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  5. "So was würde ich vermeiden."

"So was würde ich vermeiden."

Translation:I would avoid something like that.

March 31, 2013



Duolingo has successfully trained me now to translate this sentence properly, but my question is - to a German native speaker does it actually translate like that?


If I understand correctly: "So was würde ich vermeiden" translates as "I would avoid something like that." But the English sentence could be translated as "Ich würde so etwas vermeiden." Would a native German-speaker be as likely to say it that way? Also, to the uninitiated English-speaker, the original German sentence looks like a question: So what would I avoid? That, however, would be "Also, was würde ich vermeiden?" Correct?


Your analysis is correct. “So was” is simply the short version of an expression, “so etwas”, which means “something like that”, “that type of thing”. A related expression is “so ein/eine”, which means “such a”. Basically “so” can kind of work as an indeclinable adjective meaning “of this type”, “such”.


You've said essentially the same thing I said: "so was" = "something like that," NOT "so what." Thanks, though, for explaining that that's because it's short for "so etwas." Unfortunately, you mistook my comment about someone's mistaking the sentence as a question as how I saw it. Not at all. I did want to know whether German's prefer the original word order over "Ich würde so etwas vermeiden." Turns out that the original word order is simply more emphatic.


I must have been half asleep when I read your first comment last time, because your analysis was actually spot on. Sorry :)


I read it as a question


To the uninitiated, it certainly looks like a question (except for the period at the end), but now you know.


In retrospect I guess you would have expected "Also" to make it a question


Ah, no ... what I meant was that I read the "So" like the English "So". If I had not I would have read the sentence differently. And what I understand is that the German "Also" can work like the English "So". Were it "Also", then it could have made this particular sentence into a question

I hope I clarified it a bit now, it was not that clear what I wrote before


Darren_Islar, Well, a sentence that starts with Also could be a statement or a question. Also is not a German interrogative word like wann or warum.


why wouldn't you use 'das' here?


"so was" is not the same as "das", just as "something like that" is not the same as "that".


Na so was!

Sowas is spelt together!
It means So etwas.

Did nobody pick that up?

except in: "Na so was!" :-)


Hm, must have changed over the years, my teacher would have marked me wrong in this context.

http://www.dict.cc/?s=so+was stands for the translations you find under this link

we discussing here: something like this == sowas [ugs.]

http://www.dict.cc/?s=something+like+that {scroll down to line 7}

I am happy to learn new things, but I want to get right right, not just right.


"so was" has always been correct. "sowas" was added as an alternative spelling during the revision of the 1996 spelling reform in 2004/2006. Duden still recommends to write it as two words, though.


By the way, I highly recommend not using dict.cc. It's not a reliable resource. Anyone can write these entries and there's no professional editorial control.


So "so was" is a shorthand for "so etwas", which means "something like that", that is to say, it is a unit?

Shouldn't the hints/suggestions then reflect that?

Right now the suggestions are "like that/this" and "that/something", and the first one is readily understood to mean "thus/in this way/manner", which creates unnecesary ambiguity and so they may mislead people, which should not be the purpose or result of what is supposed to help and guide people.


What is the most reliable dictionary to use: you mention Duden. Is it comparable to Langenscheidts?


The Duden is a monolingual dictionary for native speakers of German. It's basically what Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary are for English. Langenscheidt has bilingual dictionaries in all sorts of languages. If you're looking for a good English-German dictionary, check out Collins, Langenscheidt (not available online), Pons, Oxford, and Wordreference.com. In my experience, Pons is the most comprehensive and reliable option as far as free online dictionaries go.






I like leo.de (now redirects to dict.leo.org). My sister is a German translator and recommended it. It has translations between German and a number of other languages.


Is "That is something i would avoid" acceptable here?


Yes, I think that's basically the same thing, but my "That is what I would avoid" was marked wrong as well. Time to report it!


Why is the verb third in this case, instead of second in the word order?


The verb doesn't need to be the second word, just the second ‘element’. A whole phrase can come before the verb, as long as it is perceived as a unit (e.g.: a noun phrase like ‘my mother's red pen’—‘der rote Stift meiner Mutter’ or a complex adverbial like ‘during the week before the beginning of next month’—‘in der Woche vor dem Anfang des nächsten Monats’). ‘So was’ in this case is a noun phrase (pronoun phrase?) meaning ‘something like this’, ‘such a thing’ so it occupies only one position.


What is wrong with " So what would I avoid" That is exactly how the sentence reads. Where did you get something like that from?


It's not a question and "so" would translate to "also":

Also was würde ich vermeiden?


In the staight word order that would be Ich würde so etwas vermeiden, right?


Here is "so was" which is a wonderful indicator of attitude. However, our DL digital speaker doesn't understand it and speaks it as though it introduces a question. Interesting! We humans are better at this aspect of language learning than are smart computers. This may be a reason for us to embrace the learning of idioms as embodying and perpetuating our humanity.


Can I put "verhindern" instead of "vermeiden"?


That would mean "I would prevent something like that", which is something different. (ie, it would mean --roughly-- "I would stop that happening', as distinct from "I would not get involved with that").


What's wrong with "i would avoid that"?


So was = "something like that." (not simply "that") See Christian's comment above from 4 years ago.


In the Dou translation the word something appears, the word etwas is not in the german sentence


Was ist dann "was"? (Hint: it's short for etwas)


Ich wurde so etwas vermeiden should then be the right sentence in German

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