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  5. "He thinks he is somebody, bu…

"He thinks he is somebody, but he is nobody."

Translation:Hij denkt dat hij iemand is, maar hij is niemand.

October 23, 2014



Hahaha nice trap here; in Enlgish the word "that" is not always necessary but in Dutch it is and I'm sure many peope didn't write it, including myself :)


Misschien omdat hij een schaap is....


Of dat hij een appel is..


So I understand word order for 'hij iemand is' but what's the rule in case of the second part of the clause 'maar hij is niemand'? Why is it not 'maar hij niemand is'?


Because 'maar' is one of the few coordinating conjunctions, and these don't change the word order the way the subordinating conjunctions do. Here's the Duo link to the info: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/dn/Conjunctions-1%3A-Coordinating/tips-and-notes


Could you explain why is the word order 'Hij iemand is' ?


If 'dat' is required in the dutch sentence, how come 'that' is missing from the english

  • 5

Because "dat" is required here in Dutch, but optional in English? I'm not sure what the problem is.


No problem, if it's required it's required. I just missed 'dat' when I did answered it and wondered if there was a reason 'dat' was needed.


The problem is that wth 'dat', the English should be "He thinks THAT he is somebody.."


Technically, yes, but we often omit the 'that', so it's perfectly correct not to include it in the English version.


But we should never misquote the phrase: "He thinks that he is A somebody, but he is A nobody."


I'm translating an English sentence which does NOT contain 'that' into a Dutch one. The Dutch result DOES contain 'dat'. So either put the THAT into the English sentence, or take the DAT out of the Dutch one. Be consistent.

  • 39

Unfortunately, you often cannot translate word-for-word. In English, it is very natural to omit "that", and in Dutch you cannot omit "dat".


I think Merrie's point is the salient one, but in any case the 'that' is implied in the English sentence. Grammatically, it begins the subordinate clause.

I think it's good it's not included, because it makes us (well, me, anyway) think about how to translate the sentence without it being there -- and to realise that I do have to include it in the Dutch sentence. It's these little differences that are important for us to all get our heads around if we want to learn to speak or write the language well.


The problem is that the english translation should be "He thinks that he is A somebody, but he is A nobody".


The article to indicate "specific" is required: "A"


Can we say:

Hij denkt dat hij iets is, maar hij is niets.

Do they convey the same meaning?

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