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  5. "Ik lees een boek aan haar vo…

"Ik lees een boek aan haar voor."

Translation:I read her a book.

July 26, 2014



So what is the purpose of aan and voor in this sentence? the hints and word order aren't at all clear


Voor comes from voorlezen, to read aloud. You have to split it and put the object (haar) in the middle. Not sure what aan is doing!

Edit: Aan is the Dutch word for to. I don't think Voor alone would suffice. Although there's another one without it so I'm not sure actually.


There are SO MANY things in this unit that aren't explained at all, especially with these separable prefix things. Like, they literally didn't even mention that they were going to be there but you're expected to know the meanings without the program providing them correctly.


I completely agree with you. The separable verbs should be on a skill of their own - especially if they expect us to know them by now.


The main problem for me is that duolingo isn't telling you when these are and when these are not separable-prefix verbs. This should come with time; in German if you hover over either part of the separable-prefix verb it will tell you "vorlesen = to read aloud" So the best thing we can do for now is chime in and let the developers know that it isn't doing that.

Also a separable prefix section would be nice. You get "aanraken" a few sections prior and then all of a sudden you get a bunch of them. It's especially confusing because there are also a lot of idiomatic things in here with prepositions that are not separable-prefix but have distinct meanings that aren't immediately apparent from the hover-hint. So yeah. Getting this stuff fixed would be nice.


We added separable hints throughout the entire course! However, an (unfortunate) issue has been preventing them from showing up. The Duolingo staff is working on fixing this, I can assure you.

You can see the hint working in this image for "lezen.... voor": http://i.imgur.com/O3KApN4.png?2

As you might imagine, this is frustrating for us as well as for all of you. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a fix!


I fully agree with you... this whole chapter needs a clear explanation and it perhaps requires to be divided... I don't really understand how words are split, let alone knowing their meaning. :(


"Aan" is indicating the Indirect Object (expressed by Dative in some languages, like German), which in English is expressed with 'to' or 'for'. I tried 'for' here, which was not accepted, but it is correct English. ('een boek' is the Direct Object - Accusative in some languages.)


I encountered the same structure in German and just assumed it was idiomatic like the Dutch saying they "heart for" things instead of liking them or the Spanish saying things "please" them.


Latin american Spanish speaking here and things don't "please" me. I think that "Me gusta' would be the common way to say it in international Spanish. What are you referring to with "please me"?


How would you literally translate 'me gusta'?


It is pleasing to me.


Why can't this be translated to "I read a book to her"? That seams identical to" I read her a book".


That should be accepted as well, since it's gramatically correct. That being said, I believe most people would choose 'I read her a book', since it 'flows' better.

If it's not accepted, you should report it, since in English you can place the indirect object after the direct object, provided that you add 'to' before it.


Just reread my comment and saw the misspelling. Made me laugh to see that I wrote seams for seems. Thanks for pointing it out. :)


Whenever an indirect object is followed by a direct one, it is better to use a preposition (to separate the indirect object). Instead of "I read her a book", "I read a book to her". In Dutch:

Ik lees een boek voor aan haar. OR

Ik lees een boek aan haar voor


Yes please. As a german I missed the "to" (especially as it was there some sentences earlier) and did not get it the way it is meant to be here. This is really an disadvantage for people who don't know every english expression by heart. I am speaking of the put-the-words-in-the-right-order-exercise by the way.


Man, Dutch is harder than I thought...


Understanding should not be too difficult because the structure and a lot of words are more or less German. Plus that we added some french and momentarily English words to our language. Writing it may be more challenging. Also for dutch people like me actually.


I believe Leanton was referring to the way the grammar of Dutch works.


Dutch "Prepositions" section has been added to the Grammar Discussion: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3732817

Here is a dictionary for French to Dutch, I like it because it has many examples, but you may need to start with its English to French version first. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-neerlandais/lire http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-francais/read

I've usually started out with the Dutch to French to English, but then I do the reverse above to catch the separable verbs. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/neerlandais-francais/lezen http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/lire

At which point I can look that up specifically for more examples: http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/neerlandais-francais/voorlezen

For the quick answer: http://webtranslation.paralink.com/translator/default.asp


This is already a long thread but voorlezen can be translated as "to read out" - "can you read out the menu to me as I've forgotten my glasses?" The "out" is really superfluous in this sentence but it is quite normal to say it.


"voorlezen" means "to read to someone" in English. Obviously, if you read to someone other than yourself, it has to be 'out loud' but you don't say "read out" in English, at least no place I'm aware of. Where are you from that you think "read out" is commonly used in this context?


I'm from the South-East of England. "Voorlezen" means "to read out/ to read aloud". But "I read her a book" is the neatest translation and I shall stop there.


Sorry. I'm not familiar with British usage. I was basing my opinion on American English.


As an American, I think this version is pretty universal.


Adding the word out is awkward unless you also add loud as in "read out loud".


"read out" would be used when it's not only "out loud" but specifically "loud enough for all to hear." Not quite as loud as the town crier, but enough that the assembled party or throng can all hear. Often used for a list or a demand, but a menu would also work.

append "out" to change the meaning or emphasis slightly for many verbs (e.g. "spell out" and "yell out")


What puzzles me is couldn't the Dutch phrase simply be "Ik lees haar een boek" ? Why the confusion?


Because voorlezen and lezen mean two different things.

Voorlezen: read aloud Lezen: read (not aloud, silently, to yourself).


"Ik lees haar uit een boek voor " is this rephrase correct?


"I read to her from the book." implies that I read some of it to her, but "I read her the book." implies that I read her the entire book. Some children's books are small enough to read in one sitting, but other books would be too long and a chapter or two from the book could be read.


Can this sentence literally be translated as 'I read a book in front of her.'?


I didn't quite get the use of the prepositions in this situation


The voor is actually the prefix of the verb voorlezen, which is mentioned above. Just as in German, it is 'separable', so the prefix ties flying off to the end of the sentence. In English we often put a dangling preposition at the end of the sentence, which English teachers would correct, because a preposition needs a noun object. But I think they are actually the same as these in Dutch and German. The 'aan' means that 'haar' is the Indirect Object, usually expressed in English with for or to, or sometimes by word order: I read her a book.


I agree with what you write, and only wish to point out that trailing prepositions are very common in informal English speach. "What for?", "Who is it from?". Also, there can be assumed nouns: "Come in (to the house).", "Go on (talking).", etc.


Okay, so Im confused, I've been translating the other sentences to 'a' like she reads a book to her, and I've been getting it wrong and its supposed to be the, but the one time I put the, like for this, I read the book to her, its says It was supposed to be a, ' I read a book to her' How can I tel when to use A or the?


The Dutch indefinite article is "een" so this should usually be translated into English as "a" (or "an" if the following word begins with a vowel sound).

Dutch has two definite articles "de" and "het" both of which should usually be translated as "the". The second form "het" is used only with particular nouns ("neuter gender" nouns) and only when the noun is singular. On the other hand, "de" is used for all other nouns ("common gender" nouns) in the singular AND for all plural nouns, regardless of their gender. Of course, if you're translating into English, you don't have to worry about the gender distinction -- just translate both as "the". But if you're translating into Dutch, you need to know the gender and number of the following noun in order to choose the correct form.

That said, common gender is much more common than neuter gender -- around 75% of Dutch nouns are common gender. (Van Berkum, J.J.A. 1996. The psycholinguistics of grammatical gender: Studies in language comprehension and production.) So if in doubt, go with "de". Apparently this is what kids do when they learn Dutch -- until age 6 or so they often use "de" with singular neuter nouns by mistake. (Van der Velde, M. 2004. L'acquisition des determinants en L1: une etude comparative entre le Francais et le Neerlandais.)

Be careful, however: "het" can also be a pronoun, "it", used to refer to back to a neuter gender noun that has been previously mentioned.


Bedankt! A very interesting article.


Or to a noun that has not been mentioned yet.


Note 100% sure what is wrong with : "I read aloud a book to her?"


It's a grammatically incorrect sentence. If you wanted to include 'aloud', it would have to be placed after 'book' or after 'her'. But why would you even add 'aloud'? "I read a book to her." already means that you're reading out loud. It would be different if you were reading to yourself, then there would potentially be different options of reading silently or out loud. When reading to another person, there is no option.


Could "Ik lees een boek aan haar" be another way to say "I read a book to her" or do you have to specify that it's out loud?


You need to include 'voor' at the end of the sentence, since the verb is 'voorlezen'.

In Dutch you have two separate verbs (as far as I know) for what in English we just call 'read':

  • 'lezen': silent reading, reading to yourself, so to speak.

-'voorlezen': reading aloud, ehen you read to someone else.

So, even when in English including 'aloud' would be redundant, in Dutch you need to include "voor" because it is a part of a distinctive verb, and not something that you just add.

At leasr, that's how I understand it.


Sorry, 'least', typo :P


Another typo: 'when', not 'ehen' :P


I thought it was a book ABOUT her.


"Ik lees haar een boek voor".. Is this correct??


It's correct! ;)


So... the 'aan' is not necessary here? I didn't quite get the change it makes


This sentence is a cluster ❤❤❤❤.


is it same like vorlesen in german?


I'm pretty sure it is.


" I read her a book " ! Aloud ?


"I am reading her a book" why is it marked wrong?


I guess the corresponding sentence in German would use dative "ihr" in place of "aan haar". Can any German native speaker confirm?


I am not native German, but yes Dative "ihr" is English "to her" which is Dutch "aan haar" http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-allemand/to%20her http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum2.htm

Interestingly there is a preposition "an" in German which can mean "at" "on" or "to" in English. (Other German prepositions can also mean "to".) http://german.about.com/library/blcase_dat2.htm I wonder if there is a way to say that in German using a preposition? http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/allemand-anglais/an I think it is a false friend. I don't remember any lesson showing a prepositional version of this particular Dative construction. We should ask a German in the German discussion page. https://www.duolingo.com/topic/67


I don't know if it helps nor if i got right what exactly you would like to know but in austria we would translate the sentence like : ich lese ihr ein Buch vor


Which would literally be in dutch: ik lees haar een boek voor. So the structure of the sentence seems quite different


"Ik lees haar een boek voor" looks like a correct translation. It is less used, but still correct dutch.


Is the "voor" at the end really necessary to make this sentence or is it to have more emphasize?


The main verb is "voorlezen" (to read aloud) not JUST "lezen" (to read). It's a compound verb and so you have to put the prefix (voor) at the end for grammatical reasons. Check out the rest of the comments above to get a better understanding.


Great. Thanks for the explanation!


Voorlezen means read aloud. But when I typed "I read aloud a book to her", it was not accepted. Any knows why?


Please read the comment monkey47 posted just above yours. She/he explains precisely this same question: aloud should be placed either after the direct object or after the indirect object, not after the verb.


Besides the fact that adding 'aloud' here is redundant.


So direct object AND indirect object go between the verb? If so does this always happen?


Almost: they always go between the verb and the adverbial particle (some people call it a preposition, but as far as I know it's an adverbial particle modifying the meaning of the verb).

And you got it right: the adverbial particle of separable verbs is always placed at the end of the clause.


I read a book for her


No, that's not what this sentence means. Reading something for someone means that they don't fo a thing, they are not even listening.

When you read to someone, they are paying attention.

Voorlezen means the latter (read 'aloud' to someone).


Typo: 'do', not 'fo'.


Ok, what am I missing here? At first I tried "I read a book for her," and got it wrong. Am I correct in assuming that this phrase is in present tense, and the way I wrote it would be past tense?


No, the problem is the meaning. The sentence is in the present tense (the past tense of lezen is lazen).

But reading for someone means that they are not doing anything, not even listening.

'Voorlezen' means 'read aloud', so... 1) You can only read 'aloud' TO someone, and 2) when you read aloud, the person to whom you are reading is supposed to pay attention.


So, it should have been 'I read a book TO her"/"I read her a book."

[deactivated user]

    Will it be accepted if I answer "I read a book to her aloud?"


    Yes, it's accepted! :)


    What does mean 'aan haar voor ' in this sentence ?


    'Aan haar' means 'to her' in this sentence. 'Voor' is part of the verb 'voorlezen', what means 'to read (to someone else)'. So 'aan haar voorlezen' means reading to her.


    Could you say: "Ik lees een boek voor haar"?


    No, because that would mean: I read a book for her, like I would go shopping for her. "Voor" in the translation of doing somebody a favour.


    Shouldn't I read a book to her be accepted also?


    its hard to understand this finite verb sentence, but it will be much easier to understand if it changes into infinite verb sentence "Ik wil een boek aan haar voorlezen"


    Can I Say: Ik ga aan haar een boek voorlezen?


    Can English translation be, " I read a book to her?"


    Oh, common! Don't make your life so complicated. Just say "Ik lees een boek voor haar". Same meaning.


    Would it be correct if we say"ik lees haar een boek voor"? The same sentence in german" ich lese ihr ein Buch vor"


    If "lees voor" is read aloud, then why is there no "aloud" option to choose on the app?


    Please read the above thread. There are plenty of explanations why "aloud" doesn't work in this sentence.


    Hardly surprising that I got a typo when the only option for "to" was spelled "two"!!!


    "I read a book for her" should be accepted. It has the same meaning in English as "I read a book to her"


    Not necessarily: "I read a book for her" implies that I am doing it for her because she cannot for some reason and I could be reading to someone else for her.

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