https://www.duolingo.com/helenvee

Ist ihnen schlecht?

Duolingo translates this as "Are they sick?" but "ihnen" shouldn't have "ist", should it? Is this a German idiomatic form?

September 21, 2012

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/IdontKnow

That's because "ihnen" is not the subject of the sentence in the german version. It is the Indirect Object, that's why it is Dativ ("ihnen" instead of "sie"), it means "to/with them" not "they".

The confusing thing with this sentence is that the subject is not shown, a very uncommon situation in German. The full version would be "Ist (es) ihnen schlecht?" = "Is (something) wrong with them?"

September 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/giodec

I think a good translation could also be "Sind sie Krank?", isn't it?

September 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/kragi

We discussed this about a week ago in two longer threads. But I haven't searched for the links.

September 21, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/helenvee

Thanks for that, Idontknow. I see that it was the lack of subject that confused me.

September 22, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/helenvee

Thanks, Kragi. I'll have a look for the link.

September 22, 2012
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