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  5. "He could not sleep at her pl…

"He could not sleep at her place."

Translation:Er könne nicht bei ihr schlafen.

April 16, 2013



Can anyone explain, or point to an explanation, of the konne / konnte distinction? does it have a direct english analog?


I'll give it a go but I'm sure a German could do better With können it is often better to use "to be able" version of the verb rather than can.

Konnte is past tense so "er konnte das machen" can translate to "he was able to do that"

"Er könne nicht bei ihr schlafen." means either "[he said], he is unable to sleep at her house" ie reported speech sentence or "[If she invited him to stay over,] he would not be able to sleep at her place" ie conditional sentence

But I have to say this form of the subjunctive (called Subjunctive 1) is very rarely used for a conditional sentence and think that it normally only used for formal writing and almost never in spoken german.

I really don't like this Duolingo sentence because it uses a concept which is difficult for German learners and has many subtleties without making the context clear.


Thanks for making that clear in any case. I understand better now. And although it's a surprise when Duolingo throws in a sentence like this one, it does help spark discussions that can further our education so as long as that's going on, I'm fine with it.


Too bloody right !


From what i understood könne is not used any more for could as conditional present, but one shall use könnte. konnte is the past form of could not the conditional present. Dou does not present könne as a form of can


It gave me "He could not sleep at her place" to translate and I tried "Er konnte nicht bei ihr zu Hause schlafen."

The correct answer was "Er konnte nicht bei ihr schlafen."

Why don't we use any word to designate her place? Otherwise it sounds more like "He could not sleep with her" which doesn't seem correct, translation-wise. Can anyone shed light on this?


bei mir, bei dir,... bei ihnen means "my/your ... house/flat/place" so you don't need both bei ihr and zu Hause

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@duoderSie: Could you please comment on cdriver.aus' question? I am wondering the same as he/she. Thanks!


Er könne nicht bei ihr schlafen??? last time when I put it this way it said it should be Er könne bei ihr nicht schlafen:(((


Shouldn't it be "Er könne bei ihr nicht schlafen." ?


This is also grammatically correct. Where nicht goes makes a very subtle difference but is usually unimportant. (i'll use the non subjunctive in the examples)

"Er kann nicht bei ihr schlafen" "he is not able to sleep at her house"

"Er kann bei ihr nicht schlafen" "it is sleep that he is unable to do at her house"

so the first sentence implies - he can sleep somewhere but not at her house.

The second sentence suggests - he can lay on the sofa under a blanket, but could he fall asleep? no.

If unsure I try to put nicht just before the verbs at the end of the sentence.


Thanks for the reminder. Maybe another way to say it is that the "nicht" negates the element directly after it.


How can one know when to use the subjunctive 1 and when the subjunctive 2? Here there is no context!


Duolingo is allowing both subjunctive 1 and 2 here: könne & könnte. This was my translation, counted as correct: Er könnte nicht bei ihr schlafen.


Can someone explain why "bei ihres Haus" is wrong?


Here "bei" is used in something of a fixed expression. No need for "Haus." Bei + Rosemarie = "at Rosemarie's (house)." So "They were eating dinner at Rosemarie's" = Sie haben Abendessen bei Rosemarie gegessen.

Now replace Rosemarie with the personal pronoun "her" ("bei" takes dative, so you need 'ihr"). = Sie haben Abendessen bei ihr gegessen.

"ihres" is the wrong form of the personal pronoun for her. You need dative, not genetive. If you did want to go ahead and literally say "her house," you would still need the dative/neuter form of "her" because of "bei": = Sie haben Abendessen bei ihrem Haus.


Can somebody explain why "Er könne bei ihr Platz nicht schlafen" is wrong?


Simple "Platz" ist not used to mean home. In english saying "my place" is a bit slangy.


As explained to me, after " bei " you would need the dative case. Also in English, we do say, "we are staying at Joe's "for example. In German it is this way.


i'm going slightly mad...

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