1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Arabic
  4. >
  5. "There is a dog in a car behi…

"There is a dog in a car behind the office."

Translation:خَلْف اَلْمَكْتَب كَلْب في سَيّارة.

August 5, 2019



Quite confused by the words' order


Why is it wrong to say: هناك كلب في سيارة خلف المكتب


I had the same problem


Well, I couldn't even find هناك, but I agree it doesn't seem wrong to me


I don't think your version is wrong, contrarily it is the normal way to say it. I think this lesson is forcing you to learn different sentence structures in arabic


Well, this is just awful pedagogy. As tsuj1g1r1 explains it, "when the subject of a nominal sentence is indefinite, and the object is a prepositional phrase, you invert their order". That's fine with me (and actually very interesting) when it's explained. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was nothing in the hints or any of the duolingo course materials explaining this before this example got sprung on us. And this rule is very unlike anything that happens in English (English has lots of unmotivated rules in other areas, such as adjective order, for example). And in general there is very little explanation in this part of the course, and we could have done with a lot more. I'm not happy.


Glad I'm not the only one confused by this.... plus how does Duo never use يوجد ? I'm using Duo to refresh my Arabic before language training and for me this sentence should read يوجد الكلب خلف المكتب


Your sentence is actually quite awkward, and sounds like it says "The dog is situated behind the office," when a dog, not being a stationary object, is not really "situated" anywhere.

It'd sound better if "kalb" was indefinite:

  • يوجد كلب خلف المكتب

  • There is a dog behind the office/desk.

Anyway, in Arabic, when the subject of a nominal sentence is indefinite, and the object is a prepositional phrase, you invert their order.

  • كلب في سيارة خلف المكتب

is not a grammatical sentence in Arabic. But you move خلف المكتب to the start, and it's actually more idiomatic than any variation including words like هناك or يوجد.


My answer was كلب في سيارة خلف المكتب and it is marked wrong. Is duo getting it wrong here?


Sorry if my answer was confusing. I meant that that sentence is not a grammatical sentence in Arabic, as I stated right after writing it. You need to have the خلف المكتب at the very start for it to work. :)


Is there a grammatical rule for this?


Thank you tsuj1g1r1 for clarifying. I actually missed the last part of your answer. That's where the confusion came from. You are spot on.


I answered the same it was "wrong", l am quite confused with words order. Native speakers are telling me that any combination of words is accepted in arabic.


What about

هناك كلب في سيارة خلف المكتب?

The "correct" sentence has "behind the office" describing where the dog is in the car, apparently exclusively, which is a valid interpretation, but crucially the English is ambiguous and "behind the office" can also describe where the car is that the dog is in, which is a meaning I don't get from the "correct" sentence. Am I wrong in this intuition?

  • 1736

This Arabic sentence corresponds to the English if parsed as ‘There is [a dog in a car] behind the office’. I interpreted it as ‘There is a dog in [a car behind the office]’ and translated it as في سَيّارة خَلْف اَلْمَكْتَب كَلْب, which Duo said was wrong. Yet I'd say my interpretation makes more sense, if sense were of any worth in the nonsense world of Duolingo's training sentences.


Me too, I got it wrong this way :/


What is this situation with Duolingo???? Once they give me a sentence, l take a photo of it (screenshot),in next lesson ,same sentence, l copy what l see in the photo,it is wrong!!!!!!!! I am so disappointed!!!!


Doesn't make any sense to me And this will be asked again and again


There should be a few versions of acceptable answers.


Coukd you say خلف المكتب في سيارة كاب؟


الحمد لله لأنني لست أنا فقط من أواجه هذه المشكلة

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.