"Ich muss schlafen gehen."

Translation:I have to go to sleep.

June 23, 2018

This discussion is locked.


“I have to go sleep” seems like it should be accepted.


You asked below whether my other comment in this thread (from December 2018) supports your comment here. My sense is that it does. "I have to go sleep now" to me clearly suggests that you are going somewhere. "I have to go to sleep" seems to suggest that you want to fall asleep. Exactly where you fall asleep is unspecified.

I am not a native German speaker - probably speak German at a high B2 - so I provided a link in my other comment explaining why the German sentence does NOT mean "fall asleep."


'to go' to sleep expresses an abstract journey to the process of sleeping. There is an expression which brilliantly captures this fairy tale like place. It is 'to the land of nod'


how do you know the order of the double infinitives at the end?


I have the same question. Using either Duo's Dictionary or Google Translate...

Ich muss gehen schlafen. = I have to go to sleep.

Ich muss schlafen gehen = I have to go to bed.

This would indicate that the verb emphasized goes at the end. "Schlafen" last emphasizes sleeping, while "gehen" last emphasizes the process of getting to where you can sleep (the bed).

I was given the German: Ich muss schlafen gehen.

The correct English translation would then be: I have to go to bed.


How do you know? Follow the patterns given in the Duolingo sentence. Get a book on basic grammar and work through it too if you'd like more detail.

Following the pattern demonstrated in this sentence:

  • Ich muss schlafen gehen. = I have to go to sleep.
  • Ich muss gehen schlafen. = I have to sleep to go.

"To go to sleep" (schlafen gehen) is a normal expression.
"To sleep to go" (gehen schlafen) is not.


An expression may not be normal in English and yet be a normal expression in German. "Gehen Schlafen" might be totally normal in German. I do not know.

I do not have enough examples from Duolingo to establish patterns.

I have a German grammar book for more detail. There appears to be no such thing as "basic" German grammar. It is incredibly difficult at my beginning level to work through the grammar explanations in my grammar book, or most that I find online. This is because the German language is very complex, and there is just so much that I do not know at this point, that the explanations are full of terms I do not understand.

This is why I post my questions here, in hopes that someone actually fluent in German will be able to assist me in furthering and correcting my understanding.


This is why I post my questions here, in hopes that someone actually fluent in German will be able to assist me in furthering and correcting my understanding.

I was correcting your understanding. That is, I know the answer and was trying to shed some light.

  • Ich muss schlafen gehen. = I have to go to sleep.
  • Ich muss gehen schlafen. = I have to sleep to go.

This is the book I've used with many of my students -- mostly because it's free and easy to access from anywhere in the world:


It says it's about reading German. For people who want to speak and write German it's kind of lacking in an explanation of prepositions. The examples can be a little heavy -- and it presumes an advanced understanding of English grammar -- but it's a good book to work through and then will be a good reference.

It certainly hits the points that Duolingo doesn't hit very well.

Google translate is not a good tool for checking grammar. It's primary use is getting a general meaning from a text. "I have to go to sleep" and "I have to go to bed" are the same "general meaning" -- as are the two German sentences you listed, even if one of them has a grammatical error in it.


is it possible to say: "ich muss zu schlafen gehen"?



Here's an explanation I found with a quick Google search. I hope it helps.



My ESL students often ask about the difference between "I will do this" and "I am going to do this." Both are future tense. I was interested to learn that "going to do" is a fairly recent development in English. Shakespeare used "going to + verb" only when someone was literally going somewhere.

To me, there's something similar with "go to sleep" - which often means "fall asleep." I don't think this is the case in German. "Schlafen gehen" seems to mean leaving one place and then sleeping in another.



This would suggest my translation might actually be better than the accepted one.


No because it would mean "I have to fall asleep". To avoid any ambiguous interpretation maybe "I have to go and sleep" could be accepted.


"I have to go sleep" definitely does not mean "I have to sleep right here, right now... snore." It does mean that "I am leaving to go sleep somewhere." That seems to match salivanto's "leaving one place and then sleeping in another." Whereas, "I have to go to sleep" says nothing about where... I might very well say that to a traveling companion before dozing off in my airline seat until the person behind me starts kicking it.


I think "I must go sleep" should also be accepted.


It's almost as if Duolingo knows I'm doing my exercises at 2 a.m.


I gotta go crash

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