"Did you swim to the island?"

Translation:Bist du zu der Insel geschwommen?

March 30, 2013



why is "Sie sind zu der Insel geschwommen?" accepted?.... if it is a question, shouldn't it be "sind Sie" instead of "Sie sind"?

March 30, 2013


I would translate "Sie sind zu der Insel geschwommen?" rather as "You swam to the island?"

March 30, 2013


Both ways of putting the question are correct and very similar in meaning, but there is a slight bit more of a feeling of astonishment in the "Sie sind...?" version. E.g. if you stress the "Sie" -The question "SIE sind zu der Insel geschwommen?" would translate as "It was YOU who swam to the island?" Unbelievable!"

May 13, 2013



May 13, 2013


yes, but if the intention was the emphasis, i believe it could have been shown in the same way in English, i.e. You swam to the island?!

April 8, 2015


Why zu der and not zur?

October 15, 2014


Leaving a comment for future updates.

November 6, 2015


    In future, you can do this by clicking 'Follow Discussion' at the top-right of the page (in a web browser). This avoids sending a useless notification to everyone who is already following the discussion... Alternatively, just take the opportunity to write something constructive!

    I was also wondering about zu der being used instead of zur. Apparently, in German contractions are not necessary, and are often not used in formal writing. Although they are very common when speaking, you could also keep the words separate for emphasis: Bist du zu der Insel geschwommen?

    January 13, 2016


    now you can you ZUR as well :)

    August 26, 2016


    Did that 1 notification really rustled your jimmies that bad?

    August 24, 2017


    Why not "nach"?

    January 29, 2014


    I had the same question. Here is what I found http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa061900a.htm. So if we were swimming to Sicily, we could use "nach", or swimming south, but we are swimming to a generic island, therefore "zu".

    April 27, 2014


    If i remember correctly, "nach" is used for countries and places that have no definite destination (like travelling "west").

    For places with a definite destination, the preposition depends on the type of destination. Still trying to figure out which are used where.

    January 17, 2015


      If I am travelling to visit my friend, I am travelling zu them. I was corrected on this usage yesterday!

      Generally, there is an explanation here which seems quite clear. It says that cities, countries and continents use nach when you mention their name, but zu otherwise - so maybe this applies for named islands too? This example with Majorca seems to suggest yes.

      January 13, 2016


      Think of nach more as "toward" or "after", rather than "to".

      October 25, 2016

      Nach Zu In
      Going to a certain city, country or continent (except Antarctica) Used when going anywhere else Used when going into a building or going downtown (or going to Antarctica)
      December 18, 2018


      why is it wrong to use "hast du zu ...." instead of "bist du zu ..." ?

      October 26, 2014


      Because this is a movement verb (like rennen/laufen/to run or gehen/to go) and the auxiliar verb to form the Perfekt/past simple is the verb sein. So all or almost all the verbs that involve movement use the verb sein as an auxiliary verb. The only exception I can remember now is the verb tanzen which is form with haben ( Ich habe getanzt = I danced).

      October 26, 2014


      I assume that "tanzen" takes "haben" as auxiliary verb because there's no directional movement or end point to reach. I'd say "Ich bin quer durch den Raum getanzt." - "I danced straight through the room."

      October 26, 2014


      I think it makes sense what you say. But from what I know I think the rule is really that tanzen is with sein. The official rules are that the intransitive verbs (verbs that cannot take an akkusative object, ex: Ich gehe nach Hause [dative object], you cannot say Ich gehe ein etwas [this would be an akkusative object]) are used with sein. So this includes all the movement verbs + verbs of change of state plus the verbs bleiben sein. The transitive verbs are used with haben.

      Note: you can actually use schwimmen also with haben. Er ist zu der Insel geschwommen OR Er hat zehn minuten im eiskalten Fluss geschwommen (=no movement towards a set goal; stationary in a fixed place)

      October 26, 2014


      "Ich gehe nach Hause" does not contain an object in that sense. "gehen" needs a destination which is a prepositional phrase here: "nach + place". It is the "nach" that requires dative and not "gehen". "Er hat geschwommen" sounds wrong to me but this may be a dialect thing. There is also variation concerning "sitzen". Some say "Ich bin gesessen" and others "Ich habe gesessen". As far as I know, the goal vs. no goal rule is very pronounced in Dutch.

      October 27, 2014


      Think of "haben" as possession or sedentary activities and "sein" as what you are/be doing.

      Germans are practical. In English, one may say "I have ran to the store."

      "Ich bin in den Laden gelaufen."

      You cannot perform the actions of picking up and carrying "running" nor can you run without moving, however it is something you can be doing or what you are doing with movement.

      I add the note of movement because you can't walk, run, drive, fly, etc. without going from Point A to Point B.

      So sleeping does not require movement, therefore "I slept on the couch." will use "haben".

      "Ich habe auf der Couch geschlafen."

      BE CAREFUL, if you use a verb that implies movement, like "went" you must use the "sein" form.

      "Ich bin schlafen gegangen."

      April 6, 2018


      Since this sentence involves movement from one place to another, why is it not "die Insel" (accusative) instead of "der Insel" (dative)?

      December 26, 2015


      Got it. "Zu" is a dative preposition.

      December 26, 2015


      What about auf die Insel?

      June 3, 2014


      that would mean "on the island," I believe

      June 7, 2015


        Well, auf is a 'two-way preposition', so the meaning changes whether you use it in accusative or dative case.

        auf die would be accusative case and would mean "onto the" island, like you actually swam until you reached the beach and could stand up again. zu der doesn't have this meaning exactly, as you could have just swam very close to it and had a look while staying in the water.

        auf der would be dative case, and means "on the" island. Like, you went to the resort on the island which has a swimming pool, and you swam there (but not in the sea that surrounds the island).

        January 13, 2016


        Good point. Thanks for clarification.

        January 14, 2016


        How do you tell when to use "sein" and when to use "haben" in the past tense? (i.e., "Sie haben gekauft" vs. "Sie sind geschwommen")

        June 23, 2015


        verbs of movement usually take "sein" (gehen, laufen, rennen, fahren, schwimmen, klettern,...).

        June 24, 2015


          Well, apparently only the intransitive forms use sein: like "I drove" or "I travelled". But transitive verbs cannot, so for example when you use fahren to mean "I drove a car" you need haben.

          Canoo.net acknowledges this by listing both as possible helping verbs but doesn't make the point clear.

          Interestingly, that first link also points out the distinction between using fahren to mean "being the driver" and "being a passenger". When used to be a passenger, you are not "driving the car" but ~"travelling, with the car" and so the verb acts intransitive in that case.

          January 13, 2016


          So, if I understood what you were saying about the different uses of "fahren":

          -Ich bin im Auto gefahren = I travelled by car (but someone else was driving)

          -Ich habe im Auto gefahren = I drove the car

          (I'm not sure about the "im" though)

          February 27, 2016


            Well, im means "in the" (it's a contraction of in dem), so the first sentence looks fine. The second one shouldn't use in, though, as far as I can tell. You have however interpreted my point correctly.

            March 28, 2016


            Ok, that makes sense. Ich habe das Auto gefahren = I drove the car. With das Auto being the direct object of fahren, which is used transitively and thus needs the auxiliary haben. Thank you, have a lingot!

            March 29, 2016


            As this statement is a question, why does the sentence start with Sie sind or Du bist, instead of Sind Sie or Bist du?

            March 29, 2014


            Check out the discussion above. That's a particular construction used to express astonishment in your question.

            January 26, 2016


            Why is it "der Insel" if this is accusative?

            May 23, 2018


            Why do you say it is Akkusativ?

            The preposition zu imputes the Dativ. As reference: Wiktionary.

            May 23, 2018


            "bist du auf die Insel geschwommen?" says Google Translate, is it not correct?

            October 28, 2018


            Why is this "zu der Insel" and not "zu die Insel"? I thought the "wohin" phrases use Akkusativ.

            March 22, 2019


            why zu der Insel and not nach den Insel?

            November 29, 2017


              Previous comments discuss why we need zu rather than nach. Also, Insel is a feminine word and the preposition here requires dative case. The dative feminine definite article is der.

              November 29, 2017


              I think a better solution could be "Sie sind auf die Insel geschwommen?". I say this according to what I learned in the Sprachzentrum.

              July 2, 2014


              "zur Schule" und "zu der Insel"

              October 27, 2016


              They mean the same thing. "Zu der" can be contracted to "zur," and it doesn't change the meaning. However, this should not be done in formal writing.

              December 5, 2017
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