"I am behind you."
Translation:Ik ben achter je.
I know this might sound stupid, but what is a preposition? That never got covered when I was in middle school and high school, and until I got interested in learning Dutch almost 3 years ago, I really didn't have much need or much interest in fussing about fine grammatical distinctions and terminology. Now it seems, that I really do need it, and in my experience, grammar books tend not to take the basics for granted such as what the heck is a (fill in blank), when are you required to use it, when is it a good idea to use it, and when should you not use it. In other words, you really don't get a conceptual overview.
Non-trivial translations are not a matter of correct translations and wrong translations. Rather about closer and more free translations. English and Dutch have different ways to indicate location, which both look very curious seen from the other language. However that might be, it means you can't use a word-wise translation; you have to translate the meaning.
The expression "I am behind you?"(Oh, where?) / "Ik sta achter je." ("I stand behind you.") is slightly non-standard, in that standard positional verb is "zitten" (to sit). That it uses "staan", is probably because of physically forming groups: The speaker who is behind the object, really takes a place there, in case of confrontations.
So, while translating separate words doesn't do very much, here, it's not that difficult to understand what the best translation would be.
Hi RyanBarker, it might help to know that in Dutch there are other verbs that can be translated as the appropriate form of 'be' - they are staan (to stand), zitten (to sit), liggen (to lie [down]), and worden (to become).
The verb is used as a replacement for zijn, and how something is placed gives a clue at which verb to use - a bottle is (stands) on the table, the book is (lies) on the chair, and something is (sits) in my bag, and also something is (stands) in the newspaper. I hope this helps.
You conjugate the verb to match the subject. Check out the information available if you scroll down a bit on the Basics 2 lesson webpage for some more information, but basically it goes like this:
Note that in cases where "jij bent" is inverted, the -t is removed from bent:
"Jij bent gelukkig. Ben jij gelukkig?" ("You are happy. Are you happy?")
I'm not sure exactly what exercise you had, but what you did seems quite correct. The problem with the solution we have on this page, is that going from English "I am behind you." the standard translation gives "Ik ben achter je.". That Dutch translation is rather uncommon, saying something like "I am somewhere in the throng behind you.". That is: It uses "ben" (am/to be) which is more specific than "zit" (sit/to sit), but it doesn't mention a recognisable position.
So, just to get this straight, we got the German nautical terminology Achterdeck from Dutch, where it literally refers to the hind deck? Assuming that Deck stays the same in English, I am unfortunately not erudite in the construction of ships. But it's a great help to tell where it is located.