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  5. "Der Senior hat keine Telefon…

"Der Senior hat keine Telefonnummer."

Translation:The elderly person does not have a phone number.

April 25, 2014



"The senior has not a telephone number" is wrong.

"The senior hasn't a telephone number" is OK.

Until now I believed that "has not" = "hasn't".


You are right that "has not"= "hasn't", but in English one simply doesn't say ,"The senior has not a telephone number." You COULD say "does not have" or "doesn't have," both of which sound modern, or "The senior hasn't a phone number,"which to my American ears sounds upper-class British (no insult to Brits....British speech sounds more formal to me.)

One could say, "I haven't a care in the world, " and that would be a little mannered, but would probably not say, "I have not a care in the world," One WOULD say, "He hasn't come home" or "He has not come home" interchangeably. I don't know a rule describing this, I just know usage.


I must confess that I am not a native English speaker. I learned English in school and therefore I need clear rules which I am trying to follow. These short words (abbreviations) I am considering like kind of slang and am trying to avoid them. It is easier to express my thoughts in English in such manner since there are not such abbreviated words in my language. Won't you undestand me if I say "has not" instead of "hasn't"? Will it be completely wrong or unacceptable? And one more thing - I do not fully understand American spoken language. British is OK. Probably strange for you, isn't it?


Your English is excellent!

It is fine to speak without contractions, which are, yes, considered slang. But you cannot say, in this case, "The senior has not a telephone number." You CAN say, "The senior does not have a telephone number." You could also say that the senior has no telephone number.

The best way I can describe this in a rule is to say that when "to have" indicates possession, one negates by saying that "he does not have." When "to have" is a helping verb, one negates by saying, "he has not taken out the trash."

P.S. I put on subtitles for some British films. :)


You are right that it is not logical, but just a usage question. To my ears "X has not a Y" sounds antiquated. I suspect you would find it in older English texts, but the contraction has come to replace it in British English. It is made more confusing in that "X has not (verbed)" is normal current usage, so "John hasn't (doesn't have) a telephone" but "John has not telephoned"


So in Germany the elderly keep falling and they have no phones. Sad state of affairs.


Senior was really incomprehensible!

  • 1061

I think they should accept OAP instead of 'elderly person' don't you?


They accept OAP for other phrases with Senior in it but not for this one!


Can't see the date of your post in the app, but they do now, 13/06/2020.


Why do I have to put the article "a" in "the senior does not have a phone number" and do not in "she does not eat lunch"?

Previously in another question:

Sie isst kein Mittagessen = She does not eat lunch. (without the article "a")

And now:

Der Senior hat keine Telefonnummer = The senior does not have a phone number. (with "a")

I'm not english speaker, so there may be some idiomatic issue that I don't know. Thank in advance!


This is a very good question but I cannot think of a clear way to answer.

In English we sometimes say things like, "I will eat lunch now", "My children go to school", "I am going to bed", all of which don't require an article. One could say, "I will pack a lunch for you" or " I am shopping for a bed" or "I am looking at a school tomorrow with my daughter", and the article designates individual items: one school among many to choose from, one bed among many at the store. But it is as if eating breakfast, eating lunch, eating dinner, going to school and going to bed are actions where the noun is a descriptive part of the verb. British English and American English differ a little, as the British say things like, "She was in hospital," whereas Americans would say, "She is in the hospital."

There are many examples where English speakers drop the article: "I have vacation soon" or "I have a vacation soon" mean just about the same thing. But yes, the elderly person doesn't have a phone number.

(The way I think of "kein" is, "She has no telephone number." "She eats no lunch.")

I hope this helps a little. If it is more confusing, say so and I'll delete the post.


Great! It's A LITTLE confusing, but it helped me a lot. The "individual items" explanation is a good reason for the article usage. And what you said (actions where the noun is a descriptive part of the verb) makes sense. The things you said above have made me think over.

In addition, it seems that we don't use the article when talking about daily actions, or things we usually do (like go to school, eat lunch, go to bed...). And it seems we should use the article when doing things that aren't so usual, when doing actions different from daily actions (like "I'll pack a lunch for you", "I'm shopping for a bed"...). I don't if it's right, but it seems it makes sense.

Some things are hard to explain, because people know by usage. There isn't a grammatical way to explain them exactly. Sometimes only experience enables people to know which is right.

Thank you so much, it really helped me!


You summed up what I was trying to say quite well, but please remember that even daily actions can sometimes use an article: in the morning I take a shower and make the bed, I always take the subway to work, etc. You asked a very good question, and maybe someone will see this discussion and give a better grammatical explanation. :)


Really! It's much important to remember that! ;D

Yes! Someone may improve our ideias. =)



OAP has been an OK translation for "Senior" up to now.


I have never used senior as a noun in English, only an adjective. OAP wasn’t accepted.


the senior has not a phone number???? why wrong


See my long-winded explanation above.


Actually, us Brits would still say "The old person doesn't have a telephone number"...its grammatically incorrect to say "hasnt/has not a telephone number" because you need the auxiliary "to do". On the other hand if you add "got" its possible to say "hasnt got a telephone number". Furthermore "I haven't a care in the world" is an idiomatic expression and so is an exception. Its not a good example here as "hasnt a" + noun cannot replace "doesnt have" or "havent got" + noun. This in terms of grammar, but people rarely speak like books, for example in London we say "the old person aint got a telephone number". So I'd advise learning the grammatically correct version but also the colloquial version whether thats the British, American or Australian etc version....


I stand corrected. :)


Don't stand corrected! Sit down and feel right (and have a lingot). You were exactly right in saying that e.g. "I haven't a coat." is possible. It's very aristocratic (and thus frowned upon) but it exists.

g740, you've missed the answer because the most standard form is "does not have" or "doesn't have". I would recommend you to avoid such odd aristocratic possibilities as "I've not a telephone number" even if they are technically correct. Certainly "I have not a telephone number is absolutely NOT natural English. The contracted form is included (I suppose) to not discriminate against aristocratic native speakers of English who want to study German. However, do remember that you have great English but that your German is being tested here. Oh, and that Duolingo is really good but definitely not perfect. :P


Your comment is spot on except we do the same thing in America. The senior or elder person seems odd to use. We use have, got and ain't also. It's The verb have + "a/an" that have the Spanish speakers confused.


The senior does not have a phone number was marked incorrect. Correct answer was given as "The senior has not a phone number". Have reported it, but frustrating that answers like this are not accepted. Excellent site and love this programme, but one would think the developers would have a good enough grasp on the language they are teaching to avoid such errors.


Things like this are just careless errors. It's good you reported it. If you look at the first entry of this discussion, someone was marked wrong for the very sentence that was given as correct in your situation.


I do not see why "Der Senior hat keine Telefonnummer" and "Der Senior besitzt keine Telefonnummer" were not both correct. "Besitzt" has a stronger connotation of personal ownership that just "hat", but means essentially the same thing.


Is "retiree" wrong?


The blocks are small. Is there a glitch in the app?


‘The OAP has no telephone number’ Why isn’t this acceptable?


Could der Senior be translated as pensioner?


What wrong with, has no telephone number

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