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  5. "Er fliegt auf einem Schmette…

"Er fliegt auf einem Schmetterling."

Translation:He is flying on a butterfly.

May 5, 2018

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vc120

I sometimes wonder what the creators of these sentences were on.


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

Schmetterling is the type of a German military plane, if that helps.


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

If here Schmetterling means a type of military plane, then one would use "in einem Schmetterling fliegen" not "auf einem Schmetterling", unless of course someone is literally sitting on top of the plane while it operates.


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

LSD (S comes from Säure)


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

In German, “er” could refer to a non-person or inanimate antecedent noun that has masculine grammatical gender, in which case “er” should be translated to “it”. “It” should definitely be accepted and might make more sense here, unless “fliegt auf einem Schmetterling” is a standard expression.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

Tom Thumb. Thumbelina.


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

Shouldn't the accusative be used here as 'fliegt' shows movement?


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

Shouldn't the accusative be used here as 'fliegt' shows movement?

No, because after two-way prepositions such as auf, the accusative is not used simply because there is movement involved; rather, it indicates the destination of a movement that starts somewhere else and ends at the noun following the preposition.

Er fliegt auf auf einen Schmetterling would mean "He is flying onto a butterfly" (i.e. he starts somewhere, flies a bit, and lands on the butterfly).

But Er fliegt auf einem Schmetterling (with the dative case) means "He is flying on a butterfly", i.e. the flying takes place while he is on the butterfly. The butterfly is the location of the flying.


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

Thanks. For me the sentence meant that the person was flying on a butterfly (i.e. from one place to another). Looks like I misunderstood.


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

For me the sentence meant that the person was flying on a butterfly (i.e. from one place to another).

That's how I understood it as well.

He was on the butterfly all the time while the flying took place -- so the butterfly was not the destination of the flying. The dative is appropriate.


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

Frenchman: Un papillon ! Spaniard: ¿Una mariposa? Italian: Eh, la farfalla. German: Schmetterling!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/123Cornelia

Der Dichter Wang Tse lag auf einem Felsen und träumte er wäre ein Schmetterling... Plötzlich geschah etwas Unerwartetes... Jetzt wissen wir nicht ob Wang Tse träumte er wäre ein Schmetterling oder ob ein Schmetterling träumte er wäre Wang Tse ... !!!


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

Why is :"it flies on a butterfly not correct".? It is an animal and not a person!? I don't understand that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilipMars9

Is this some kind of idiom in German? Like, hijacking a respectable cause in order to promote your nastier cause or something?


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

Is this some kind of idiom in German?

No. It's just a silly sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

Or a reference to fairy tales.

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