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  5. "Aber ich konnte es nicht fin…

"Aber ich konnte es nicht finden."

Translation:But I could not find it.

September 26, 2014



Why does this skill contain a sentence in past tense which is taught no less than 10 skills after this one? Moreover, "können" is an irregular verb that is introduced in this skill and I barely had a chance to learn its conjugation - "konnte" therefore makes it quite confusing.


Yeah, them mixing in this past tense interpretation of this conjugation along with the subjunctive interpretations is making this rather confusing.


I haven't learned anything about preterite yet, wtf lol


I thought in German the verb must take the 2nd place? Why it is not the case here?


Because "aber" is considered by German as a "zeroeth-place" preposition (together with "und", "sondern", "durch" and "oder"), and so you don't count them while checking the position of the subjects and verbs.


Ah I see, thanks a lot!


And I would say that that is because such words as "aber" and "und" are conjunctions, right?


But the actual verb of this sentence is "finden"... at the end where they belong when an auxiliary (which konnte is-- it means the modal "could") is employed.

  • 1167

Why isn't it "Aber ich konnte nicht es finden?"


When you have a conjugated verb and an infinitive at the end, the nicht tends to go before the infinitive verb at the end. Here is an article that might help with deciding where nicht goes



Shouldn't "I couldn't find it, however" also be allowed?


"Aber" is defined as "but", not "however" so even if in English usage they are basically equivalent, translating as precisely as possible is the goal here.


Couldn't and cannot aren't at least "alternative" English translations?


Not really. Couldn't suggests one has completed an effort unsuccessfully. Cannot, at least implies that for the time being you are not being successful, but does not concede the quest is finished yet. A lot of verbiage there; but in technical terms while "couldn't" and "can't" might be used by some interchangeably, they, in the purest sense of grammar are not equivalent verbs--there is a distinction from the one to the other.


So could one complete the sentence like so . . . "Ich wollte dir eine Geschenke machen, aber ich konnte es nicht finden."?

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