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"It is the man's book."

Translation:Det är mannens bok.

3 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/GC1998
GC1998
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Where do you use det/den? I thought you used den with -en words.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush
Hashmush
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It is hard to explain, but I'll give it a try. (Someone else, please help me!)

The difference is pretty subtle but I'll give two examples. First off, yes, bok is an -en word so you should use den together with it. But this is a different case:

  • "Vems bok är det här? Det är mannens bok" (Who's book is this? It's the man's book)
  • "Vilken är mannens bok? Den är mannens bok!" (Which one is the man's book? That is the man's book) (Said while pointing at it)

I think the first one uses det because we are talking about something without specifying what it is first, so we don't know whether to use den or det. At least that's how it feels to me. Hopefully someone can expand upon my answer

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RobinHersom

You've pretty much said it. Using 'det' in this context is called the formal subject, and it's used when the real subject of the sentence is postponed - i.e., pushed later into the sentence. So, as you said, we don't yet know what's being talked about, so we always use 'det'.

It's difficult to explain with a sentence like "It is the man's book", because that is the only available construction - "The man's book is" doesn't make sense. An easier example would be something like: "A dog is in the kitchen/En hund är i koket". If we reconstruct it as "There is a dog in the kitchen" it becomes "Det är en hund i koket", because until the subject "en hund" is revealed to us, how can we know what grammatical gender it has?

It exists in French and German as well - "il y à" always takes the masculine gender, and "es gibt" is always neuter. It's in English too, as "it/there is", although the issue is less clear because English doesn't have gendered pronouns for objects.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush
Hashmush
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Tack! This is pretty much what I expected.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RyanED

My answer was: "Det är mannens bok." Would: "Bocken är mannens." have worked there too?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush
Hashmush
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"Boken är mannens" works, but doesn't feel as natural as "Det är mannens bok".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RyanED

Yeah it doesn't sound so great it English either. "The book is the man's." Thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SzymonRuci
SzymonRuci
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Why there's no reading sound for 'mäns'?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IPQikYiU

Why does the definite article that is attached to "book" form with the possessive instead?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush
Hashmush
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Sorry, I don't understand the question. Could you try to rephrase it please?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IPQikYiU

The sentence translates: It is the man's book. The predicate nominative is "book" and "man's" is merely performing as a possessive modifying "book." But "man's" requires the definite article in its formation while book does not. A definite article is a modifier for a nominative construction, in this case, the predicate nominative, "book." The sentence can be read: "It is the book," but not "It is the man's," which is not a sentence. So, "the" should be included in the formation of "book," not "man."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush
Hashmush
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Okay, I get it now. First of all, I don't know why it looks like that. Secondly, I analyze the English sentence as "It is (the man)'s book", compared to your "It is the (man's book)". I don't know who is right, but my version clearly resembles the Swedish sentence (which might be because I'm a native speaker).

My guess however is that it has to do with the subject "Det". Compare the following two:

  • Det är mannens bok. It is the man's book.
  • Boken är mannens. The book is the man's.

Note how the translations match.

One final thought, *"Det är boken." is not correct as a complete sentence.

I hope I managed to clear something up at least.

1 year ago