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  5. "Zij hebben of koffie of theeā€¦

"Zij hebben of koffie of thee."

Translation:They have either coffee or tea.

October 29, 2014



Why is "they are having either coffee or tea" incorrect


I'd also like to know why, anyone? :)


The English phrase "They are having..." means that they are ordering or drinking the beverage. The Dutch sentence doesn't have that meaning, it tells you only that they have the tea or coffee.


Such a fine hair you are splitting there... as a native English speaker, either case implies the state of "possessing" coffee or tea though when ordering we can also say "They are having champagne at that table." 'To have' in English is maybe similar to the French Prener such as "Je prend une cigarette" it implies not only taking and enjoying the cigarette, but also implies possession.


I wrote "They have coffee or tea," which seems to me to have captured the essence of the original Dutch sentence, but it was marked wrong anyway. Is the word "either" required to bring the same level of stress to the concept of "one or the other but not both?"


It seems that by saying they have coffee or tea means they can choose to have one or the other, but they have either coffee or tea sounds more authorative.


The Dutch "of...of" should be dealt with more intensely! It is after all a rather unique communication pattern!


The "of..of.." is to make it clear that just one of these options will be available. But here you can just translate "either...or" into "of...of". I don't really understand your question so if anything remains unclear feel free to ask.


"So you either do the one thing either the other" <-- this does not sound like a proper sentence. Hence my inquiry about explaining to people estrange to the language what the "of....of...." part really means. I live with a Dutch guy who now says sentences like "or you do this or you do that", and it sounds rather confusing! :)


Your Dutch friend translates it incorrectly. It should be either...or. The sentence represents a choice between two alternatives. Imagine moving to a small apartment and you have to decide whether you put a closet or a table in the room, because only one item fits. You put either a closet or a table in the room. 'Je zet of een kast of een tafel in de kamer'. The example from your room mate probably suggest you have to make a choice between two activities because you cannot do both. You either do this or that, (but not both). Je doet of dit of dat, (maar niet beide).


Okay, we agree on the case itself :-) I understand the logic, but I would strongly suggest that this "or...or" case will be written down in the tips (if it has not been done) to illuminate people. I don't know any other language that has the "or....or" sentence structure!


It's not that uncommon: "o l'uno o l'altro". http://www.wordreference.com/enit/either%20or


Portuguese is also "of ... of...": "ou...ou..."


I agree with my handsome friend nullusaum below (or above even). English is more of the exception than anything.


Same in Latin "aut ... aut".


We use "o......o......" in Spanish too :-))


Jeah, and also "bien... bien..." or "ya.... ya.....". But those are really formal, so people don't use them in everyday Spanish.


I looked up the direct translation of either and it came up as "ofwel". I was wonder when you would use this. Could you say "Zij hebben ofwel koffie of thee" or would you use 'ofwel' in a different situation?


'Of' is short for 'ofwel' ;)

But 'ofwel' is very old fashioned, so I would definitely stick to 'of'.


Ok! Thanks! Poor ofwel is a bit archaic now I guess... :'(


If the sentence changed to a negation sentence, would the english translation becomes "they have either coffee nor tea."? Also, I would really thankful if someone's willing to right down the negation sentence for it in Netherlands. Dankuwel :D


The negative would be 'They have neither coffee nor tea'. The Dutch translation would be 'Ze hebben noch koffie noch thee' or omit the first 'noch', which is more used: 'Ze hebben koffie noch thee.'

[deactivated user]

    What does "Of" means??? "either" or "or".??


    "Of .. of" is "either .. or". "Of" by itself means "or" or "whether".

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