It refers to the thing the speaker thinks nobody would believe. "Nobody would believe it [from us]." (Not quite proper English, but you get the point.)
A more accurate translation would be "Keiner würde uns glauben."
And if the word order were reversed, Keiner würde uns es glauben, would that mean, No one would believe us about it?
I'm having a difficult time distinguishing between "...believe it about us" and "...believe us about it." Is it all in the word order, or would a preposition be needed in the reverse situation?
German allows to change word order without changing meaning, while in English word order is relevant to the meaning. German allows this by using different grammatical cases.
Accusative (4. Fall): Über wen würde es niemand glauben? Über uns.
- Nobody would believe it about us. = Niemand würde es über uns glauben.
- Nobody would believe it about us. = Über uns würde es niemand glauben.
Dative (3. Fall): Wem würde es niemand glauben? Uns.
- Nobody would believe us about it. = Niemand würde es uns glauben.
- Nobody would believe us about it. = Es würde uns niemand glauben.
In English, "No one would believe it of us" is a valid construction but not used much.
Is that the same? Offhand, I'd say "Nobody would believe it of us" is more like "nobody would believe that about us." For example, we might say that if someone was spreading nasty rumors about us that we don't think are credible - or if we accomplished something that is way beyond our skill level.
You're correct. If that's not the translation in German, and it doesn't look like it is, then I don't understand "es" here either. Seems like you'd need a preposition to make it clear.
If I am not mistaken, In German, you need the "es" for the sentence to make sense. I doesn't always translate to English because in English, we simply imply that the thing ("es") that we are talking about, is known.
No, you can omit the es: Niemand würde uns glauben. and Keiner würde uns glauben. are valid translations.
The function of the "es" would be more clear if the exercise was Nobody would believe me = "Keiner würde (es) mir glauben"
It's "mir" (DAT) because of the optional "es", which is the AKK object being referred to. These pronouns work the same way as in the sentence "Mir ist (es) kalt".
The exercise as written is a little confusing since "uns" is used in both the AKK and DAT cases.
So is the "es" saying "nobody would believe us if we were to say this thing"?
Some help is needed in order to understand the actual meaning of the German sentence. Which one is correct?
Nodoby would believe it of us (If we will set the neighbour's car in fire then nobody will think that we could do it because we are considered to be good neighbours)
Nobody would believe us (we are considered liars and therefore nobody would ever believe any of our stories)
And one more question :) Is this "uns" in accusative or in dative? Whould it be "Keiner würde es mich glauben" or "Keiner würde es mir glauben"?
- Number 2 is correct. Nobody would believe us, if we told this. The es is optional and refers to the thing which is told.
- uns is dative - 3. Fall (Wem? question)
- Wem würde man (es) nicht glauben?
- Keiner würde (es) mir glauben.
I'd like to see German renditions of both 1 and 2 here too! As for the last question, I'm not sure but I would think it would have to be "mir" since "es" is already there as a direct object...
- Nobody would believe it of/about us. = Niemand würde es von/über uns glauben.
- Nobody would believe us. = Niemand würde (es) uns glauben.
Thank you. So the difference is in the preposition - von/über vs. no preposition?
They are almost equivalent. Keiner is used for "nobody of a certain group", niemand is used for "nobody at all".
- Keiner der Teilnehmer war verheiratet. = None of the participants were married.
- Niemand isst Suppe mit der Gabel. = Nobody eats soup with a fork.
No one would believe it of us - OK in English. I would translate the above sentence without the 'es'. In French, we sometimes put it in e.g. je le sais (I know). I've not seen that done in German. Any comments?
In case "glauben" could be rather in a "(en)trust" meaning in the sentence, it would make a lot more sense: "No one would entrust it on us". However I assume it's never used that way.
"No one would entrust it on us" doesn't work in English. "No one would entrust us with it" works, but it means that nobody would trust us to take responsibility for it or to guard it. For example:
"We should take charge of the money the organization collects tonight and take it to the bank."
"Nobody would entrust us with it."
Not being a native German speaker, I can't say whether "glauben" could be translated as "entrust," but I believe "entrust" would be better translated as "betrauen" or "anvertrauen."
Why without "it"? Still unclear to me why English translation "without it" is better for German sentence "with es". In comments I see that is valid german translation "without es"... I am confused.