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  5. "Ik zit te slapen."

"Ik zit te slapen."

Translation:I am sleeping.

July 22, 2014



This is used both with the literal meaning (I'm sleeping while sitting) and as an idiom meaning I'm not paying attention.


so would this work: "I sit to sleep"? This was not accepted.


That would be the translation of Ik zit om te slapen since it implies that I the sitting takes place to make the sleeping possible. In ik zit te slapen there is no reason or relationship between the two verbs, the sitting and sleeping are simply taking place at the same time.


So in this case with "om" or not changes the meaning of the sentence, unlike those situations in which om is optional?


So would, "I sit AND sleep" be acceptable? I'm struggling with this lesson.


No. English doesn't usually include information about positions unless it's really important. Dutch includes positions in these scenarios and not doing so is a bit weird. An example:

English: A spider is on the table. Dutch: Een spin zit op de tafel.

You could say "A spider sits on the table" in English, but it'd be weird. Likewise, Een spin is op de tafel. would be somewhat weird in Dutch.

Dutch just expresses things differently than English. This positional feature of Dutch is actually a big part of why I love Dutch over English as a native English speaker.


"I sit sleeping" ought to be.


but it's not English - not to mention the fact that if you're asleep you can't speak ;)


No, it's definitely English. Imagine you're sitting in a chair and you doze off in it: you are both sitting and sleeping. "I sit sleeping" is a valid and grammatical way of stating this.

The present tense is in English is more flexible than you give it credit for being. It's not just for things you're doing right now but can be used speaking about habitual actions, future actions, statives, &c. Take this short story, for instance:

"My daughter's in hospital and I can't bear to leave her side. I'm so worried. Every night I sit sleeping in the chair beside her bed, waiting for her condition to improve."

There we have a valid use of "I sit sleeping", and it's not talking about about something you're doing right this moment, but about about an habitual action.


I sit sleeping may be a poetic or literary way of saying it, but it's not a construction you would find in everyday English in the US. I sleep sitting up would be what is said,


OK, for habitual actions as your marvellous example: ""My daughter's in hospital and I can't bear to leave her side. I'm so worried. Every night I sit sleeping in the chair beside her bed, waiting for her condition to improve." but as there are plenty of English-speaking contributors for whom English isn't their first language, I think such phrases as "I sit sleeping" aren't too helpful. I hope that "ik zit te slapen" is less controversial in Dutch!??


Your statement was "but it's not English", and as I've demonstrated, it is. That habitual example was only one. The fact is, both Dutch and English have manner-of-motion verbs. Sure, Dutch makes much greater use of them, but they're hardly uncommon in English by any stretch, and people learning English ought to be able to deal with them.


I would express this as "I sleep sitting".


I think your explanation of "I sit sleeping" as it's used in "I sit sleeping in the chair..." isn't quite right.

"I sit" is the phrasing that indicates the habitual action. All verbs in the English present tense indicate habitual actions. For example, "I write", "I read", and "I listen to music" all indicate habitual actions.

"Sleeping" as used in your example is a verbal noun. "Waiting" is also a verbal noun in your example. If your example was written as two sentences instead of one, there would be "I sit sleeping" and "I sit waiting". There is also an implied "while" in the construction, so that a native English speaker would understand it as "I sit while sleeping", which indicates that "sleeping" is a verbal noun.

"Sleeping" is the action that is done (verbal noun) while "I sit" indicates that the action is habitual (verb).


From previous discussions on this module (and also the preposition ones) in particular, I've noticed Enlish speakers from Ireland and the UK notice direct translations and see equivalents in English far more often than other native speakers - I've similarly had answers rejected which i feel are normal, only for other native anglophones to answer with the consensus that it is wrong or "not english".

It's more that it seems odd to say such things in American English, which is what the target audience for this course is. The English used in many parts of Britain and Ireland, even if more radical in prosody, vocabulary, and accents - keeps grammtical features and word order far more conservatively in a germanic languages sense.

Therefore we "see the Dutch" in our English more closely in the sentence structure (esp. from older speakers, rural speakers, and literature around us), only for it to be marked wrong and for a more "distant" paraphrased translation to be offered as the correct one. And therein lies the problem.


Why can't I reply to Cass? I just wanted to say that the English present tense definitely doesn't always indicate habitual action. It can be used for dramatic effect when relating past events, and is also used in fiction that is narrated in the present tense, in lyrics etc.


So, if we were to ask ' are you paying attention?', could we say 'zit je te slaapen?'? Thanks.


Yup! (slapen is with one a)


Is there a reason that "I am asleep" is not accepted? perhaps a Dutch thing, because in English, "I am asleep" and "I am sleeping" however odd to be a statement-- mean essentially the same thing.


It's fine and should be accepted. The only reason it is not accepted is that it is a missing alternative translation.


And it seems that IK LOOP TE ZINGEN means position and not accion, because i read that when you use LOPEN means motion for a period of time like one of the examples here , DE VROUW LOOPT TE VERKOPEN. i am confused!


Dank u wel. I'm still trying to get a grasp on the different 'te slapen' constructions I've seen, though. If you'd be willing, please let me know what of the following is correct/incorrect:

  1. Ik ga te slapen. ('I go to sleep')

  2. Ik zit te slapen. ('I'm sleeping whilst sitting,' OR idiomatic 'I'm not paying attention')

  3. Ik lig te slapen. ('I'm lying whilst sleeping')

  4. Ik ben aan het slapen. ('I am sleeping')

  5. Ik slaap. ('I sleep/am sleeping')

  1. Incorrect sentence, a correct one would be Ik ga slapen. (simple future)

  2. Correct

  3. Correct

  4. Correct, present continuous (formed by: zijn + "aan het" + infinitive)

  5. Correct, simple present

Only 2-5 can be correct translations of I'm sleeping (2 and 3 are probably only used in specific contexts when translating from English to Dutch as they add extra meaning).

More on the usage of te: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Au06


Much appreciated. That clears it up. I seem to incorrectly recall seeing #1 somewhere, and it was messing up my understanding of 'te' with the infinitive. Also, the link is very helpful (as is typical with dutchgrammar.com). Bedankt!


If I'd mean "sleeping in my bed", would I then rather say "ik lig te slapen" instead of "ik zit te slapen"?


Yes, that's right.


What is the difference between "Ik ben aan het slapen" and "Ik zit te slapen" ? : /


"Ik zit te slapen." means "I'm sitting whilst sleeping." or is idiom for "I'm not paying attention.", "Ik lig te slapen." means "I'm lying whilst sleeping." "Ik ben aan het slapen." cannot be used, as you cannot say you are sleeping, whilst sleeping ;)


Unless you're in a dream and you're aware that you're dreaming. :P


If you mean, 'I am sleeping' then if I recall correctly, "Ik zit te slapen" vs. "Ik ben aan het slapen" is mainly just a stylistic choice.


After reading all Below I am still confused WHY is Sitting a pre requisite for Sleeping ....I am lost and do not see the reasoning or relevance of the "ZIT" in the sentence. How is is changing its meaning to part of the sleeping process?


Zit te slapen means either to sleep whilst sitting or being absent minded.


So it can mean "daydreaming" as well as "sleeping"?


To be honest "Ik zit te slapen" is not wrong but it's also not so correct. It would be more correct to say "Ik ben aan het slapen". Certainly when they add as a translation "I am sleeping". Dutch is my mother tongue and I studied it in school. Also, refer to this link where the difference is also explained: https://www.schrijfwijzer.nl/website/verwarwoordenboek/verwarwoord/67/ben-aan-het-zit-te


i have been told by some dutch friends that this idiom can also translate to mean ¨I am bored¨ yet duo lingo does not recognize this... can someone shed some light as to whether or not this is actually used?


I've never seen it being used like that. Perhaps you can use it to say that you're not paying attention, but I suppose it's the same for English so best to stick to the direct translation.


We do say "slaapverwekkend" for boring, but like El2theK, I've never heard "ik zit te slapen" in this sense.


How would you say : "Wait a minute. I sit down to think" (like Rodin's thinker). Or "I lay down i(in order (to) think". Because if I translate it word for word it could be "ik zit te denken", which is not the same... I thought that "te" means "in order to. In that case "ik zit te slapen" such a translation is not permitted. Or would it be the same and just the context could help ?


Word for word translations often don't work. Te can mean different things, depending on the context. A few examples to clarify:

  • ik zit te denken = I'm thinking (action that lasts for a while)
  • ik zit om te denken = I'm sitting in order to think
  • te snel, te mooi, te dik, etc = too fast, too beautiful, too fat, etc.
  • te gek = awesome, great, cool (idiomatic, very positive)
  • dat is te gek = that is awesome
  • dat is te gek voor woorden = that can't be true / that is ridiculous / I can't explain how much I disagree with that (idiomatic, negative meaning)
  • te koop = for sale
  • geboren te Utrecht = born in Utrecht (old-fashioned usage, nowadays in would be used)


Dank je wel Susande. The HUGE difference is in the small word "om" ! So if I want to say that I think better when I lie on my bed, I should say : "ik lig om te denken". Am I right ?


Well your description isn't very precise, but broadly, yes you could say it like that indeed. Your Dutch sentence doesn't say anything about better, but that's easy to fix: ik lig om beter te denken.


actually Susande I did not want to express "better". It was to describe what I actually wanted to say. Ik lig OM te denken. (In a way, It helps me to think).


Would it be equivalent to say "Ik lig te slapen"?


No, not eactly the same. You meant: you are sleeping (in bed).


But that's the translation Duolingo gives, "I am sleeping"


Your question is similar to the comment of "4sily" above. Also, please read the comment of "Engall" and the reply as well. Ik leer veel van deze Discussion sectie.


Is "ik zit te slapen" the same as "ik ben aan het slapen?"


If you scroll up to the middle of this Discussion section and look for Engall's comment as well as its reply, you will find the answer.


Thank you very much! I didn't see that before.


This all seems very complicated, mainly because this seems to be an idiom.

I tried "I am asleep" which seems to imply to me a continuous act of sleeping, but it is rejected. Not sure why it is rejected but not confident enough to report it as an error.

Since we are looking at 'te' + infinitive it can't be because I'm not using the infinitive as none of the right answers seem to use the infinitive either. My (Dutch) wife has tried to explain it to me, but I still can't see why "I am asleep" is wrong.


Interestingly, I've just been allowed "He is asleep" for "Hij ligt te slapen"... Not sure whether I feel happier or more confused.


I think that sleeping while you are sitting is not natural... so "ik lig te slapen" is "I am sleeping" (or "I am asleep" as you suggested) but "ik zit te slapen" implies that you was probably bored or just ignoring something.


I understand it as an idiom, but then I would expect "I am sleeping" to be rejected as well.

Of course, some people think that in the late middle ages people did sleep sitting up - that is why beds in castles seem so small.

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