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"Das ist alles, was ich über ihn weiß."

Translation:That is all I know about him.

March 24, 2013

61 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dror.Schafer

I REALLY don't understand this sentence and the word order in it. Can someone please help and explain it slowly...? Pretty please..?


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

The comma in German may confuse you. It is to indicate a subordinate clause ("was ich über ihn weiß."). The English sentence also has a subordinate(=dependent) clause ("that I know about him"), but it is not as heavily marked. Now, if you're a native English speaker, you've probably been making these clauses all your life without thinking about them. A dependent clause complements the main sentence and cannot stand on its own. So just like in English "that I know about him" cannot stand on its own, in German "was ich über ihn weiß" cannot be separate. In German, they happen to indicate this with a comma. In English putting a comma here would be incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hutcho66

Just to clarify, you can actually put a comma in there in English, especially if the clauses are long. And, if the subordinate phrase comes first, you must put a comma in. For example, "After playing with the dog, I wash my hands". However, this is also (very slowly) going out of fashion, unfortunately "After playing with the dog I wash my hands" is becoming accepted.


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

What I've noticed on Duolingo is that when the subordinate clause comes second, there is a comma placed in front of it, whereas in English this occurs when the subordinate clause comes first. Is this correct? Would a comma in German never be placed if the subordinate clause comes first?


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

is that why the verb Weiss was moved to the end?


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

Yes, the verb always comes at the end of a subordinate clause.


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

Can "was" be replaced with "dass" here?


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

Why is ihn written in the accusative here?


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

über makes it ihn. Since it's discussing what is known about (über him) it is put in the accusative.


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

To me it seems like it should be dative


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

i've seen somewhere dative is usually with time, manner or place, which usually are the indirect objects of a sentence, so i think accusative really does fit best i'm no expert though


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuisCasseres96

Read the new tips and notes, that will clarify your doubt:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/InPxgX6K

For the same reason it takes the accusative in English too.

You say “all I know about him” (acc.), not “all I know about he” (nom.) or “all I know about his” (dat.)


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

Difference between was and dass in this sentence? Thank you :)


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

Why is the 'was' necessary here? If it's to be roughly equal to the english 'that', shouldn't 'dass' be used?


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

Why is the word "was" needed?


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

You can't leave that out in German the way that we can leave "that" out English. That said, I learnt to use "das" nstead of "was" here, so apparently some variation is possible.


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

Ah, okay, so I see what the structure has to be in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will709432

I get that it is inverted due to clause... 'that is all, what I about him know' ... "That's all I know about him".

But why 'was' instead of 'dass'?

Is was here just an alternative?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathyr19355

What is the role of the word "weiß" in this sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2324

@cathyr19355 : It stands for the English word "know".


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

What is the difference between "weiß" and "kenne"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2324

@AHolik : kennen should be used when we want to express that we are familiar with a person or a place. wissen should be used when we want to express a fact, something that we have knowledge about.

Sources: http://www.livinglanguage.com/blog/2012/07/02/wissen-vs-kennen-to-know-in-german/
http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang16.htm


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

so "...I know (some fact)..." is always translated "...Ich weiß...?" It's never ich weiße?

Is wissen just an irregular verb or is this another annoying grammatical instance?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slug-lord

Its irregular. It comes at the end because a subordinate clause moves the conjugated verb to the end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2324

Yes. Yes.
I don't know what to say regarding your third question.
2014.09.18


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuisCasseres96

Bro, I have a doubt. Why is the verb ''weißen'' conjugated as ''weiß'' instead of ''weiße'' in the sentence... The conjugator says in the present tense for Ich it is ''Ich weiße'' I really appreciate your help


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

"Weißen" is a different word, meaning "to whiten". Type "wissen" into your verb conjugator.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuisCasseres96

Thank you very much. Es ist klar jetzt


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

i made this question right way ... but i don't understand why ver "weiß" is in the last word . why they don't say : was ich weiß über ihn ? can someone tell me ?


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

I believe subordinate clauses must always end with the verb.


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

'to know' is to turn on a lamp,

the shift to white(enlightenment) against black(darkness)

What a beautiful language the German has


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

I just simply don't understand why is not good the That is ...., what..... Is it good to use in english That ...., that .....?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antonella21

While in German it seems that is the way you can construct sentences like the one in the example, in English you cannot do the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moore.scott24

In many languages complex sentences are formed as a statement followed by a question. "I know that, what she said is true" This sounds awkward in English because we almost always omit one of the words. "I know what she said is true".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slug-lord

'I know what she said is true'. This particular example isn't that awkward really. The comma is weird tho because a pause is unnecessary.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JefeBezos3

Great discussion


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3_toed_sloth

Please could someone help me understand when to you 'was' and when to use 'dass'? I can't see a reason why one is used over the other in different sentences. Thank you!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariana813975

Why is the sentence in acussative.?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnneMaxwel4

Could das,(not dass), be used instead of was?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

I would never say that, although I’m uncertain if it’s explicitly forbidden by textbook grammar. In any case, there are certain words after which you should use was if you add a relative clause to them, and alles is one of these. See this page on relative clauses for more information.


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

We saw a similar sentence in Questions, where worrüber was used instead of was... über. Is this change optional?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

It’s basically the same idea as with normal (non-indirect) questions. Instead of “preposition + was” you say ”wo(r)- + preposition” (at least in theory; in practice simple “prep. + was” is sometimes heard colloquially, but it can sound a little clumsy). So if the thing after the preposition is the one you’re inquiring about (and it’s not a person, since then you would use wer instead of was/wo(r)-+prep). But in this case the question is not “about what I know” something, it’s “what I know about him”. Does that make sense?


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

is it also right to say:" DAS IST ALLES,WAS ICH WEIS UBER IHN"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moore.scott24

No. The verb needs to go at the end of the sentence. http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa032700a.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sVz199Aa

Could anyone kindly explain why accusative case is used here?


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

What's the meaning of "weiß" in this sentence?


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

Will it be right "Das ist alles ich kenne uber ihn" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

I’m afraid not, and for multiple reasons:

  1. German doesn’t allow you to leave out the relative pronoun like English does sometimes. So you absolutely do need was.
  2. What I know about him is a collection of facts, not a thing you can be familiar with. Therefore you need wissen instead of kennen.
  3. Relative clauses are subordinate clauses, so their verb always has to come at the end: was ich über ihn weiß (not *was ich weiß über ihn).
  4. It’s über, not uber. Do not ignore umlauts; they are different letters than the forms without the dot and replacing them with the base form can often result in a different word (though in this case you’d be lucky and it wouldn’t). If you’re on one of your own devices, install a keyboard layout which allows you to type them (don’t worry; you can switch back to English at the press of a button). And if you’re in an environment where you don’t have that choice, use the base letter + e (ae, oe, ue instead of ä, ö, ü). That’s what we do in environments where we can’t use non-ASCII letters. But you should only do that when there is no other choice because there are also words (particularly names like the city of Oldesloe) which are spelt with a vowel + e to begin with.

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

Why not use "dass" instead of "was"? Wouldn't it make more sense to use 'that' as a conjunction here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

Dass doesn’t make sense here. It means “(the fact) that”, for example: “Ich weiß, dass er kommt” (I know (the fact) that he will come). It is not a relative pronoun and cannot refer back to a word in the main clause (in this case alles).


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

It is unclear why akkusativ is used here. There is no directional movement. In the discussion it has not been cleared up either. Can someone help please?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan242221

I think it falls under the category of idiomatic phrases. Maybe this will help:

https://www.vistawide.com/german/grammar/german_verb_prep_idioms.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

Unfortunately the position/direction distinction for prepositions only helps you to identify the case when we’re talking about literal position/directions (or at least metaphors which use the image of a position/direction). Other usages unfortunately have to be just memorised (this is the case in other languages, too, e.g. in Russian в “in” normally uses accusative for direction and prepositional for position, but when used with time nouns it’s always accusative: в пятницу “on Friday”).

For über, when it’s used to mark a topic of discussion/dispute etc (equivalent to English “about”), the noun always has to be in accusative case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WileyHolli2

Über is a two-way preposition; if the verb shows movement toward a destination or change in condition, it calls for the accusative. Otherwise, it calls for the dative. Surely ihn should be ihm?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 438

I’m afraid the two-way dative=position, accusative=direction thing only helps you with literally spacial usages. For other meanings the way the space metaphor works is not very obvious so you still have to memorise that. The metaphorical image with the “about” meaning of über is movement “across”, that’s why it uses accusative case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G0108

My keyboard messed up and when I went to click the m in him, it didn't register but I clicked the enter without knowing. I got the question wrong because of that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Benjamen89

Did you ring the police to report this serious miscarriage of justice?

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