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Help / advice on Adverbs 1 and above?

Hi Duolingo and mid-level German users,

I've been plugging my way through the Duolingo tree. But just after Adverbs, 1 I seem to have fallen off a cliff. The next two topics have been long and not at all polished--I'm getting at least one or two "Thanks! fixed" feedback emails per lesson. Usually these are for really basic things, such as "Sie" sentences translated as "they" but not "You" or vice versa. But there are many more translations I'm not sure about. For example, right now I'm working on modal verbs--which give me a headache in any case--and "Alles soll ich machen" is translated as "I must do everything." Shouldn't that be, "I should do everything"?? I'm increasingly worried that memorizing Duolingo's suggested translations is more confusing than productive.

I am reaching the limits of my German here too...and on top of it all, there are no more questions posted within the units so I can't tell if others are having the same problems or not (questions--this one for example--just get directed to "German"). And yes, I could post a question every time I have one, but I feel like I need some more general advice. Should I give this a break and come back in a few months when the path has been smoothed over by more of you with besser Deutschkentnisse than I? Or should I forge ahead, confident that Duolingo's suggested translations are pretty solid?

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, confetti

September 8, 2012



In my opinion, lesson quality is so poor in the latter half of the German course that you might be better off finding some other method to study. I still continue with Duolingo, but mostly out of a fascination with the software itself, not from the belief that it's still a great method of learning.

By the way, it's not just the German course that has problems with declining lesson quality, see http://duolingo.com/#/comment/37753


About the translation of "soll" there has been extensive discussion. I would say "I must ..." because the person feels obliged/compelled to do so. It is the classic complaint of a mom who wants her children to pitch in, doing household chores.


As has been previously said, it's sometimes hard to capture subtle differences in meaning when translating. "Soll" could be translated as "should" or "supposed to" or "ought". There is also "sollte", which is subjunctive, akin to other modal subjunctive forms like "würde, möchte", etc. Sollte can also be translated as "should" or "ought", but I would say it has more a sense of something that you should do, but are perhaps not doing, whereas "soll" has more a sense of obligation.


Thanks everybody, I'm not getting an answer to my underlying question but these are really helpful answers nonetheless! I will find some other exercises on use of modal verbs, as it sounds like the single-sentence translations in the Duolingo exercises just aren't sufficient to help me learn the subtleties of meaning involved there. And @bel99, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts as you progress through the units. I was, as I said, plugging along...no it wasn't perfect but it was great practice...and then came this set of units that were just too, too murky. But you are right, as more users go through they should get better--even a few days off seems to have helped a bit for me. And with that, back to modal verbs... ;)

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