"Er fliegt auf einem Schmetterling."

Translation:He is flying on a butterfly.

May 5, 2018

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


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


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.


LSD (S comes from Säure)


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

[deactivated user]

    Tom Thumb. Thumbelina.


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


    Why is "he is flying on top of a butterfly" wrong? It was even given on the hints.


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


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


    Is this some kind of idiom in German?

    No. It's just a silly sentence.

    [deactivated user]

      Or a reference to fairy tales.


      I thought for sure this would be a funny German idiom for saying someone is a little cuckoo. Like how we say in America "his cheese has slid off his cracker" or "his elevator doesn't go all the way to the top."


      That would be er hat nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank "he doesn't have all of his cups in his cupboard any more".

      And for someone who is slow to understand new things, I've heard bei ihm fällt der Groschen pfennigweise "the dime drops one cent at a time", from the saying der Groschen ist gefallen "the dime has dropped" for "I have understood something".

      (Pfennig was 1/100th of the German mark, used before we got the euro, and Groschen was an informal name for a 10-Pf coin.)


      Those are terrific. I love learning these colloquialisms from cultures around the globe.


      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 ... !!!

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