1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Wir laufen mit drei verschie…

"Wir laufen mit drei verschiedenen Katzen."

Translation:We run with three different cats.

March 23, 2013



the adjective VERSCHIEDENEN is in dative, I suggest?


Yes. Dative, plural. "Mit" requires the dative case.


What is a dative case question doing in Accusative section?

Scared me for a second there.


?We run with three various cats" is marked as wrong too :(


It just doesn't sound like good English. I can't think of a case where you might use "various" with a number. For example, you could say, "I have had various cats over the years" and "I have had different cats" or even "I have had many different cats" or "six different cats" and those would all work, but "I have had many various cats" or "I have had six various cats" wouldn't work.

On the other hand, running with cats is difficult!


One can say, "I've had six various cats over the years with different personalities". You might be able to make a style argument against your "...had many various", but neither sentence you cite as an example that "wouldn't work" is grammatically incorrect.

I think your confusion comes from your belief that the sentence is redundant. Remember that "various" isn't just an indicator of a number greater than one - it also means variety. And can most certainly refer to variety within a stated quantity.


The only way that makes sense in English is if you separate the adjective away from the first clause: if you said "I've had six different cats over the years with various different personalities". It makes sense because "various" becomes attached to a new unknown number (the number of personalities, not the number of cats).


One can say "I've had 6 various cats." Nothing wrong with that at all.


No way! You can't put a number in front of various. That would mean the cats are various in and of themselves. Various implies plurality, and if you put it after three, it makes it sound like each cat is various. You could never say in English "I have a various cat". You could say "I have a different cat", and you could say "I have three different cats" (each cat is different).


Native british english speaker here. You simply can't say "6 various cats". Not sure if I could say why not, but i think it's because "various" conveys an approximate quantity, perhaps between 4 and 40 --- as well as the idea that they aren't all the same.

So I think you can't say 6 various cats for the same reason that you can't say 6 some cats.

I'm not perfectly sure of why "6 various" doesn't work.

I'm perfectly sure it doesn't work.


I hear what polomare is saying. Various could relate to the type of cat. Therefore you have had 6 cats of various pedigree/type. I don't think that is bad English and something that could easily be used in everyday conversation here.


Sounds completely wrong to me but I'm British not American. "6 varying cats" would be fine if that's what you're thinking of.


"various" can be either an adjective or a determiner. When used as a determiner you cannot combine it with "six" as then you would have two determiners which is not grammatically correct, and this is why it sounds wrong. However if you were using it as an adjective then you can say "six various" but that is not normally said and sounds wrong because of confusion with the two determiners combination described above. It is therefore avoided by most of us for that reason I suspect.


Are you a native English speaker? It might depend on where you come from, but I've never heard it used that way and I can't find any evidence of it being that way. Here is a site I've found which states many uses of the word "various":



LOL, the link you posted gives multiple examples just like mine. I'm not sure what your point of contention is.


"Various" is irrefutably a synonym of "different". Saying "I have had six various cats." is equal to saying "I have had six different cats." Sorry, guys, but this is absolutely acceptable speech.


Just because something is a synonym, doesn't mean you can use it the same way, e.g. "consists of" and "comprises". I've never seen this in an official text anywhere - I'll pay it if you can give me an example :)


I have to agree here; to say 'I have 6 various cats' doesn't sound right at all. Just being a synonym doesn't mean that it can be used in exactly the same way.


It should accept that, in my opinion.


Native english speaker here: "various" conveys the idea of a number (perhaps 4 - 40) and that clashes with "6". I think that's why it doesn't work.

I'm certain it doesn't work though, and it shouldn't be accepted.


I have to disagree with your statement that various conveys the idea of a number. Various conveys the idea of several types, not a number. E.g., if you eat chicken nightly for dinner, you eat many chicken dinners, but not necessarily various chicken dinners; if you have rotisserie chicken Monday night, chicken cacciatore Wednesday, and chicken fingers Friday, then you have various chicken dinners.


I hope they are really gone hep cats, man... Three is all you need for some good jazz. Did Germans ever speak Beatnik?


No, but they did speak Dada. :-)


I was trying to figure out in what sort of scenario this sentence would make sense. I think you nailed it.


Is this a German phrase that means something or is this just a random sentence?


What, you don't regularly go running with three different cats? How strange. :)


I wonder if it's about regular running with the same three different cats, or every day with three completely different cats than before :)


Don't quite get what "same three different" means. Not that it matters.


Same three would mean I have, say, a lion, a tiger and a leopard, and i run with them on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, basically every day. Or maybe Monday I'm running with those three, Tuesday with a cheetah, a jaguar, and a puma, Wednesday with another three, etc.


I'm too busy shooting fish in barrels, not as easy as they say


"We go with three different cats." was marked wrong, why?


But would that not be Wir gehen...?


It could be... but Duolingo has said in the past that laufen can mean "go"...


I'm dating a native German and he's using 'laufen' for 'go' very often. For running he use laufen or rennen


Put we are going with three different cats, thought much the same.


What a strange thing to say.

[deactivated user]

    I thought it was rather trippy.


    If you're running with three cats, don't they have to be different? I mean, how can you run with three of the same cat? If the question implies three different cat breeds, it should say so. I would just say we are running with three cats, period.


    But the sentence tells you not only are they different but they are different in a particular way.

    Verschieden = draws attention to them being different from each other.

    anderes = draws attention to the cats in question differing from other cats. (especially since it seems they run as a group with a human)

    This example's use of verschieden alerts you to the fact that the significant thing is that the cats are different from each other.


    I mean, if they were hungry and the human was going to the cat food dishes to fill them up, they would be running with the person.


    My thoughts exactly! I often wonder why the Duo team must throw in so many odd-ball sentences which often make no sense at all, when there are so many, many sentences that do make sense. If it's a "fun thing", I'd rather do other things for fun; speaking for myself, the vagaries introduced by these sentences generally cause annoyance and frustration.


    I disagree completely: I think the whimsical sentences are great, and give a lighter flavour to what could otherwise be very dry language drills. And the oddness, I think, helps to prepare us for unexpected contexts without requiring a ton of new vocabulary. So as long as they are grammatically correct, I welcome them.

    • 1791

    No doubt during the famed Running of the Cats in Katzenbach.


    There have been some pretty nasty incidents during those festivities. Spiders trampled, mice mauled and even some birds horribly attacked. Some spectacular human failures at herding them. And always some fool wearing catnip standing in the middle of the stampede with the inevitable result.

    Lots of local discussion of which cat is the prettiest. Which actually makes more sense to me than speculating about which cow is the prettiest which Duo has indicated in past lessons is something German language students should learn to do.


    I have a confusion somehow. If numbers come before the adjective like in this sentence, they should be treated as weak inflection " der, das , ... " or mixed inflection " ein, eine ,... " ???


    No, strong inflection. Just remember you cannot inflect the number so you should inflect the adjective.


    Und sie läuft nur mit einer Katze. And she runs with only one cat. Right? Anybody want to correct me, please?


    Yep that's right


    Thank you! :-)


    i think than in other forum stayed clear that laufen means to walk and not to run, but i see it depend on what?


    Why was "we walk with three various cats marked wrong?"


    Could this sentence be slang like it would be in English? Or would you guess it to only be taken literally?


    How is "we run with three different cats" slang in English? 24 years in and I've never heard it before.



    It's not very common, but it's similar to calling a close friend "my dawg".


    Oh, duh, I should have got that. I was confused because I thought you meant that the sentence as a whole was an idiom. Couldn't see the trees for the forest I guess :P

    [deactivated user]

      That sounds more like 70's blaxploitation slang to me. I doubt the Germans ever picked up on that.


      What's the difference between "verschiedenen" and "anderes"?


      "andere(s)" means "other", as in, "Sometimes I run with this cat, sometimes with the other cat". "Verschidenen" means different, "I run with three different cats".


      Could it not also mean "We are going with three different cats."? As in, "Wir wollten nur eine Katze bekommen. Aber laufen wir mit drei verschiedenen Katzen."

      Can laufen (mit)=to go (with) when it comes to moving forward with a decision/event? Kind of like businesses go forward with a decision, i.e. "Wir laufen mit Option 3.


      "We are running with six cats, all of them different" is both clear and correct. You can't say "three different cats" or "three various/varying cats."


      Ich kann nicht mit einmal einer Katze laufen...


      What is the difference between unterschiedliche and verschiedene?


      It would be difficult to run with three of the same cats. I get that they are trying to teach adjective endings, but this section is full of sentences that no one would ever say.


      We go with three various cats. Why not?


      None of my cats would ever have coopetated with me in this way. I guess Duolingo knows some very special cats.


      The thing here is ...how can anyone manage to be running with three cats!!


      If the cats have different characteristics one to another then 'assorted cats' would be better than 'dfferent cats'.


      Is there a reason why "We walk with three various cats" is wrong in this sentence? In the past examples using various was fine but with this one it marks it as wrong.


      I expect you've already got an answer to this, but just in case; you can't really use 'various' with a number, it just doesn't sound right. 'I have various cats' is fine, or 'I have three different cats', but 'three various cats' just doesn't fit. Perhaps it's because 'various' implies that you are not sure how many there are, so 'various' with a number is a contradiction.


      Please see the discussion on this topic higher up in the thread. "Various" is irrefutably a synonym of "different". Saying "I have had six various cats." is equal to saying "I have had six different cats." Discomfort or unfamiliarity with the phrasing does not equal incorrect English. To answer antspants' question, the phrasing is fine.


      Yes, do indeed see the discussion higher up. But I have to disagree that the two are equal; although the two words are synonyms, their usage tends to differ.

      I think the problem is this. In a dictionary, 'various' can probably be defined as 'different', making the phrase, technically, correct. Possibly the definition is outdated.

      But the fact is that in common usage, 'various' would never used in this context. If something is 'various', there is an unspecified number of different items, so to say 'three various' is a contradiction; you are specifying a number, while suggesting that the number is unspecified. I am certain that almost any native English speaker would correct you if you used the phrase 'I have six various cats'.

      Again, I expect that if you spent some time with a dictionary and a thesaurus, you could arrive at the phrase 'I have six various cats', but there is more to language than dictionary definitions.


      "But the fact is that in common usage, 'various' would never used in this context. "

      Incorrect. Any breeder of cats uses this phrasing commonly to describe their stock. Just check the classified advertising at the back of any cat fancier's magazine.

      The original question was asked by a non-native English speaker if the phrasing is grammatically incorrect. In the interest of not leading non-natives astray, the answer is no. Again, any objection to this usage is an individual discomfort issue due to lack of exposure to this phrasing, not incorrect usage.


      "Various" can be used with a number if it is referring to a category/kind/style/group, but not individual items/people. So yes, a cat breeder could have 3 various cat breeds, but a cat owner would have 3 different cats. Various applies more to KINDS of things, not things.


      It's the rare cat breeder that specializes in more than one breed. Cat breeders, horse breeders, greyhound breeders, alpaca breeders, hamster breeders, all have various breeding stock to choose from within their herds/kennels etc. Various in this context has nothing to do with the breeds or "groups" available. It can refer to conformation, bloodlines, coloring and disposition of INDIVIDUALS. Not groups of multiples.

      If a Thoroughbred farm has thirteen various stallions to choose from to breed your mare to, it has just that: 13 horses of the same kind. No saying they are different breeds.


      Do they? I find it unlikely, but I'm not in a position to check so maybe you are right. Where are you from? Possibly it is a regional thing.

      In any case, yes, technically, the phrase can be considered grammatically correct according to a dictionary. But in the interest of helping non-native English speakers sound as native as possible, I would say that it is wrong.


      Who goes running with cats anyway! ? I can't imagine when I'd ever need to say or understand this? ;-)


      hahaha good one :)))


      "Various" is wrong because it's not idiomatic in most Englishes. Idiom is often unanalyzable.

      I assert that "We run with three separate cats" is an idiomatic translation that has the same sense as the accepted answer, though. (It's not accepted.)

      This is not to say that I'd necessarily translate "We run with three separate cats" from English into German as the sample sentence, though.



      Impossible to run with three different cats!


      It is if they think you are a mouse.


      Why different and not various?


      Oh boy, don't go there. See the discussion above with myself and polomare.


      Nobody has yet supplied a good answer to this, with a link. If it's in such controversy in the English language, they should accept it. I already saw mistakes they made in translation from German to English - for example, they didn't accept a translation of a sentence that is common in the USA, and just thought of the British English translation, which I find ridiculous.


      It's not a controversy: Almost (see below) every native english speaker speaking a widespread english variant will agree that "various" is wrong here.

      The fact that it appears to be a controversy is because the english speakers, myself included, are having a hard time explaining why "different" is correct and "various" is not, and non-native speakers are suggesting, incorrectly, that "various" would be ok.

      Polomore is simply mistaken: Individuals make mistakes and insist they're correct. In this instance, the fact that he's been downvoted to the point where you can't see his comment is probably an indication of that.


      You can't use various because that is not what the example says.

      Verschieden = draws attention to them being different from each other.

      anderes = draws attention to the cats in question differing from other cats. (especially since it seems they run as a group with a human)

      Verschieden does not mean a loose collection of cats. It specifically means each cat is different from the other in some way.

      Various cats may or may not be different from each other and therefore is an incorrect translation.


      Various can actually mean "differing from one another". PONS and Dictcc both have "verschieden" as the first suggested translation for "various", followed by "mehrer" (the only sense which you seem to think "various" has) in the case of the latter.

      They're different in practice of course, you'd use them in different contexts - but it's incorrect to imply you can't translate verschieden to various.

      Not to say that "we're running with three various cats" doesn't sound strange to my ear - it's just not for that reason.


      So, huma’s argument is “safety in numbers” and “we can’t really explain it, but we know it is wrong.”

      Sigh. One need only consult any legitimate dictionary for the authoritative answer.

      How do you all feel about this: “I am running with an assortment of 6 cats.” Do you doubters accept that phrase? Or does it rub you the wrong way as well? Defend your answer.


      Polomore is native English speaker who lives in Florida and we should listen to what he has to say about that.


      Well, I'm a native speaker from Britain, it must be a dialect thing. You're probably right that they should accept it, if, as is apparently the case, it is accepted usage in some places. I must admit, it still sounds extremely strange to me, but hey. One of these days I will go to Florida and see if I can hear people using it.


      Ye-es, well as I say, I think you're right that Duolingo should accept it as correct, although I think you might be surprised how common British English actually is, certainly in Europe. I've taught in Austria, Germany, and France, and they were all learning (mostly) British English, (and even in one memorable case, Scottish English). There are such things as English actors after all, even in American movies.


      Well, this is not 1800 anymore, American English is well based in the world. As an Israeli, my English is way more American than British. I watch American movies. I read American newspapers. I don't have anything to do with the Kings' English. Duolingo can't just tell 300 million Americans that they can't speak English.


      What a stupid sentence


      Various and different mean the same thing


      Various means a group where individual members are different from each other.

      Different can mean that. It can also mean different from those outside the group.


      ...good thing you are not running with three of the same cats!

      Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.