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Deutsch: simple sentence construction and how to do it?

There are a few ways of forming the same sentence and giving the same meaning. Correct spelling is obviously important. But because i tend to form my sentences in rather haphazard ways i find that finding how to say it in German is difficult for me. I know there are essentially only a few correct ways of making yourself understood, and you have to learn those ways, and this problem [of knowing how to say something and be understood] is one i’ll have to get over by myself.

Now, an example of how hard i find it, and please excuse the construction of the sentence, i will know better one day. ‘He reads ‘it’ [meaning] ‘German’ but does not write it’. Now, if i were to translate it with my current knowledge i would say something like ‘Er liest es aber er schreibe[n] es nicht.

That is probably completely wrong, but just goes to show my problem, if you’ve never written much in German before, like me. So, can anyone help me write this German sentence in a better way, and even suggest ‘in English’ and ‘in German’ [in your reply] better ways of sentence construction. Perhaps even adding something like ‘He reads it but does not write it [too well] or [very good].

Surely, the whole point of Duolingo is to get to the stage where you can read, write and talk in the chosen language that you want to learn, isn’t it? P.S. It probably goes without saying i paid little attention at school in English class, and now i suppose i am paying for it, in Grammatical terms anyway. Finally, i one-day just want to be able to say to someone in German. Ich mag Musik and much more besides, but as you can see there’s a long way for me to go.

Also, i cannot answer to answer any comments straight away, as its early in the day and i’ve other things to do, but i will check-in later.

And to end on a funny note i still haven’t worked-out where the umlauts are on my Microsoft Word Doc page, so i would’ve said spater.

May 27, 2018



"Er liest es, aber er schreibt es nicht"

would be grammatically correct, but it conveys the meaning that he reads but doesn't write for whatever reasons. If you would like to talk about the (in)ability you would say:

Er kann es lesen, aber ((er) kann es) nicht schreiben.


So is “nicht” after “es” because “es” is a pronoun? I don’t know I’m just thinking about a Norwegian grammar rule.


Here's a link to help understand how to use "nicht" in a sentence.


Think of your sentence as two independent clauses which are held together by the word "aber". Er liest es and Er schreibt es nicht. Let's make it a bit simpler. Think of it as two sentences which are joined by the word aber. Verbs are put in second position and are conjugated to agree with the subject. So the second sentence must use schreibt and not schreibe or schreiben.


I read the link, thank you. And i will forever think of my sentence as two independent clauses held together by the word aber.

So, to answer your second point i can now safely say: Ich kenne jetzt, danke.


I do have a final point to make, but first i understand the personal Ich schreibe and the schreiben part of your comment.

But i want to give you my understanding of the sentence i used, firstly though it occurred to me that my simple sentence is actually more of what you would give as an answer to a question in a normal conversation between two people talking about another person, such as after they have decided what they are going to talk about and who they are going to talk about, so they say for example;

Does he read it or write it? the answer being…

… [First clause] He/Er [subject] Reads/liest [verb] it/es [object] – but/aber [conjunction] – [Second clause] He/Er [subject] writes/schreibt [verb] for He/Er [subject again] and then they say it/es and finally not/nicht [an adverb modifying the verb meaning of writing, or to write, or even of his writing efforts].

If that is pretty close to how a simple sentence in German should be understood and constructed, then my first attempt with all the help which has been given was worthwhile and i’ve nothing more to add to this thread, thank you all who contributed.

But if you sweilan1 or anyone else would still like to point-out my failings then please do.


Hello, i myself cannot answer that correctly as i don't know enough, but follow the link given below on the position of the word 'nicht' if you haven't already done so.

I found it helpful.

But will it answer the pronoun usage question you asked for you? i don't know.



Before i read or even reply to any comments made this morning, i want to tell you a little bit about myself, maybe some information you may never need to know, but if i explain it here and now it is hopefully done for good. Its not personal information, just a bit of the ‘why’ i am studying languages.

But first i know i may come across to readers as a bit serious and needy, and i am, but this is only to ask for initial help in navigating my way through the discussion part of Duolingo. But, i am like most people, i like to laugh and joke about things.

I sit alone working on my Duolingo courses and am simply trying to make ‘contact’ with almost anyone who would like to read what i have to say and ask about too, i don’t speak to any German people as yet in the town in which i live, simply because i don’t know ‘any’ and I also live in England.

I will try to follow as many people on Duolingo who’s comments or help was given to me, and which meant something to me, and if you’d like to follow my threads or me in return that is entirely up to you.

Now, my discussion subjects i will thread will get lighter and shorter and more to the point on mainly the German language issues which concern me the most.

But i can also be ‘fun’; i am being serious, ha ha.

And YES, just in case you’ve already said or sussed-it on this thread ‘already’ and i just haven’t read it yet, [I should pay more attention to what i am actually learning on my Duolingo German Tree], i know i should; but reading - pausing - understanding and then answering the thing Duolingo asks you to complete can be hard for someone who’s mind works at top speed, i’m sure that’s where a lot of learners go wrong, to some extent anyway.

And, finally its probably worth mentioning that i can’t be on this forum all day every day, so the replies [if any are needed] will come when they come, but ‘if’ i post a thread on a certain day i am likely to be around on Duolingo for a couple of hours that day, so we can have a real-time comment discussion for a while, but i’m as sure as i can be that this goes for most people using the discussion pages to some extent from what i’ve read so far.

Ok, that’s about all i want to say for now, [and i know it’s a bit long] but remember, and i truly mean this ‘it isn’t all about me, or is going to be, in the future either, i’m interested in you too, so don’t forget that.

I hope that ‘covers’ most of my Duolingo intentions and i won’t need to state this to my readers again, and I can just move-on, like i just said i will do. And perhaps i should put this in my Bio or on a link somewhere, as not everyone will read this ‘one’ thread, any suggestions on how and where to do ‘this’ are appreciated.

Any comments? Please do, as ‘if’ i really needed to say that, its all your own personal choice, isn’t it.

Now, to look to see if any comments were or are about to be made.

I have made my introduction and it is unlikely i will post too much in the near future as i’ve already said a lot and need to catch-up on a lot of what i’ve already said and all the rest, but, keep an eye out for future threads as it may help me, and perhaps you’ll get something out of it too. Thanks.


I am giving a thumbs-up and a Lingot, to the first person who has ever helped me with my Deutsch sentence construction, all you told me was helpful, danke.


I have one more comment to add myself. At the moment i am watching a Film on UK television called 'Funeral in Berlin' from a Len Deighton 'spy' novel, i must say with a simple understand of German 'when' in the film someone speaks in German and its usually just small sentences, or commands or questions asked i can usually follow most of what is being said.

It helps to have the subtitles on the screen too, but mainly its the 'context' of what you see on the screen which lets you know what is being said auf deutsch, [if you are not 100% sure what is being said], and it is almost as if i were having the conversation myself or at least ear-wigging like a fly on the wall, and like i said its the closest i've really came to having a proper or half proper conversation or speaking auf Deutsch so far.

I say, thank goodness we in England get to see such films on our unsubscribed or unpaid for channels, [excepting the main licence fee of course], from time to time. It can really help the learner with a basic grasp of 'any' language.

I know you can find people speaking on the Internet in German etc, but i don't always want to have my computer on, you know what i mean.

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