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  5. "Ihr müsst das nicht essen."

"Ihr müsst das nicht essen."

Translation:You don't have to eat that.

April 21, 2018



While the given translation is idiomatic, I do think "You must not eat that" is definitely a correct translation. The given translation might confuse beginners into thinking one can use "müssen" for "brauchen" or "benötigen"


Careful! You must not eat that. = Ihr dürft das nicht essen.


Would not "Ihr dürft das nicht essen" be more closely translated as "You may not eat that"?


That works, too.

It is important to remember that English must not expresses a strong necessity NOT to do something, i.e. a prohibition.

German nicht müssen, on the other hand, is an advice that on does not need to do something.

Hence, one needs to translate must not by a German verb which in its negative corresponds to a prohibition, and that is nicht dürfen.


... Add German modal verbs to the list of things I will never properly learn or understand.


I guess "you must not eat that" is not accepted, i need to review


In English, there is a twisty-turn™ with "must" that does not apply to "müssen": The negation of "must" (required) isn't really "must not" (forbidden) but rather "need not" (not required). German does not have this complication: The negation of "müssen" ("müssen nicht") is indeed "need not" rather than "must not" ("durfen nicht").


You must eat that = you have to eat that (obligation to eat)

You must not eat that = you have to not eat (obligation to not eat)

Seems logical enough for me. You have an obligation, either 'positive' (to eat) or 'negative' (to not eat).

Ich muss das essen = I have to eat that (obligation to eat)

Ich muss das nicht essen = I have no need ("must") to eat that (lack of obligation to eat)

So German has to complement müssen with dürfen ("may, be allowed to"):

Ich darf das nicht essen = I may not eat that (I am FORBIDDEN from eating [by someone/something])

Sure, it works, but let's not pretend German is somehow the more 'obviously logical' one, having to use another verb with a different meaning to more-or-less effect a "good enough" solution.

Not that any of the modal verb systems of Germanic languages particularly exude 'logic' and it all only gets worse when you look up etymologies; English "may" usually deals with either possibility or permission (not that directly related concepts), deriving from Proto-Germanic magana, denoting ability (the adjective "mighty" 'betrays' this original meaning), whence also derives German mögen, which usually indicates wants and likes! (Eg. "Ich mag Tiere" = I like* animals)


No. You must eat that = you have to eat that, so the opposite is you DON'T have to eat that. You have an obligation to eat that OR you DON'T have an obligation to eat that.

If I say that you have to buy shoes, the opposite isn't "you have to buy something that is not shoes." It's "you don't have to buy shoes."

You are negating the wrong part of the sentence to try to justify something illogical in English, but if you do that, then you'd have to do it with everything else. But if it works in that case only, it's not the rule.


I'm guessing "You all don't have to eat that." should be accepted?


why "you don't have to eat this." not correct?


I have the same question. Can someone explain why “this” isn’t correct ?


"you do not have to eat it" not accepted, isn't it proper English?


The English is fine, but in German that would be "Ihr müsst es nicht essen"


what about "You need not eat this" or "You do not need eat this"


So it's actually need not must.
"You need not eat that."

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