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  5. "Can't I decide myself?"

"Can't I decide myself?"

Translation:Kann ich nicht selbst entscheiden?

April 18, 2013



I looked every so closely there were two choices that seemed exactly identicle until I realized one was spelled entscheiden and the other entschieden. I clicked both and got the one wrong that was spelled incorrectly. I'm kind if mad!


entschieden is actually the past tense of entscheiden, so not a misspelling but still subtle


Did the same...and i'm also kinda annoyed with it...mostly because I'm tired enough to not have noticed the difference...


me too... darn it!


Well, moral of this exercise is, never take anything for granted, because you can be misunderstood! :D


Why is nicht before selbst and not after it?


I think it's because the emphasis shifts from not being able to decide for one's self to being unable to decide in general.


But is what I said grammatically correct?


"Kann ich selbst nicht entscheiden" is accepted at least now


I was marked wrong too. Some assistance please? Why "nicht selbst..." and not "selbst nicht..."?


It is accepted now, I think location is more for emphasis, and the nicht being closer to Kann is emphasizing kann


Word order with "nicht" is pretty complicated, but I think you generally want to put it after direct and indirect objects, but before everything else. Especially before a word you want to explicitly negate.


I thought one could write 'kann ich mich nicht selbst entscheiden...'


Sich entscheiden means "to make up your mind" so I think your sentence translates to "Can't I make up my mind myself?"


I believe entscheiden can be either transitive or intransitive (i.e. It does or does not take a direct object, depending on the context). Because there is no direct object here, and thus the verb is intransitive, it isn't reflexive.

But I could be wrong :P


I tried that too. Lost half a heart :(


I wrote "Kann ich nicht mich selbst entscheiden?" and also lost a heart.

I wonder whether "Kann ich nicht für mich selbst entscheiden?" is also wrong... Anybody?


Kann ich mich nicht selbst entscheiden? should be the word order for, can't i decide myself?

Kann ich nicht für mich entscheiden? or kann ich selbst entscheiden? should be Can't i decide for myself? I wish a native would confirm


Is there a reason I can't use "darf"?


Darf = may (permission to do something)

Kann = can (ability to do something)


The past tense of entscheiden is entschieden?

What a nightmare for lysdexic people.


Kann ich nicht SELBST entscheiden? vs Kann ich nicht SELBER entscheiden?

Are they both right? If not, why is the second wrong?


Collins German-English dictionary defines "selber" as "=selbst" so good question. I added my comment to see if it helps us get an answer.


I'd like to know what the difference is too! I've looked online and found they are (almost) synonyms, is this true?

I used to know German very well but I honestly can't remember this.


"mich" is missing


shouldn't "kann ich mich nicht entscheiden?" be acceptable?


Not without "selbst/selber" after "nicht"


hmmm...but could one not use 'mich' instead of 'selbst/selber' ?


No. "Entscheiden" or "sich entscheiden" = "to decide" or "to reach a decision" "myself" = "selbst/selber"


thanks for your help...i've done some additional reading and i think i understand :)


Yeah, but there is no mich in the sentence


Why not "Kann ich nicht allein entscheiden"?


"darf ich nicht selbst entscheiden". Could anyone explain me why it is not accepted?


Why I couldn't use "Darf nicht" instead "Kann nicht"?

  • 1966

Same question here. Could someone please explain why "darf ich ..." was marked wrong?

If I understand correctly, "darf ich ..." means "may I ...". Now, one of the possible meanings of "can" is "may" (not in all contexts, but we are not presented with a context here!). E.g. "Can I go?" means exactly the same thing as "May I go?" (unless one's physical ability to move one's legs is questioned - not a very likely scenario). Hence "darf ich ..."="may I ..." could be a legitimate translation of "Can I ...", no?


'Can I go?' means 'is it possible for me to go?'

'May I go?' means 'is it permissable for me to go? '

Two slightly different meanings.

  • 1966

I beg to disagree. What possibility are we talking about here? A physical ability to walk out or a permission to go? "Can" could imply either, and in the latter instance it is essentially equivalent to "may". In the case of "Can I go?" it would almost certainly be equivalent to "may" (but not always, of course). And closer to the topic of this discussion, "Can I decide?" is almost certainly a request for permission to decide, not a question addressing one's own mental capacity (unless it's a rhetorical question directed into an empty space). Just think of a heated argument and replace "Can I decide for myself?" with "May I decide for myself?" and please tell me in what way would that substitution alter the meaning?

So, my point is, "May I ..." (and consequently "Darf ich ..") can be a legitimate substitute for "Can I ...", and so for DL to offer "Darf ich .." as one of the options in a question asking for all possible translations, and then mark it wrong, strikes me as bad practice. (And we are talking about DL here; it cannot get the difference between "anyone" and "everyone" straight, but then insists on nitpicking in cases like this.)

EDIT: Just as a side remark, in any real argument saying "May I decide for myself?" would actually be a better option than "Can I decide for myself?", but not because of any differences in meaning. It will simply prevent a cheap comeback "-Can you?" exploiting that other meaning of the word "can".


I agree with you, zirkul, "Darf ich" seems to be the correct way of asking if you're permitted to make your own decisions, as opposed to asking someone to confirm or negate if you're capable of deciding things on your own. In English the context would clarify the question, but since German tends to be so much more precise, I was convinced that "Darf ich" would have been the only acceptable formulation.Obviously, not so.


Look at it this way:

Can is to Could what May is to Might.

Think about the difference between 'I might do something' and 'I could do something'. There is a difference and DL is right to make the distinction.

  • 1966

I certainly agree that there are differences in many, but not all contexts (and I really fail to see the difference in the context of this particular question). So if DL asked for the best translation, I would wholeheartedly agree with you. But the question was about all possible translations. Compare this level of rigour with DL allowing both "I have few books" and "I have a few books" as legitimate translations for "Ich habe wenige Bücher", while the two can have almost opposite meanings in English!


Warum nicht "Kann ich nicht VON selbst ent scheiden" wie im Staz "Die Kinder essen von selbst"?


Why not "Kann ich nicht allein entscheiden?"?


Why is 'nicht' necessary at all? Kann ich selbst entscheiden?


I used sich instead of selbst and was marked wrong, anyone knows the reason? I thought they were interchangeable?


kann ich mich nicht selbst entscheiden? Is it correct?


isn't "mich" missing in this translation? I think, kann ich mich nicht selbst entscheiden, should be the correct translation.


There are two options with same words. I chose one of them then its showing wrong


Duolingo isn't logical

"Frauen können für sich selbst entscheiden" is for me the same construction as " ich kann nicht (für mich) selbst entscheiden "; in the first sentence I omitted " für sich" and lost a heart; now I put " für mich" in the last sentence and I lost also a heart.

If ' für mich" is not allowed, "für sich" should also not be used


I lost a heart for "Kann ich selbst nicht entscheiden."

Why does "nicht" come before "selbst?"


While I know that word-for-word translations are frequently misleading or flat-out wrong, as a struggling student of German, I admit to using them as another aid to learning. Applied to the subject exercise, we have:

DL likes: Can+I+not+(for) myself+to decide

DL rejects: Can+I+(for) myself+not+to decide

Having made the "DL rejects" entry myself; I, too, am grasping at straws. The preferred answer sounds a bit better in its word-for-word translation. There is also the time-manner-place rule. "(for) myself" can clearly be interpreted as "manner." Inferring that "not (now)" is "time" and therefore comes first is a big leap of faith for me but maybe that is the answer. Lets hope that someone picks up on this and answers our question.


I'm assuming "selbst" is Dative in this sentence?


This is the hardest course yet. Really struggling with it. It's a real leap in difficulty from the others


I still cannot tell when to use selbst or mich.


you can use either selbst entscheiden or fuer sich entscheiden, for to decide for oneself


Take this with a grain of salt, but I'm pretty sure you only use "mich/sich" etc when it is the direct object of the verb.

In this case, you are not the thing being decided, so you don't use "mich"


Difference between 'selbst' and 'sich'?


"Selber" was also considered correct on this one. What's the difference between selbst and selber?


I can´t see the difference between option 1 and 3, they are identical.

  • 1966

And we can't see any of the options at all: believe it or not, we are not clairvoyant. Next time take a screen shot, put it on any of the file-sharing servers and post the link.

P.S. That said, I suspect that sneaky Duolingo offered you choices along the lines of entscheiden vs. entschieden, with the difference nearly impossible to spot. I don't know what the educational value of such trickery might be, but I've seen examples like this here on Duolingo.


We can't use "allein(e)" instead of "selbst"?


Kann ich nicht von selbst entschließen? was not accepted

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