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  5. "Hans is Karl's brother."

"Hans is Karl's brother."

Translation:Hans ist der Bruder von Karl.

May 6, 2018



Why is there a need for the word "der" ?


You can say

  • Hans ist der Bruder von Karl. or
  • Hans ist Karls Bruder.

Hans ist Bruder von Karl is wrong (Hans is brother of Karl....).


= "Hans is the brother of Karl."


But why "the"? I'd say "Hans is a brother of Karl" (if I avoided saying "Hans is Karl's brother" for some reason) , not "the brother". Or do you have to use a definite article here in German?


In German you have to use the article or the genitive, like I stated above. Also in English it sounds incomplete to me without any article, but I'm not a native speaker. Opinions?


My point was that I think "Hans ist ein Bruder von Karl" should also be correct, what do you think about it?


Ah, sorry, I just missed the "a". I'm not sure about that. "Hans ist Karls Bruder" (just like "Hans is Karl's brother") makes me think that Karl has only one brother, while "ein Bruder" would be only one of several brothers.

Apart from that, "Hans ist ein Bruder von Karl" is a correct German sentence.


Yes, it is absolutely correct.


Worked for me. 07-02-2021


I understand why DER goes there, but why VON. Why not VOM or VOR.

I just imagine myself sitting on a chair near a fireplace saying this sentence calmly only to loudly scream DER! or VOR! mid sentence.


vom is a contraction of von dem, i.e. "of the".

In standard German, we don't use the definite article with names or people -- we don't talk about "the Karl". (You may hear the definite article in informal language or in dialects, though, as in Der Hans ist der Bruder vom Karl. But that's not accepted on this course.)

vor is a preposition meaning "before" or "in front of". It's not a contraction of von der, in case you though that -- von der does not have a contraction in standard German. (In my colloquial speech, it does have one, but that's vonner, not vor.)

So it's just "the brother of Karl" der Bruder von Karl, not "the brother of the Karl" or "the brother in front of Karl".


Absolutely correct. No idea why this was down-voted....


So von = from and of?


Yes. Der König von Spanien = The King of Spain, for example ....

... while "the king from Spain" would be "der König aus Spanien".


Is genitive possible? As in "Hans ist der Bruder des Karles"


Is genitive possible?

Yes - Hans ist Karls Bruder is also possible.

As in "Hans ist der Bruder des Karles"

No. We don't use the the definite article with people's names in standard German (though that's common in some dialects and also colloquially in some regions) -- muhc like how we don't talk about "the Karl" in English. So des Karls "of the Karl" is wrong.

der Bruder Karls would be theoretically possible, but in practice, people would say Karls Bruder instead.


I wrote "Hans ist der Bruder des Karls." Why is it wrong?


Hans ist der Bruder Karls. Oder Karls Bruder. Bitte hilfe!


Beides ist richtig. Hans ist Karls Bruder/Hans ist der Bruder Karls. Aber "der Bruder Karls" ist keine Umgangssprache, sondern passt eher in ein Geschichtsbuch.


Why is this sentence in a dative lesson? Is von karl the dative part here? If so what is there to learn? There's no change cause it's a name...


Why is it not "Hans ist den Bruder von Karl"? Isn't the brother in the accusative?


After 'ist', the noun should be in nominative, not accusative.


Yes, I'm asking why.


sein (to be) is not a transitive verb that takes a direct object in the accusative case.

(Which is also why you can't turn it into the passive voice: "Karl's brother is been by Hans"(???).)

Instead, "to be" is a copula or linking verb that links a subject to a predicate that says something about the subject.

Such predicates are in the nominative case in German.

Same with werden (to become), e.g. er ist ein guter Vater geworden "he has become a good father".


Is this why "The basic order of direct and indirect objects is "accusative pronoun - dative pronoun - dative noun - accusative noun" doesn't work here? because I was thinking "Hans ist von Karl der Bruder" might be the correct answer!


Right, it's because there are no direct or indirect objects here. "Der Bruder" is nominative, and prepositional phrases like "von Karl" are not direct or indirect objects.


der Bruder von Karl is one noun phrase -- not two separate ones.

Also, "dative noun" and "accusative noun" work in that order when you're referring to indirect and direct objects of a verb.

Karl is not an object of the verb; it's part of a prepositional phrase headed by von. The fact that von requires the dative case is irrelevant for the positioning in the sentence.


'Hans is the brother of Karl' Are you sure the answer (Hans is Karl's brother) is correct??


Yes, because "Hans is the brother of Karl", while a direct translation of the German, is not fluent English. It's not grammatically incorrect, it's just not in any way colloquial.


I am happy that I got it right fully understanding what I am doing after 5 years in the course. July 4, 20


Well, great. Something to aspire to! Haha.


why is "Hans ist Karls Bruder" marked as wrong?


why is "Hans ist Karls Bruder" marked as wrong?

Hans ist Karls Bruder. is one of the accepted translations. Perhaps you made a small mistake somewhere? Can you show us a screenshot of your rejected answer, please, by uploading it to a website somewhere and telling us the URL?


I've been told that the Genitive case is fading away in modern German. Would you not expect to hear "Hans ist Karls Bruder" in casual conversation?


Would you not expect to hear "Hans ist Karls Bruder" in casual conversation?

Could go either way; I wouldn't be surprised to hear it like that.

As with English, it's more likely to use it with people (we say "the roof of the house" with inanimate house but "my brother's name" with animate "my brother", rather than "the name of my brother").

What definitely sounds extremely old-fashioned is using the genitive of a noun before another noun, e.g. Sie ist meines Vaters Schwester for "She is my father's sister" -- I would expect Sie ist die Schwester meines Vaters or Sie ist die Schwester von meinem Vater.


Thanks as always for your enlightening input.

One of the things I love about learning another language is the perspective you get on your native tongue. I had never noticed that animate/inanimate difference with regard to the English possessive. Ha.


Why my answer “der Bruder des Karl” using Genitiv is wrong??


You used the definite article des before Karl -- we don't use the definite article before names in standard German. (Though a number of dialects do that.)

So you would write Karl sieht Julia and not der Karl sieht die Julia, and you wouldn't write des Karl.

If you want to use the genitive, the usual order is Karls Bruder, not der Bruder Karls.

(And note the -s here, which appears not only on male names but also female names, e.g. Julias Bruder; der Bruder Julias.)

Karls Bruder is accepted here; the less common der Bruder Karls is not.

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