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  5. "Where is your son going with…

"Where is your son going with my daughter?"

Translation:Wohin geht dein Sohn mit meiner Tochter?

April 22, 2013



Why do we use Wohin instead of Wo here?


What eva. said, but more specifically German differentiates between movement and static locations. You've probably already encountered this with Wechselpräpositionen. For example "in" can mean both static location: "Ich bin im Bus" (in+dat. tells you that you that the location is static), or it can imply transitive movement: "Ich gehe ins Bus" (in+akk tells you there is movement from one location to another; from outside the bus into the bus). This distinction also exists in the verbs we choose to use: setzen for movement (setting an object down) vs sitzen (an object sitting statically), or legen (movement) and liegen (static). This distinction also applies to descriptions of locations. "Wo" tells you that a static location is being described, while "Wohin" tells you there is movement from one location to another. Just like you don't say "Komm hier", you instead say "Komm her" as "hier" suggests a static location, while "her" implies movement from a location towards the speaker. It's the same with "Geh raus" instead of "Geh aus", and "Woher kommst du" instead of "Wo kommst du" (there is movement implied in leaving from a specific hometown or place of birth to the location you are currently standing at)

Interestingly (for me anyway) English used to, and still does to an extent distinguish between the static and movement, although much of that is being eroded away, particularly over the last century. Our "hier" and "her" were "here" and "hither", respectively, however both ideas have since melded into one "here", with "hither" becoming an archaic expression, doomed to forever be misused by native speakers in the interests of sounding "fancy" (much like thou/thee/thine/[and you/ye]). A similar occurrence is happening with some other distinctions. "into" and "onto" (our equivalent of in/auf+akk) are disappearing. Notice we don't say "Get onto the bus" but rather "get on the bus", and "get in bed" rather than "get into the bed". Likewise "lay" and "lie" are now trivia grammar nazis use to annoy normal people; the words are used more or less interchangeably nowadays.

Which isn't to say this is a bad thing in English; just a Thing I find interesting.


Very interesting observations/explanations. Just one trivial mistake: ich gehe in den Bus, oder besser, ich steige in den Bus ein.


two possibilities with different meanings...

  1. "wo geht dein Sohn mit meiner Tochter?" - asks for the place the two are walking around at.
  2. "wo geht dein Sohn mit meiner Tochter hin?" or "Wohin geht dein Sohn mit meiner Tochter?" - asks where the two are goring to... the direction and the destination


I think Wohin is more appropriate here.

  • 2594

@rbradley: Both can be used.


no you cannot use both because the meaning in German is not the same.


It isn't. But the English phrase matches both meanings, so both translations are fine.


Unfortunately, they have both in one of these multiple choice questions. There you can lose either way, depending on what the question creator was thinking.


Can't we use 'Wohin geht Sie Sohn mit meiner Tochter.'?


No, the word Sie in that sentence you wrote is nominative (and used like a noun) instead of possessive (and used like an adjective), which is wrong, it needs to be a possessive pronoun to mean “your son” instead of “you son” (which literally would be the speaker addressing their son, rather than the speaker talking about the son of the person they are talking to). Dein is the possessive for du and ihr is the possessive for Sie, in the case of the noun Sohn which is masculine and nominative case (i.e. the subject of the sentence).

So that would be written “Wohin geht ihr Sohn mit meiner Tochter?”, with ihr instead of dein, if the speaker is addressing someone formally instead of informally. The meaning of ihr is less clear though, as the pronoun Sie/sie and its possessive ihr could mean “she”, “they”, or “you”. Actually the possessive ihr Sohn could mean “her son”, “their son”, or “your son”, whereas dein Sohn very clearly means “your son” with no ambiguity.

Still, the formal version of you, Sie, is the more commonly used one, since using du is often impolite, so your instincts to use the formal version are correct in terms of how German speakers actually talk to each other, but you have to distinguish nominative case from possessive. But generally in most social circumstances it is safer to use the formal Sie than the informal du. I think generally the informal is just used with close friends, family members, and adults can use the informal to address children. But for people you are not close to or a child addressing an adult, and especially if you address an authority figure like a boss or cop, you would use the formal. Of course, in this situation, with one adult confronting another, if they are angry, they might deliberately use the informal with someone they are not friends with, to be deliberately disrespectful, and it seems that might be what is going on in this sentence, what one might call “fighting words” which are not a good idea to say.


does this sentence belong in the "imperative" section?


They've had a few sentences that don't 'belong' - I was assuming they were doing it to draw attention to the differences between imperatives and other forms, although I can't remember a lot of mixing and matching when they were covering other sorts of verbs, so maybe it's unintentional.


Nope, it doesn't command or request anything directly, just a question.


What case is Tochter in? Why do you use meiner instead of just mein?


It's the dative case: it becomes meiner (from meine in the nominative) because of the dative preposition ‘mit’ and the feminine gender of ‘Tochter’.


Reden wir über die Vögel und die Bienen ...


Why is it not meine Tochter? Because it is 'my' daughter versus 'your'? If it was reverse would it be "Wohin geht meine Tochter mit deiner Sohn?"


I believe because "mit" makes it dative. So "meine", becomes "meiner"


Why cant i say " wo ist dein Sohn geht mit meiner Tochter"


I did the same, seems German's incredibly flexible syntax isn't flexible according to DuoLingo!


Woah, this could be innuendous!

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