"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!

January 9, 2014


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

October 18, 2014


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

March 26, 2014


me too... darn it!

April 3, 2014


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

September 23, 2017


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

September 26, 2013


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

August 13, 2015


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

April 28, 2015


I tried that too. Lost half a heart :(

December 9, 2013


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?

August 6, 2014


Why is nicht before selbst and not after it?

July 8, 2014


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.

August 31, 2014


But is what I said grammatically correct?

August 31, 2014


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

July 12, 2016


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

May 22, 2015


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

July 12, 2016


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.

May 23, 2015


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

June 29, 2014


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

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

January 3, 2015

  • 1663

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

March 15, 2015


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.

May 28, 2015

August 21, 2016


The past tense of entscheiden is entschieden?

What a nightmare for lysdexic people.

March 17, 2015


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

April 18, 2013


Not without "selbst/selber" after "nicht"

April 18, 2013


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

April 18, 2013


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

April 18, 2013


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

April 19, 2013


Yeah, but there is no mich in the sentence

August 15, 2013


Why not "Kann ich nicht allein entscheiden"?

July 14, 2013


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

March 4, 2015


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

March 5, 2015

  • 1425

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?

May 12, 2015


'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.

May 12, 2015

  • 1425

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".

May 12, 2015


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.

May 13, 2015

  • 1425

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!

May 13, 2015


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

January 26, 2018


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

April 18, 2014


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

Why does "nicht" come before "selbst?"

November 26, 2014

  • 1663

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.

March 15, 2015


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

March 17, 2015


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

May 7, 2015


I still cannot tell when to use selbst or mich.

July 2, 2017


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"

July 2, 2017


Difference between 'selbst' and 'sich'?

May 24, 2018


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

June 23, 2018


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

August 22, 2018

  • 1425

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.

August 22, 2018


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

December 22, 2018
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