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"Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the train station?"

Translation:Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?

April 8, 2018

116 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fey835245

I love these extra long sentences because it is closer to how I would actually speak


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahmedmokhtar

It is sad that I have reached this far in the course and I'm yet to be able to put together long sentences like this one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/agrowlinglemon

Long sentences like these throw in a lot of grammar rules at once. Just because you can't tackle a sentence like this yet, doesn't mean you haven't learned a lot. You just haven't had many opportunities to try all the rules at the same time :) You'll get the hang of it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PWkXZCsm

Well done for such encouraging comments. I agree whole-heartedly and the longer sentences do reflect real-life conversations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahmedmokhtar

Hello. I come from the future and I can certainly say that I am much better now at understanding and writing long sentences in German


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AMarieTS

Thank you for the encouraging comment. I am at the point I sometimes just need to memorize the order. I am not sure I always really understand how it works.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PEB945414

It gets easier as you level up practice. I note that the English sentence in your comment is quite long...try saying it in German...an interesting challenge


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zsventilla

If you are a learner, sometimes enough to ask '- Bahnhof?! Hmm?', and kind people will help you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

And in most places, saying "Excuse me. Sorry, I don't speak much German. Can you tell me how to get to the train station?" will suffice if you forget all your German :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ms_Spaatkauf

Ha! I could get as far as "entschuldigung, konnen sie mir sagen..." then I'd probably shrug and say "wo bitte ist der Banhof?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Well, as long as you said "können" instead of "konnen" (and when speaking you wouldn't be able to capitalise "Sie" anyway :P), you'd be pretty much there!

Entschuldigung, konnen sie mir sagen, wo bitte ist der Bahnhof?

Really isn't that far away from:

Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wo der Bahnhof ist, bitte?

P.S. Which really isn't far away from how we'd say it in English:

Excuse me, can you tell me where the train station is, please?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3FtYy1cu

It is really sad to realize I got the sentence wrong by adding a "please".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilologistMi-Mi

I kept trying to add please too! I have the phrase in my head "Koennen Sie mir bitte sagen" for when I want to know something, and I had to work really hard to pull that please out of the middle, haha!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafiShapir

why is it "komme" and not "gehe" or "gehen"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

It's how it is. The German sentence works more like "how do I arrive at ...." or "how do I come to". Also in English it's not "how do I go to .....".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mella538409

How do I arrive acctualy means 'Wie komme ich am Bahnhof an'. Ankommen is the correct translation for arrive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaseyBahr

Actually, I copied the german sentence directly from Duo the first time I saw this in a previous exercise and it was indeed "gehen"! Then a few exercises later it was "komme" Thus, reported.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I'd love to see a screenshot of this sentence with "gehen". As Max.Em so eloquently put, this construction with "gehen" just doesn't exist in German.

If you happen to see the "gehen" version of this sentence again, I would recommend taking a screenshot and reporting The German sentence is unnatural or has an error.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mounimann

Would gehen be the right translation if the intent of the sentence was to figure out mode of transport rather than directions? Ie if the english sentence was "how are you going to the station?" (Odd phrasing in English admittedly).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mella538409

Gehe or gehe means walk. Komme means get. If you would use gehe it's like saying 'Can you tell me how I can walk to the train station'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TalRisin

Long ass sentence is long.

But I like it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidMeyer439034

Why can you not say "....wie man zum Bahnhof kommt"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Well, to quote Max.Em from earlier in this discussion:

Wie komme ich zu/nach ...? and Wie kommt man zu/nach ...? are both standard phrases in German to ask for directions
...
The difference is merely a matter of style - with "ich" it is personal and direct, with "man" it's impersonal and a bit reserved.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ezebirman

What about „… wie kann man zum Banhoff kommen”? I tried that but it wasn't accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

The main issue is word order, which I broached here in the thread started by DrKatieBrooks.

Beyond that you've got the issue of spelling—"Banhoff" should be "Bahnhof"—and the unnecessary use of "können".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/starrygordon

One can say in English (although it's less frequent) 'How do you go to the station?' However, it's good to learn the kommen+zu construction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamuelWalt14

Can I get a little explanation why "konnen Sie sagen mir" is wrong? And isn't the translation wie ich zum - how I get versus how to get?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

sagen is an infinite verb, so it has to go to the end of the phrase, after the complements or objects - it's können sie mir sagen and not können sie sagen mir.

The infinitive construction "how to xyz" doesn't exist in German - there is no "wie zu xyz", so you can only use the version "how do I get to ...." in German, that is "wie komme ich zu ...."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilologistMi-Mi

Sagen has to move to the end of the clause, because we have a modal verb 'koennen' in the clause as well. This applies to all sentences with a modal verb and an infinitive: for instance, if you wanted to say, "Can I meet Debbie at the train station today for lunch?", you would have to say, "Kann ich heute zum Mittagessen Debbie am Bahnhof treffen?", moving the infinitive main verb allllll the way to the end of the sentence (which is one clause in this example). This is called the Verbklammer, which means that the two parts of the verb separate and go around the other parts of the clause, like brackets enclosing a thought.

I'm not sure quite what you mean by the second question, but if you are questioning the English translation of the sentence, you might have a point. I think based on what I've heard elsewhere that the German version of this sentence is actually strange. I think if you say in German 'wie ich komme zum', then you are actually asking how you, specifically, are in the custom of traveling to the train station (perhaps you have amnesia and have forgotten), as opposed to the more general 'how does one get to the train station' which is asking for directions. I think this sentence should actually be, 'Entschuldigung, koennen Sie mir sagen, wie man zum Bahnhof kommt?' if we want it to be proper German (I'd love for a native speaker to weigh in on this, though!). Otherwise, the way it is written would imply that you are asking how you, not just anyone, get to the train station, with the implication that you have done it multiple times before, and you want to know how you specifically do it. If I'm right about that, then yes, the English translation of this sentence should use 'how I get' rather than the general 'how to get'.

Hope that helps! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

I think if you say in German 'wie ich komme zum', then you are actually asking how you, specifically, are in the custom of traveling to the train station (perhaps you have amnesia and have forgotten), as opposed to the more general 'how does one get to the train station' which is asking for directions. I think this sentence should actually be, 'Entschuldigung, koennen Sie mir sagen, wie man zum Bahnhof kommt?' if we want it to be proper German.

Wie komme ich zu/nach ...? and Wie kommt man zu/nach ...? are both standard phrases in German to ask for directions, in the sense of a description which roads or means to take, so the answer could also be "Take the bus to xyz and step over to the metro". The difference is merely a matter of style - with "ich" it is personal and direct, with man it's impersonal and a bit reserved.

Of course, you can always earn a stupid answer if someone wants to misunderstand you, but that doesn't make them less common. It's like "Was kostet das Hemd?" "Geld." - nearly everyone uses them, everyone knows what they're about, but some people like to joke and accuse you of an imprecise use of language (precise would be "Wie viel kostet das Hemd?").

PS: anyway thanks for adding the possibility with "man", I didn't think about it in my first comment. It's not an infinitive, but it's impersonal just like the English "how to".

PPS: "zum Mittagessen"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilologistMi-Mi

Thanks for the answers, Max.Em! I guess it's just like English then, where by strict grammatical convention the sentence should be 'How can one get to the train station (from here)?', but you are much more likely to actually hear 'How do you get to the train station?'. I appreciate your clarification on that.

Your 'Das Hemd kostet Geld' joke reminded me of my grandfather. If you said "Hey!" as a greeting instead of 'Hi', he would always say, with a twinkle in his eye, "Hay is for horses." It's good to know that kind of joke is multi-cultural. :D

Oh, and thanks for correcting my sentence. I actually wrote "zum Mittagessen" first, then suddenly second-guessed myself and changed it. Guess I should have gone with my instinct!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

You're welcome! Seems like your instinct is quite good ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JBoy2513

Why is the dative "mir" used here? Could "mich" be used instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Why is the dative "mir" used here?

Because it refers to the indirect object or recipient instead of the direct object or sent object.

With "sagen" there are typically three entities present:

  1. The person doing the talking -- The Subject; in this sentence: "Sie"
  2. The words that are said -- The Direct Object; in this sentence: "wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?"
  3. The person who(m)* is being spoken to** -- The Indirect Obect; in this sentence: "mir"

Could "mich" be used instead?

If I conveyed my point well enough earlier on, that should be clear by now.
To use "mich" that would mean it is "the word that is being said"; so, off the top of my head, the only scenario where I could see "mich" being used correctly in conjunction with "sagen" would need to look something like this:

„Entschuldigung, können Sie mich sagen?“
„Mich.“
„Vielen Dank.“


*I know that needs to be "whom", but it just sounds so wrong even though it's right. Oh, English.
**And "to whom is being spoken" sounds even more wrong, so don't even get me started on the whole "You can't end a sentence with a preposition" rubbish. To cite a quote that is often misattributed to Winston Churchill:

This is the type of errant pedantry up with which I will not put!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrKatieBrooks

Why does "komme" have to go to the end, please? I understand about the infinitive going to the end in "können Sie mir sagen", but I'm confused about why it can't be "wie ich komme zum Bahnhof".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

"wie ich zum Bahnhof komme" is a subordinate clause, meaning it sounds incomplete if it stands on its own (or better, it can't stand on its own). In German, a subordinate clause is signified by the conjugated verb (in this case "komme") coming at the end of the clause, rather than at the beginning for a main clause.

Does that help at all?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrKatieBrooks

Yes, I think so! The "wie" means it's a subordinate clause, because you can't say "how I get to the station" on its own. I didn't know that the verb needs to go to the end in that situation. Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Yep, you got it! I avoided mentioning "wie" in my answer, because there are so many different words that can introduce a subordinate clause, and so I think it's better to recognise the more fundamental difference between main and subordinate clauses, rather than just checking which word comes first.

However, the w-question words (w-Fragewörter auf Deutsch) are by far the most common non-conjunctions that are used to introduce a subordinate clause (excluding relative clauses), so I thought it might be useful to show how all the different w-words can be used in this way:

Entschuldigen Sie (ich hoffe, Sie haben ein paar Minuten Zeit :P), können Sie mir sagen:

  • was ein Bahnhof (überhaupt) ist;
  • wo(her) man die Idee (her) hat, einen Bahnhof zu bauen;
  • warum/wieso/weshalb/weswegen man diesen Bahnhof gebaut hat;
  • welcher Bahnhof das ist;
  • wann dieser Bahnhof gebaut wurde;
  • wer ihn (diesen Bahnhof) gebaut hat;
  • wessen Bahnhof es ist; (oder)
  • wem dieser Bahnhof gehört;
  • für wen man den Bahnhof gebaut hat;
  • wo der Bahnhof ist;
  • wo(hin) man (hin)fahren muss, um ihn zu finden; und letztendlich
  • wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?

So, as you can see, there are plenty of different (non-conjunction) words that can start a subordinate clause (please don't think my list is exhaustive!); but hopefully you can identify the pattern :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrKatieBrooks

Yes, that's fine - I understood that it wouldn't only apply to "wie". It's interesting to see so many examples, though :-) Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

You are more than welcome, Katie :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PWkXZCsm

... and thank you for such an excellent explanation together with the examples. Much appreciated and extremely helpful. It's a shame Duolingo doesn't have a system to flag this at the top rather than having to scroll through


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

My pleasure :)

It's a nice distraction when I should be studying :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lhynard

What is wrong with this: "Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof gehe?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3FtYy1cu

As explained in quite a few other comments: here the customary choice in German is kommen, not gehen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lhynard

But that's not really an explanation and doesn't answer my question. Is gehen grammatically incorrect? Does it convey a different meaning? Or is it just uncommon? Is there a way to know when to use gehen in sentences as opposed to kommen?

In English, one can say, "How do I go to the station?" or "How do I get to the station?" One rarely ever hears, "How do I come to the station?" unless they are talking on the phone or something to someone already at the station. None of these are wrong or incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilologistMi-Mi

I think the problem is that the German 'gehen' doesn't translate exactly to our 'go'. It actually implies the act of walking, not just movement by any means of transportation, like our word. Therefore, if you ask 'Wie kann ich zum Bahnhof gehen', you're actually asking 'How does one walk to the train station from here?', and you won't get an answer that includes anything other than directions on foot. That's my understanding, anyway. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/violinda41

"how to get to the train station?" You are asking for the word komme, which means "come." It seems that to "get to" the station implies going or "gehen," and not komme.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

It's a fixed expression in German. Don't try to translate it word by word. It's even not so far from English if you think about "to get sth.", which means "etwas bekommen" in German, but for "to get somewhere" we use "irgendwohin kommen" without "be-".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krys1301

Ugh! Duo won't accept, ".....kannst du mir sagen...."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nishchal07

I wrote 'Entschuldigen Sie bitte' instead of 'Entschulidgung'. It was marked wrong. Please point out why. Here's the whole sentence I entered:

"Entschuldigen Sie bitte, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrianH.11

I'm pretty sure it's because you added the "bitte" when there was no "please" in the original sentence. Though the way you phrased it would certainly be a normal way of saying approximately the same thing, Duolingo tends to be pretty strict about translating only the specific words given by them and not adding words (though of course sometimes they break that pattern when they have more idiomatic constructions). My guess is that if you had only said, "Entschuldigung," you wouldn't have gotten it wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexiaPri

i forgot to add the ich before zum and was wondering if it's really that important to mention the subject there


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tshearin

Is "Entschuldigung, kannst du mir wie man zum Bahnhof kommt sagen?" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

Long relative clauses and other long complements are usually put to the end of the sentence, not in the "Verbklammer". Im not sure if your sentence is acceptable at all (and I'm German...).

The other (minor) problem is that a question like this is usually asked to a stranger, so that it's more likely to use "Sie" instead of "du", unless you ask a child.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tshearin

Thanks. It did occur to me that I should probably use Sie, and my answer sounded awkward to me, but I am not a native speaker. I need to remember the correct construction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Wie wär's mit „Entschuldigen Sie, können Sie mir sagen, wie man den Bahnhof erreicht“? Ich hab den Satz als korrekt gemeldet, aber eventuell fälschlicherweise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

Der Satz ist sehr korrekt und bedeutet das Gleiche, nur etwas formeller.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Danke Max. Dieser Satz ist während der „Test Out“ Prüfung erschienen und war der letzte Satz, der verursacht hat, dass ich beim Test durchgefallen bin (und zwar zum ersten Mal), da ich früher ein paar riskante Sätze probiert hatte (denn normalerweise bestehen die meisten Sätze aus zwei oder drei Wörtern und so habe ich mich bisher diese Risiken eingehen lassen können).

Also bin ich in der letzten halben Stunde oder so ein bisschen emfindlich gewesen, was mein Deutsch angeht :'P und dein Kommentar hat mich gut beruhigt.

Danke nochmals.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VikingBob_57

Why does "kannst du" not work here instead of "können Sie"? I will grant you that this would more likely be asked of a stranger (where the formal 'Sie' would be appropriate), but that doesn't mean the question could not be asked of someone with whom you would use the more familiar 'du'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I presume the thinking is that if only "Sie" is acceptable here, it will help give context to the difference between "du" and "Sie".

Of course it's conceivable that this question could be asked to someone one would say "du" to, but I'm actually in favour of only accepting "Sie", to prevent people from skating through on only using "du" whenever they need to translate "you" to German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gimmabolla

Please Duo add more long sentences like this one, they are so insightful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chen247935

So..... I know how it works with one verb, and I (kind of) know how it works with two verbs.

Now how the hell does it work with three verbs?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Well, it really depends on the situation i.e. the type and number of clauses involved.

They could, for example, all come at the beginning:

Muss, darf, kann ich irgendetwas für dieses Baby (tun)?
Beschütze, umarme, liebe es.

Or, they could all go at the end:

Dass ich das hätte wissen müssen, [ist mir inzwischen klar geworden].

Or you could have some sort of mix of the two:

Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?

So I would recommend reading up on the subject (as boring as that might sound)—and I can't think of a better website to recommend for that than Canoo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Towie1994

Why is "Sie" used here and not "du"?

To me, this is a question aimed at someone, so wouldn't you say "du"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PirateBob57

I think it uses "Sie" instead of "du" because this question would normally be asked of a stranger, vice someone with whom you are familiar. You would, therefore, use the more formal "Sie" so as not to be rude.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

"Kannst du mir sagen" and "Könnt ihr mir sagen" are also accepted.

"Sie" here is the formal version of "you," so it is indeed addressing the person.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Obviously something may have changed since I last checked, but I thought that "Sie" was the only accepted "you" form for this sentence.

Interesting :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walt302149

The word bank didn't have all the words available. Redo it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladimirOlteanu

I said "Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wie man zum Bahnhoff gehen kann?". I think it is unecessarily long and complicated (and "man" is somewhat impersonal), but is it at least gramatically correct? Also, are there any rules to using "gehen" and "kommen" (sometimes they have similar meanings; unlike in English where they are complete opposites).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I said "Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wie man zum Bahnhoff gehen kann?". I think it is unecessarily long and complicated (and "man" is somewhat impersonal), but is it at least gramatically correct?

The biggest problem here is the verb "gehen". As alluded to earlier in this thread by RafiShapir and answered by Max.Em, "gehen" simply doesn't fit in this context—so, of the two, "kommen" is your only choice here:

why is it "komme" and not "gehe" or "gehen"?

It's how it is. The German sentence works more like "how do I arrive at ...." or "how do I come to". Also in English it's not "how do I go to .....".

Furthermore "Bahnhof" only has one "f", and as you already hinted at:

I think it is unecessarily long and complicated

the use of "können" (i.e. "kann") here is unnecessary. However, the use of "man" is fine. I wouldn't describe it as impersonal—although I know what you mean—I would just call it slightly more formal or higher register (thanks once again to Max.Em in this thread on another comment).

Also, are there any rules to using "gehen" and "kommen" (sometimes they have similar meanings; unlike in English where they are complete opposites).

Obviously you've already got an idea, so beyond telling you anything you already know, all I can suggest is just getting familiar with each of the different meanings and uses for gehen and kommen (as you'll see if you follow the links, according to Duden, "gehen" has 15 and "kommen" has 21!).

There's no point rushing that, though I'm sure you're already familiar with a lot of the uses.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrmMel

Ich habe gesagt "Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen wie man auf den Bahnhof kommt?" aber es war falsch. I guess I can't use 'auf' like this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Yeah, "auf etw. kommen" is—AFAIK—only used figuratively i.e. not to mean how someone came onto something. Maybe that'll become a bit clearer with a few examples:

Hey, was zeichnest du da?
Das ist ein Hund.
Wow! Vielleicht übst du ein bisschen noch. Ich wäre nie darauf gekommen.

Hey, what are you drawing there?
A dog.
Wow, really? I'd put in a bit more time on that then, if I were you. I'd have never got that.


Ich glaube, es hat geregnet.
Wie kommst du denn darauf?
Meine ganzen Sachen sind klatschnass.

I think it's been raining.
What makes you say that? (Or for the yanks :P) How do you figure?
All my stuff is sopping wet.


Was machst du denn da?
Ich bastele ganz schnell einen Regenschirm aus diesem Zeug.
Ah, krass! Auf die Idee wäre ich nie gekommen!

What are you doing there?
Just putting together a make-shift umbrella from this junk.
Oh, wow! I'd have never thought of/come up with that!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrmMel

Vielen dank, AdamKean. Das ist sehr hilfreich. You put together some grossartig examples - thanks for your time, and I am loving the word 'klatschnass'!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15

A "kudo" for a change. Duo used the formal "you" for a change.

The context appears to be that of asking a stranger, and that was one of the situations I remember being taught to not use "du."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaseyBahr

It always accepts the formal Sie in answers. I've gotten in the habit of almost always replacing "du" sentences with "Sie" because the latter is going to be really useful when I travel there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosiahSchm5

Why is "könnten Sie" not accepted? Isn't that the höflich form of "können Sie"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Isn't that the höflich form of "können Sie"?

It is indeed (amongst other things).

Why is "könnten Sie" not accepted?

Because the English sentence uses "can you", not "could you".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15

Es gibt "sloppiness" in English, as well. Some people really do say "could you" instead of "can you"; in neither case do they mean "are you able to." A big problem in English is the requirement of "helping" verbs for some of the simplest verb tenses - in both German and Spanish - and totally out of place when going from English into another language.

Favorites I love to hate: "Made the bed?" has to be "Did you make the bed?"

Or, my nomination for the Hall of Shame: "Did you use to make the bed?"

In almost every case, discussions I see on this forum actually fall back on the weakness of English to express simple concepts in other languages.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Some people really do say "could you" instead of "can you"; in neither case do they mean "are you able to."

I can't talk about any other language, but there's a pretty much analogous phenomenon in German:

Höflichkeitsgrad

So, the (almost) interchangeability between "can" and "could" is analogous to that between "können" and "könnten". However, what Duo's doing here (and what I agree with) is translating each term as directly as context allows—which in the context of this sentence means translating "can" to "können", and "können" alone (as long as we're only dealing with the formal you).

"Made the bed?"

"Bett gemacht?"

"Did you use to make the bed?"

Not an exact match, but AnnenMayKantereit have a song called Du bist anders, which has the line:

Du hörst mir nicht zu,

They recorded a Kölsch version of the song (in the dialect from their region—Köln/Cologne), and in that version of the song, the line is:

Du tust mir nicht zuhöre,

So, there are funky features in every language :P

In almost every case, discussions I see on this forum actually fall back on the weakness of English to express simple concepts in other languages.

I would go along with that as far as I think people try to 'impose' their native language on the language they're learning, and are then surprised to learn that languages often don't map that simply to each other.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15

"Du tust mir nicht zuhöre" - wow! An example of German using "do" the way we "do." I'm curious, though, shouldn't "zuhören" be in the infinitive?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I'm curious, though, shouldn't "zuhören" be in the infinitive?

I think you're missing the point slightly:

So, there are funky features in every language :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanGhosh3

Why 'mir' is taking the indirect object in this question? Is there any reference to the second part of the question?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

Because "mir" is the person the information is being told to, not what's actually being told. The direct object here is that clause, "wie ich zum Bahnhof komme," because that is what's actually being told.

Whenever you "tell somebody something," that "somebody" is going to be the indirect object and the "something" is the direct object.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sarah114666

why not wie man zum bahnhof kommt


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

The cheeky answer is that you haven't translated "Excuse me, can you tell me-".

However, assuming you translated the beginning correctly (which is often not the case), allow me to quote myself from earlier in this discussion:

Well, to quote Max.Em from earlier in this discussion:

Wie komme ich zu/nach ...? and Wie kommt man zu/nach ...? are both standard phrases in German to ask for directions
...
The difference is merely a matter of style - with "ich" it is personal and direct, with "man" it's impersonal and a bit reserved.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PotatoJunior

Why mir not mich I thought that sagen is a verb that needs an object, so why isn't it "können Sie mir es sagen"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

The direct object is that whole clause "wie ich zum Bahnhof komme." "Mir" is the indirect object, who you're saying it to rather than what you're actually saying, so it goes in the dative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katie873151

I just got this sentence and all the words were already put in order. I had nothing to do but submit. This is the second time this has happened to me. Why is this. It doesnt help me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wlugo1

Its really annoying when you translate something different and left us confused


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hussain820677

I need more like this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrianH.11

I said, "Entschuldigung, kannst du mir sagen, wie man zum Bahnhof gehen kann?" Why isn't this correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Please read through the comments before asking a question in future, as this issue has been addressed on multiple occasions:

RafiShapir
why is it "komme" and not "gehe" or "gehen"?

Max.Em It's how it is. The German sentence works more like "how do I arrive at ...." or "how do I come to". Also in English it's not "how do I go to .....".


violinda41
"how to get to the train station?" You are asking for the word komme, which means "come." It seems that to "get to" the station implies going or "gehen," and not komme.

Max.Em
It's a fixed expression in German. Don't try to translate it word by word. It's even not so far from English if you think about "to get sth.", which means "etwas bekommen" in German, but for "to get somewhere" we use "irgendwohin kommen" without "be-".


If you happened to have read the comments before posting your question and were not satisfied, I would recommend in future either replying within the relevant threads for further clarification or asking a more specific question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrianH.11

I did look through the comments, but I didn't see that particular answer. Have you ever overlooked something? That seems particularly forgivable in such a long thread as this one. There are often a lot of comments to look through (with the answer you quoted being a long ways down the thread), and I have other things to do with my time than to scour each comment in detail hoping to find my exact answer. If you don't want to answer the question, then ignore it and let someone else answer it . . . or not. My understanding of the Duolingo forums was that they are a place where someone should feel free to ask questions without the fear of having someone snap at them for daring to ask a question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

I’m sorry you feel I snapped at you—that certainly wasn’t my intention. Whenever I write these kinds of comments I always try to use neutral and understanding language (for example, I always start with the word “please”, and used the expression “on multiple occasions” here, instead of unnecessarily choosing some elaborate form of hyperbole). And here I even added the caveat at the end of my reply, for the case that you had read through the comments but not found a satisfying answer. I will also always quote the answer/s I believe deal/s best with the question at hand, so that the questioner still receives the answer they were looking for, whilst being (hopefully gently and politely) reminded that the answer was in the comments waiting for them before they took to the keyboard.

You may ask why I make the request at all. It’s a legitimate question. If I’m going to copy and paste the answer the questioner is looking for anyway, why not just leave it at that?

Well, if you’ll allow me to quote parts of your answer, hopefully that will become clear shortly:

And just a quick aside—in case you’re worried I’m ignoring your question—yes, I overlook things all the time. Just yesterday in a bar I asked “Kann ich mit Geld bezahlen?” (Can I pay with money?) before slapping my forehead and wishing the ground would swallow me up. Forget overlooking a comment or two, try overlooking the obvious!

I did look through the comments, but I didn't see that particular answer. [...] in such a long thread as this one. There are often a lot of comments to look through (with the answer you quoted being a long ways down the thread), and I have other things to do with my time than to scour each comment in detail hoping to find my exact answer.

You see, forums like this one become unkempt in the first place in part because some people don’t make any effort at all to read through the comments (obviously that isn’t the case with here), and my comments (like the one above) are an attempt to stem the flow somewhat.

In fact, here’s one such reply I gave around ten months ago:

I know it can be time-consuming going through threads filled with comments looking to see if your question has already been asked and/or answered, but just posting your question without checking only adds to the confusion :/

So, what do I do when I’m looking for a specific comment in a see of tens, sometimes going into the hundreds?

That depends on my device.
On my laptop it’s pretty straightforward; Ctrl + F brings up the in-page search function, and as soon as I type in geh it takes me straight to RafiShapir’s comment (the ninth of the eighty-nine, and the fourth thread, sorted by top post at time of writing), directly followed by Max.Em’s (no. 10 of 89; with the second set of comments I quoted even further down—if I remember correctly no. 29 & 30 respectively, and in the eleventh thread).

On my Android smartphone, it’s still not rocket science. First, I’ll tap the three vertically aligned dots in the upper right corner (circled in red) to open the list of settings:

Settings button in Chrome on Android

Then tap on the option Find in page (equally highlighted within a red oval):

Find in page in Chrome on Android

Then type in whatever keyword I’m looking for using the touch-screen keyboard:

Search function in Chrome on Android

Anyway, thank you very much for your reply; I’ll try to work on my tone in future—and I hope your question was sufficiently answered :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Candace477729

I perfected the entire sentence but used "kannst du" instead of "konnen Sie." Why is it wrong? I'd really appreciate an answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

It's hard to say without you quoting your entire answer. There's nothing wrong with "kannst du," so perhaps you had a subtle typo or error somewhere that you didn't notice.

There are a number of possible correct answers, and not all are compatible with "kannst du" (for instance, if you used "Entschuldigen Sie" and then "kannst du," that would not make sense), so without your entire answer I'm afraid I can only make guesses.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Candace477729

I checked the entire rest of the sentence and it was exact. I'm thinking they just wanted you to assume you're asking a stranger in a suit rather than some adolescent, where you can say "du." I really think it should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Copernicus-

Like I said, there are a number of correct answers, so I don't know which of them yours matched. I believe there are answers with "du" that are accepted, but I still can't help much unless you quote your entire answer or, even better, post a screenshot of it being rejected.

I don't expect that you've taken a screenshot this time, but next time you have an issue like this it would be most helpful if you took one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Candace477729

Thanks. I'll try that next time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Candace477729

In fact, I may see the same sentence. I'll do it again!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David634390

Okay, so, ignoring the word for "sorry" now being used for "excuse me," I also see an extra comma in the German translation, which usually indicates a new coordinating (as opposed to subordinating) clause, and so now the first clause ("can you tell me") has its second verb ("tell") at the end, and the final clause now has only one verb ("get") which is therefore conjugated normally rather than as an infinite, even though it's at the end of the full sentence. This means an unspoken rule about when to insert a comma (Duolingo never teaches punctuation, so that is RIGHT OUT) as well as a new but perhaps potentially eventually spoken rule about how things are only pushed to the end of a clause, not necessarily the whole sentence - which simply doesn't come up frequently (almost never, to be honest) due to most of these sentences being short and simple.

Right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David634390

Oh! And, of course, it seems that in English we may "get" to where we're going, but in German we "come" to where we're going. Is there a more direct translation for "get"? I initially tried "gehen," but I don't know whether that part was wrong too or if I merely bungled the word order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Is there a more direct translation for "get"?

Which get?
Under the OED's entry linked above, the verb "to get" has eight separate definitions, most with about as many sub-definitions; so looking for a German verb that matches all or even most of those is task I wouldn't expect to end successfully.

The best verb to use here is the one Duo recommends—"kommen". There are other verbs that could also be used here, but—as I've said—looking for a 'more direct translation for "get"' here is a futile search.

I initially tried "gehen," but I don't know whether that part was wrong too or if I merely bungled the word order.

If you look through the comments in this forum you'll see you're by no means the first to try using "gehen" here, and you'll also see that that part is indeed wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Sorry, I followed about the first half of that and you seemed pretty much on point; but once you moved onto spoken and unspoken comma rules you lost me.

What is it you're looking for clarification on?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sandra640427

Why dosen't "erzählen" work for this sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamKean

Because you primarily "erzählen" a story; so something that can be conveyed with "Take a left, go straight and it's on your right." doesn't really fall under the category of "erzählen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/madhuripal3

What is wrong in it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JSavageIII

Looks like it's ctrl-c, ctrl-v for me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15

Copy and paste, I presume. "Command-c" and "command-v" for Apple users.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChipD8

I think that "gehen" is correct. I agree with "RafiShapir".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15

Having lived in Germany many years ago, it's "kommen." As in, "How do I arrive at the station?"

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