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  5. "Het boek gaat over muizen."

"Het boek gaat over muizen."

Translation:The book is about mice.

August 2, 2014



Ahh. I thought it said "the book goes over the mice" - I was worried there for the poor things...


I'm not saying that duo should accept the literal translation, but you can finesse "goes over" in English to mean "is about", though it's more like "explain".


Duolingo absolutely should accept the literal translation; I talk like that all the time. The metaphor works as well in English as in Dutch.


I think it would help a lot of people get use to how sentences are spoken in a different culture. I'm learning Dutch, not English. There should be a button that you can click on and off that marks you wrong if you don't do literal translation and then when you want to learn where duo counts it for points you just click the button off.


That'd be a great idea!


Not to mention that the expression is the exact same in German "Das Buch geht über Mäuse" so it may be familiar to some learners who aren't native in English


Are you sure it is "the exact same"? My understanding is that German would say: Im Buch geht es um ...".


Don't worry prepositions are just used differently in languages (even similar ones like English and Dutch).


So, in English we can say "We will go over this point next week". I wonder if the Dutch use has the same origins as the English.

A difference is, however, in this sentence we'd want to include 'the topic', so "The book goes over the topic of mice." So perhaps English has changed enough that the use of 'go over' needs clarifying, while not sufficiently to make 'go over' wrong.


Eh, I think in some cases (like this one) it probably should clarify that, but sometimes it doesn't need to. For example, "This book goes over the fundamentals of physics."


Well I don't think I would ever use "go over" in the context of a book. "Go over" is for spoken discussion. "We went over the minutes of the last meeting." "The teacher is going over the lesson plan." But a book never "goes over" something. A book "is about" something.


Google the phrase "the book goes over". It is a phrase that is used, even if you don't use it yourself. Google is your friend in circumstances where you want to check if a phrase is in common use - it is far more reliable than gut instinct.


Just because a lot of people use an expression and you can find it on Google does not mean that expression is grammatically correct. In my experience, nothing is worse than learning something wrong because you pick it up from others who are saying it wrong.


That is exactly what makes things not wrong.

[deactivated user]

    Too bad that's not how languages work. You can read more about the properties of natural languages.


    The way human learns their first language is by picking it up from others. If a sizable proportion of speakers say it one way, and the rest say it another, this means that two variants exist. One variant might be preferred, but that doesn't make the other one wrong.


    I don't think I need to check the use of a phrase for a language I've been speaking all my life, thank you. I'm merely saying that as a native speaker of English I would never use the phrase "the book goes over mice", that sounds like a non-native speaker translating an expression directly from their native language into English. I would instead say "the book is about mice" or maybe if it was something less general "the book covers mice physiology/anatomy". "The book goes over x" is not a construction I have ever heard any English speaker ever say. Not in California, not in New York or Washington, not in London, not in Wales. If you live somewhere where native (first-language) English speakers use that construction then that's a different story, but if someone was to say something like that my first assumption would be that they aren't a native English speaker.


    I have been teaching English as a Foreign Language for 13 years, and I am used to using various tools for assessing if something is natural English. I currently teach English for Academic Purposes to university students. I also speak English as my first language. And I have a masters degree in philosophy. I know of what I speak.

    From the first page of the Google search for "the book goes over":

    "The book goes over the information quite thoroughly"

    "Finally that last part of the book goes over the process he goes through when"

    "First, the book goes over how to determine how much money you need"

    "First, the book goes over how to determine how much money you need to raise."

    "The rest of the book goes over how to make nigiri"

    "The book goes over specific foods that pros eat"

    "The final third on the book goes over the syntax in Java"

    "The book goes over how to eat, what to eat"

    "The second half of the book goes over more high level design"

    "The book goes over the things that the little girl and her grandfather like to "

    Those are all natural English speaker sentences.

    Perhaps the next time you feel the need to correct someone else's English you might bother to check out whether or not your intuition is right or wrong first.


    If I were discussing this with more advanced students, I might nuance it a little. The book is about mice. It goes over their care and feeding as pets. The book is about mice. The book goes over the differences between the habitats and behaviors of the grasshopper mice and the pocket mice of the Sonoran Desert.
    Is about is more general, the broad subject of the book, and could be used in both instances. Goes over is for the more specific subject matter or content of the book, as shown in most of the examples given, and might sound a little odd as an answer to a casual question about a book.

    My question would be, would Dutch use the same construction for both?


    I concur with you as to the distinction between "the book is on" and "the book goes over." Noticing that "The book goes over mice" is still not accepted years later, perhaps the question can be rephrased: How would one say, "The book goes over mice" in Dutch?


    You realise you qualified every single example you used there?

    "THE SUBJECT OF..." "HOW..."

    Nobody at any point in English ever says the book goes over "noun". And that's the point being made. The book is about mice... No problem The book goes over caring for /catching /feeding mice also no problem.

    Mice on its own IS a problem and if you teach English, then I can't imagine that you allow your students to use the phrase in that manner and if you do allow your students to use the phrase in that manner, you're not doing them any favours.


    Yes, you do. Some phrases may be more common in some circles or with some groups. I'm also a native American English speaker, mostly Arizona and some New England and I have absolutely said "X goes over Y" just like this example.


    Yep you are right. Absolutely right! But the literal translation is not what is being taught. The abstract translation is being taught. In the same sense that: " My finger runs along the sentence "...My book goes over (the words "the topic" is not required/it is understood by implication/implied) mice.
    Maybe you will agree with me when I say, I think the forum has become too unsafe with egotistical showoffs to foster learning, however I hope you will continue to add your comments and I too will try to withstand the very informative overjustifications for people's opinions. I came here to find out about this new phrase and learned all about it...and more... Please keep adding your comments? And I do mean "Thank you for your contribution to my learning Dutch".


    We might say "covers".


    geht um...I feel like a dumb...


    You're not a dumb person if you've gotten that far with learning other languages.


    Is this typically how you would say "the book is about mice" in Dutch? It seems as if the literal translation is more like "the book goes over mice", and there is a difference in English between "about" (implying the entire book is about mice) and "goes over" (implying that various topics, including mice, are covered by the book).


    The fast version of this sentence is garbled, it needs to be re-recorded


    I'm guessing that except of young courses like latin right now most courses have kind of an advanced text to speech computer generated voice output. That might be the reason for some weirdly mumbled sentences flibbedy flopped letters in between. Thus they have to refine the algorithm in those instanced instead of simply re-recording. Correct me if I'm wrong here please ^^


    how do you say "the car goes over the speed bump" then?


    Dutch gaat over seems more like English is about or concerns whereas English goes over suggests to me describes, explains, rehearses; in other words, it is more concerned with detail than with theme.


    It's not grammatically correct to say "the book goes over mice" unless you mean "is placed over" you can say "the book goes over the subject/the topic of mice" but it needs to be qualified. The book goes over mice means something else entirely.


    Can I just say "het boek is over muizen"?


    (Native here) No, that sentence does not have any meaning in Dutch.


    So if I want to say "the book is (dangling) over the mice" (quite strange, though), can I say Het boek is over de muizen?


    No, it would still be "Het boek gaat over de muizen".


    So gaat here is an abstract verb which is more subtle than "(physically) go ", right?


    over gaan or gaan over is a verb or something like that???


    Yes, it means to have to do with or to be about, literally "to go over" but in a figurative sense. e.g. "The lecture goes over the history of the Netherlands."


    Could this sentence be used both for fiction books and for nonfiction books? Or is it only suitable for nonfiction (like schoolbooks, lexicons etc.)?

    I think "overgaan" is another verb? It is not actually the word that is used here? http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/go.php?T1=overgaan&Submit=Go&D1=24&H1=124


    Can be any book: gaat over indicates the topic just like the English is about.

    The verb here is gaan and not overgaan


    Thank you! Then it is like I thought. (Though I think this contradicts another comment by John above here. Or maybe not. As long as we agree it is not a verb here, I guess it is ok.)


    With overgaan, it would have been "het boek gaat muizen over" instead of "het boek gaat over muizen". And I guess that could be translated by "the book is passing (some) mice". Maybe they're racing together. Maybe it's a very fast book. We will never know....


    I can't hear the plural ending on ‘muizen’ at all.


    How to know when to use a proper preposition in a sentence (?) I mean, we use "gaat" to describe about what-is-the-book-telling-about. We use "zit" or "zitten" to describe that we are eating (example: wij zitten aan het avondeten). How to know when to use the proper preposition for a certain action or a certain thing? :D


    The examples you cite (gaat/zit) are verbs, not prepositions.

    To answer your question, in many cases you just have to learn/memorize how a language uses its prepositions and verbs.

    But there is usually a certain logic. For example, in your avondeten example, "zitten" does not really mean "eat", as you claim. You could more literally translate the sentence as "We sit down to dinner", which works just fine in English.

    No need to create difficulties and problems for yourself!


    This phrase does not make sense in english


    The literal translation of this sentence to English wouldn't make sense, although you can say that a book goes over something that is not the meaning of the phrase in Dutch. Just like in Spanish, when you say "El libro va sobre ratones", it means "The book is about mice", and it shouldn't be translated as "goes over" because that is not the meaning of the sentence in either language.


    why not "talks about" it is also a translation


    I don't know the expression "to go over something" so I wrote "the book deals with mice". Why is this sentence false ? Thank you !


    Talks about is also good... This story talks about ...... that is what pupils are taught at school


    For me, a literal translation would be far, far, better. I would rather spend time learning how the Dutch put their scentences together, rather than to spend time figuring out the 'correct' English translation.


    Listening exercise is not possible in these days


    So here 'go over' is regarding the subject of the book, right? In Dutch is there an 'about' word? Like in 'tell me more about it'?


    about = over
    Tell me more about him = Vertel me meer over hem
    Tell me more about it = Vertel me er meer over

    (Note that Dutch uses "over hem" when the object of the preposition "over" is a person, but uses the pronomial adverb "erover" when the object is a thing. Here the adverb "erover" gets split into "er" and "over".)


    Can you also say: "Het boek is over muizen"?

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