gegessen would mean I have eaten since days nothing.
I see what you were trying to do with your sentence. Seit Tagen, hatte ich kein Essen would mean since a few days I had no food. Remember Time, Manner, Place.
..But I think Duolingo would want a more precise translation ;)
Ich habe seit Tagen nichts gegessen would mean I have eaten since days nothing.
so if he translated word for word he should have said “I have since days nothing eaten”. Anyway I objected to saying that’s what it means rather that saying it was a word for word translation. And seit literally means “for” not “since” in this context.
It's not too complicated. Perfect (Perfekt) and pluperfect (Plusquamperfekt) are two forms for past tense that work the same in English as they do in German. In one you use "I have" and in the other you use "I had".
Perfekt: I have done something. (Ich habe etwas getan.)
Plusquamperfekt: I had done something. (Ich hatte etwas getan.)
Penni, concerning your question about Perfekt and Plusquamperfekt, they are the names of the tenses (present perfect and past perfect in English), so they don't go in the sentence. "I have answered your question" is in the present perfect (Perfekt), and "I had already written the answer when I saw the question" is the past perfect (Plusquamperfekt).
But why put "since" in there if it's not in the English sentence? Why put the extra word? I'm finding these extra words in a lot of the German sentences. I know their ears would bleed. Haha This is why I am paying for a tutor. But I do hope this discussion board can help as well.
well the part of since in the english sentence wound be for in this case. wouldn't it? guess laguage and the way how something is expresed is a cultural thing. it is best to not compare languages. if i want to learn a language i try to get to know the culture first. it makes it easier for me.
you can say i have not eaten for days like you did in the post or i have not eaten in days like you did now... in the first case the "for" has the same function as the seit in the german sentence ( it shows what the situation is still ongoing) in the secon version the "in" is showing the same thing. what is what i was going to say.
of course a word on word translation does not work it hardly ever does. and there is no other reason for that than the fact that it is a different language which follows different rules.