"- Finns det ingen mat? - Jo det gör det."

Translation:- Is there no food? - Yes there is.

December 4, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Is there no food? Yes there is? Is this as ambiguous in Swedish as it is in English?


Could you explain how it's ambiguous in English?


"Is there no food? Yes, there is (no food)." is probably the alternative reading "brando2600 had in mind. I don't think this would be the most common interpretation, but it's possible.


Would it really be possible to interpret it that way if you just said "Yes there is"? Oh well, it just sounds very odd to me. Anyway Jo is unambiguously a positive (contradictory) answer to a negative question in Standard Swedish, so it would not be possible to misunderstand here.


It would sound odd to me too, but "yes there is" as an answer to "Is there no food" would also be odd. I think one would more commonly say either "yes, there is food" or just "there is food" or "no (you're mistaken) there is food." It's hard to answer English questions with negative presuppositions with either just a "yes" or "no" without risk of being misunderstood, so, mostly, in English the answer would be more fully spelled out. But good to know that Swedish has a better solution!


I wonder if "jo" is in Swedish like the word "doch" is in German. In German you can have a short or very long sentence making whatever supposition, usually in the negative, and then just use "doch" to express the contrary. E.g. The children have no food. "Doch" , i.e. they have food. E.g. You don't like it when i have friends over for dinner and we play games. "Doch" = I like all of that.


@Tamarata2: Yes, that's the way "jo" is used.


We absolutely do this in English, but we usually use tone to do it. "Yes there is" can be said with a certain inflection to indicate a contrary statement.


How about. "Not so. There is food." Just avoid yes in English.


This reminds me of "si" in French, which is either used to answer positively a negative question, like: "Il n'y a pas de nourriture ? - Si !" ("Is there no food? - Yes!"), or to affirm the contrary to what someone just said, like when children argue: "Non ! - Si !" ("No! - Yes!"), which sound like similar usages to me as a native speaker. Is it the same in Swedish?


isn't it like "si" in french?


Yes, it works the same way.


When you say "positive contradictory answer" what do you mean? Do you mean when you are answering "yes" to a "no" question -- "aren't you coming? Yes I'm coming." Vs. "Is that a banana? Yes that is a banana"

Am I near the ball park?


Hitting a home run, even. :)


Just because I sometimes obsess over details, the idiom is "Am I in the ballpark?"


@JYH: Pretty sure they know and they're asking if they're at least close to the right answer if not right at it. :)


It is unambiguous because the answer is "Yes, there is.". If one had stopped at "Yes!", it might mean your assumption that "There is no food" is correct. Still, the answer "Yes!" to such a question is colloquial and not proper English. The correct answer is either: "No, there is none" or "Yes, there is [some]". Again, in this case, adding "there is", removes the ambiguity as "there is" means "there is some[thing]" otherwise you have to explicitly add a negative like "none" or "nothing", e.g. "Yes, there is nothing!"


I would prefer "no, there is food"

No (you are incorrect), there is (food).


*or "Yes there is"


Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!


Do you mean if you agree to a negative question? I think we would say "nej" in Swedish, which is logically incorrect I suppose.

– Finns det ingen mat?
– Nej, det gör det inte. (Here you agree, there is no food.)


I think in English a lot of time we would say "no" too - "nope, there isn't any food"!


We would answer the same way in Bulgarian.


Why "jo" not "ja"


You are contradicting a negative question. Compare to:
- Finns det någon mat?
- Ja, det gör det.


Good question Looking for good answer


"Ja" is the normal yes. "Jo" is only used while answering a negative question.


Helen already answered it, though.


I enjoyed this discussion. As to how it's ambiguous, I remember hearing an old, old (American) song for the first time as a child: "Yes, we have no bananas..." and puzzling over it endlessly. My father used to sing it when he wanted to confound his children, I suppose.

Perhaps its confusion is the implied contradiction when one hasn't learned that positives and negatives can be confusing and that not everything is black or white.

For fun, Wikipedia has the full history (it goes back to the 1920s, a banana trade war) and YouTube has endless versions of the song through the decades since. I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane, thank you. ;-)_


I often play that song on piano at nursing homes. It's a favorite.

I like the Swedish use of ''jo'' to refute negative statements. It seems it is more complicated to answer a negative in English, and relies on how we emphasize our words. We would much rather answer the question, ''Is there any food?'' If I hear ''Is there no food?'' the speaker suspects there is not, and will follow with ''Why isn't there any?'' or ''Then, go get some!''


I think we would normally phrase it differently in English - 'Is there any food?' But 'Is there no food?' still makes perfect sense, albeit it is an uncommon phrase.


I think one would usually ask that way in Swedish too: Finns det någon mat? But we needed some short negative questions, i.e. questions that assume a negative answer, and they aren't that easy to come up with.


I must be a challenge to teach "jo" in the course, since you need two sentences (out of context) for that, one question and one answer :).


I've been getting these in the strengthen sections and haven't seen the PC versions so only now fully understood it. Yay! Thanks for that :-)


Dear Helen, kan the other form of negative question get the same positive answer? ,,,,Finns det inte inga mat,,,,jo det finns någon


I mentally translated it to, "Isn't there any food?" Which rings true to me - we just move the negative in the sentence to modify "is" instead of "food".


How does det gör det work?


"Det gör det" ~ "That it does".

In the same way:
- Kan du spela piano? - Ja, det kan jag.
- Regnar det? - Nej, det gör det inte.


For the first question's response, it looks like its translated as "Yes, I can", but it looks like a literal translation of "Yes, that I can". Is "det" just filler?


Yes, it's a filler, like a formal subject (like it in It rains, except it's not a subject).


This makes sense to me. But the way it is used in this exercise sounds like: "Is there no food? Yes it does." Rather than "...Yes there is". Would it be possible to say in Swedish "Jo, det finns det"?


Sure, that also works.


And would "jo, det är det" or "jo, det är" also be possible?


It didn't ask "is the food not fresh?". It asked if the food exists. That different use of the word "is" translates to finns and not to är.


Positive answer to a negative question.


In my understanding it works a litte like the german "doch".


I will add that I've seen "jo" as a potential vocabulary word in the Questions Lesson, but never got it in an exercise. I have never seen "det gör det" anywhere until until now. My dictionary helped me with "jo". Now - what is up with "det gör det"? "It [does, makes, causes] it."? Göra seems to be one of those slippery verbs that can have colloquial/figurative meaning. Is there a way for me to think about this verb that will help me understand expressions like "det gör det"?


I wrote more about the det gör det structure here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5944292


I think I get it. This reminds me of a more formal/slightly archaic mode of affirmation in English (using your examples):

  • Har du sett henne? - Ja det har jag.
  • Have you seen her? - Yes I have.
  • One could also reply, "Yes, that I have."

  • Talar hon svenska? - Ja det gör hon.

  • Does she speak Swedish? - Yes she does.
  • Yes, that she does.

When I learned French, I came to realize that we who speak American English have dropped many words that "flesh out" entire grammatical constructions. When I looked backwards to an earlier form of the language (specifically Dickens, who never missed an opportunity to use MORE words!), I discovered the missing pieces. Looks like I've fallen victim to the same phenomenon. Guess I'll have to put the Victorian English part of my brain back to work again. Oh no...........


But shouldn't "is" be translated as "är" instead of "gör"?


"Does there exist any food? No, there does not!"
The gör is like does.
Also, är only translates to is for some meanings. Finns is like exists. In English, "Yes, there is!" means "Yes, it exists!" however, "Yes, it is!" means something completly different. Those two uses of is have two different Swedish translations.


Is Jo another form of the word Yes? Is it just used in questions?


It's used for giving a positive answer to negative questions.


I found this strange and confusing, but we used to do it in English as well! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_and_no


Thank you for the interesting link! It's very strange that it was the answers to negative questions (which are less frequent, at least today) that won out.
As for jo, both German and French have special words for this, so it's not a rare phenomenon in European languages.


I was thinking it is a bit like "Ja, doch" in German, right?


Is jo the same as jawel in Dutch?


Thanks! That was really interesting. Did you read about the Swedish "joho" and "nehej"? There is also a "jaha", which means "I see" :).


Yeah, I'm Swedish actually :) It's interesting how many different forms there are of ja, jo and nej :)


Jaha is Norwegian too. I remember visiting my mother's pen pal in Bergen many years ago who used it often, along with "justså" (my attempt at phonetic spelling what sounded like one word). I didn't need to understand Norwegian to know what she meant when she used either word or phrase. :-)


Why do we use "det gör det"? I dont understand why we use gör, and why we say det twice :/


Double "det" is just a special case. Compare to:

Springer han fort? Ja, det gör han. (Yes, he does)
Går hon på bio? Ja, det gör hon. (Yes, she does)
Regnar det? Ja, det gör det. (Yes, it does)

Note that, for modal verbs, we don't use "gör". Instead, the modal verb is repeated, just like in English:

Kan vi vinna valet? Ja, det kan vi. (Yes, we can)


Couldn't 'Is there any food?' a valid translation?


Finns det ingen mat? is a negative question, which sort of presupposes that there is no food. Is there any food? is an open question about whether or not there is any food, and in Swedish it would be Finns det någon mat?


Is there a reason why we can't answer "There's no food?"


'There's no food' is Det finns ingen mat.


I have the same question, would nej det gör det not work to say no there is not?


No there is not would be Nej det gör det inte.


this translation doesn't make sense to me. should it not be 'jo, det finns det'??


Often "gör" is used to refer to the previous verb in a sentence like this.


I got this exercise in the app version as a gap-filler exercise, and I chose "Nej" as an option instead of "Jo".

I got it wrong. Is it maybe because the negative answer would need the "inte" ("Nej det gör det inte")?


Can someone tell me whats the difference between "jo" and "ja" ... And would it be wrong if i put ja instead of jo ?


Yes, it would be wrong with "ja" here, since "jo" is used for contradicting a negative question:
- Finns det mat? - Ja, det gör det.
- Finns det inte mat? - Jo, det gör det.


It is basically like "doch" in German or "si" in French, right?


What is the result now guys. Is there mat?


There is, indeed.


When I lived in Sweden in the early 90s...I do not recall the use of 'yo'...'Yes' would have been my response and what I'd reply. Was I wrong. Why wouldn't this still be acceptable? T


You always use jo for yes in response to a negative question. I'm sorry, but no native would ever use ja here.


  • Finns det någon mat här? = Is there any food here? = positive question
  • Ja, det finns det. = Yes, there is.

To this:

  • Finns det ingen mat här? = Is there no food here? = negative question
  • Jo, det finns det. = Yes, there is.


This entire lesson on questions is by far the most confusing


Is there any food? Yes there is.


Not quite:

  • Is there any food? = Finns det någon mat?
  • Is there no food? = Finns det ingen mat?


I couldn't understand the structure of the answer...


The answer is structured as two sentences. The first asking to confirm if there really is no food and the second replying that there actually is food.


:/ I am confused. In school we learn that we only can use "any" in questions. Why "no" ...


You use e.g. "any" to ask if something exists. You use e.g. "no" to ask if something doesn't exist.


Could "Jo det gör det" be translated as "Of course there is" ?


No, it just says that "yes, there is". You could say jo, självklart, or jo, självklart gör det det, or jo, det gör det självklart, etc.


So is there food or not? I understand the difference in using jo and ja but I don't understand what it's implying.


Yes, there is food. Otherwise, the reply would have been Nej or something like Nej det gör det inte.


Varför svara inte (det finns)?


Why is there two 'det's here?


You know how English could say "that it does"? That's what Swedish does here, but "that" and "it" are both det in Swedish.


Can anyone explain why there are two 'det's used in the answer?


Can someone explain the structure of the second part (the answer)? The 2 instances of "det" and the use of "gör" here. I haven't seen a previous example of this usage. Thanks!


Would "Jo, det finns" (or "Jo, det finns mat") be an acceptable response to "Finns det inga mat"?


Then it would be "Jo, det finns det". And it is ingen mat :).


So what's the difference between Jo and Ja, and where do we use each of them?


"Jo" anwers a negative question. That's the difference.


What is the difference between Ja and Jo?


I C&P my post from 3 months ago:
"Jo" is used for contradicting a negative question:
- Finns det mat? - Ja, det gör det.
- Finns det inte mat? - Jo, det gör det.


Oh, it's like Ja und Doch in german. Tack! :)


Is the Swedish "Jo" comparable with the German "Doch"? (As it also gives a positive answer to a negative question.)


Ja, das stimmt.


Is there any native Spanish speaker here? For me it sounds like the (maybe incorrect) Spanish custom to say : 'no, si ' together , i.e. "¿No hay comida? - No, si hay. (Isn't there any food? No, yes there is. "With NO expressing that the assumption is incorrect and SI saying there is. So 'no si' = jo.


Si te es útil para recordar el uso de 'Jo' por supuesto que puede funcionar. Pero en realidad es como un 'Sí' hacia una pregunta 'negativa'. En español si una pregunta afirmativa se contesta con 'Sí' afirma la pregunta y si una pregunta 'negativa' se contesta con 'No' también afirma dicha pregunta. P.ej. - ¿Te vas a comer eso? Si. (Si se lo va a comer) -¿No te vas a comer eso? No. (No se lo va a comer) En este caso, el 'Jo' funcionaría como si respondieras un 'Sí' a la última pregunta. - ¿No te vas a comer eso? Sí. (Sí se lo va a comer) En este caso el 'Sí' esta 'contradiciendo' la pregunta negativa. Qué según me parece es como funciona 'Jo'. El asunto es que a veces nosotros en español solemos cambiar el sentido de la respuesta con el tono, matiz o acento que le damos a las respuestas. Usamos el tono de Sí en una respuesta de No y vice-versa. Y eso es más bien como un uso avanzado del español... jajaja... En fin. Espero que te sirva, porque vi que este comentario lo pusiste hace tres meses. Igual un saludo y un abrazo... Chau.


Why can't I use Jo Finns as an answer?


If anything it would be "Jo, det finns mat", but what you're learning here is the "short answer".


Okay so I could use both. Another thing I need to ask is why have you inverted finns and det, wouldn't it be finns det?


You can use both, but in normal speech you tend to use the short version. Even if in this particular example it isn't shorter. On a statement the verb always goes on the second place. "Jo" is not part of the statement.


Just a quick observation, in northern sweden "jo" is spoken breathing in the air :)


Why isn't it "Jo det är"


Note also that "Jo, det är" never works. For a question with "är", it works like this:
- Är det inte en katt? - Jo, det är det. (- Isn't it a cat? - Yes, it is.)


Because "är" is not the verb in the question. Because it is "finns", we use the auxiliary verb "gör".


What is the difference between Ja and Jo, i dont understand it here.


"Jo" is used for contradicting a negative question:
- Finns det mat? - Ja, det gör det.
- Finns det inte mat? - Jo, det gör det.
- Finns det ingen mat? - Jo, det gör det.


Hi there, I just wanted to mention how difficult it is to learn this concept since each time this structure appears in testing, it is always in this format. Since the answer is the same each time, it becomes more answer memory than actually helping us to learn this in a way that will help us use this. It would be very helpful if the phrases could be included in translation exercises (particularly in the english to swedish) rather than simply the drop-down with "jo" as the answer.


Sorry if someone has already asked but how am I supposed to know if there is any food or not?

"With a negated question (don't you have …?), you cannot answer ja. You can only answer nej (if you don't have it) or jo (if you do have it)."

I had to choose from "Nej" and "Jo"... How could you guess which one is the right answer?


Because here it doesn't work with nej. You can say the Swedish version of "Yes, it does" or "No, it does not", but you can't say "No, it does" because that's what jo is for. If you saw inte in the answer, you would know they were using nej.


Can we answer " jo det är det" or "jo det är den" ?


Since the question is finns det, you need to use the same gender in the response - jo, det gör det. But either way, you can't use är, that's like saying "yes, it is" in English.


How do you know there is? The answer could be "nej eller jo"!


No, the negative answer would have inte in it: Nej det gör det inte.


The question is confusing in any language because you haven't given any more information than the simple is there no food? You have two possible yes answers and one no. Which one do you choose? It's an example of trying to be clever for the sake of being clever but you end up looking the fool for it. It's basically a lucky dip question, which would only be acceptable in a contest where you might win a prize, but not in a language course.


I'm really sorry, but I have no idea what you're trying to say. How is it confusing?


Because we have no idea if there is any food. There are two possible answers, but in order to answer the question you need to provide more information. It's just a lucky guess question. You've got a fifty/fifty chance of getting it right or wrong. If you're trying to differentiate between ja and jo there are better ways to show people, this is just a bad way to do it.


The Swedish sentence clearly states that there is food, though. Whether you use ja or jo depends not on whether there is food, but on whether a negative was used in the question.


Got it! Tack sa mycket!


Maybe but there is still a better way to illustrate that point instead of an ambiguous question. In English, to say, is there no food? could have one of two answers, you're asking a question. is there any food? Same again, you need more information. My first example has a negative tone, the second is more neutral but I'm still confusing the reader because they don't know if there is any food. There is no equivalent in English because yes means yes, the only difference would be in emphasis on the word yes, a firm yes is positive but a tentative yes might suggestive uncertainty. The only thing I could suggest is the answer is redone. For example. Is there no food? Yes of course there is food, add something to make it look as if there is food. Google has several words, like självklart, givetvis, naturligtvis. It changes the answer and at least suggests there is food, you can add the jo as well just to show the difference.


I still don't see the problem, though - the Swedish sentence is not ambiguous at all. It is very straightforward in translation. Why would you add words in English that are not there in Swedish?


The word nej should be removed so you just have ja or jo, which would help those of us not fluent in Swedish to learn the difference. Throwing nej in as a possible answer just confuses everyone.


The Swedish jo always means "yes". Offering "no" as a translation for jo is not confusing.

Besides, we don't get to set the multiple-choice alternatives ourselves anyway, so it's a moot point. :(


I used the words, "There's no food?" "Yes there is" Duo marked it wrong. My swefish buddy told me its perfectly correct to translate it as i did.


Actually, they consistently don't accept that type of reordering of the sentence in this course. Your version is a statement that is forced to be a question by using the punctuation at the end, while the exercise is a natural question. You can do the same thing with punctuation in Swedish but they only allow translating like-for-like in these cases.


You know, even in russian the sentence is ambiguous. And what is more interesting is that we use "No, there isn't" as a positive answer to "Is there no food?".

So, negative answer for a negative question is positive in russsian. :D

So it will be "Там нет еды?", Нет, нету"


Ammmm, Jo? What's the difference betwen ja and jo?


Please scroll up a little - it's already been answered in this thread. :)


I've read all the responses above and think I understand the use of JO. Now, would not a simple JO suffice as an answer to a negative question such as the one I'm asking now?


are the two "det"s different? Is one an "impersonal" one that doesn't refer to anything in particular and the second one is a stand-in for "mat"?


Yes, kind of like that. Cf English "that it does", which follows the same principle.


why not, "ja det ar!" (i dont have .. on my keyboard for the a)


how does jo and ja differentiate?


Please scroll up a little - it's already been answered in this thread. :)


Why is it jo and not ja ?


Please scroll up a little - it's already been answered in this thread. :)


When do you use Ja and when do you use Jo?


jo is in response to a negative question. It's ja otherwise.


...ok first of all i didnt get it at all and second yes is ja not jo third the direct translation would be 'is it not food? Yes it there it' see? Makes no sense


My problem is that "Jo det gör det." is being translated in english as "Yes there is", it should be translated as: Yes that does it. Since "gör" means "do/doing" and "finns" means "exists".

So "jo det gör det" should be "jo det finns det" so it can be translated in english as "yes there is" in some sort of way of saying that it does exist. Hope someone can explain me why Duolingo is switching everything?


It's an idiomatic phrase literally meaning "Yes, that it does", so your translation is word-for-word correct but for a phrase that needs interpretation rather than a word-for-word translation.


I still can't understand this when it is read out by the voice. I get the first part and up to jo det but the next word sounds like garbage. The audio really needs replacing.


It's possibly we get different audio, but the one I hear is actually spot-on.


"yes there is"

What do you mean? "yes there IS food" or "yes there is (NO) food" ???


It's the former. :)


So to get my head round this, is "det" always used to begin an answer to a question?


No, not at all. :) It's just that in this case, Swedish uses "yes, that it does" for the standard answer.


Is 'det gör det' a set phrase? What does 'gör' mean in this sentence? I would have expected it to be 'det är det.'


It serves the same purpose as "does" in "it does".

English can use "there" to express existence, as in "there is". But Swedish can't, so we use det instead. And just like English wouldn't say "it is food" to mean that food exists, neither would Swedish say är. Hence you get "that it does" instead.


i really dont understand det gör det ..it makes it??


No, it's as in "that it does".


I still dont understand why gör is used here


Swedish phrases this as "that it does". And "does" means gör.


Seems like jo functions the same as 'jawel' in Dutch. Something like "actually, yes" to contradict the No assumption /question


So "mat" is not a mass noun? I was unsure whether to use inga or ingen, because it seems like "mat" could be a mass plural as well as a singular.


That is correct. :)


Can I say in answer as "jo, det finns'' instead?


No, you do need the second det. The Swedish phrase is basically "yes, that it does", so if you leave out the second det, you're saying "yes, that it".


interesting! I would translate "det finns" into English as "there is", wrongly?


No, that's normally the correct translation. This is just an exception. And to be honest, I can see people say it colloquially, but it would still stand out a little.


I don't understand why these two verbs for "is": "finns" and "gor." Where was this explained?


The Swedish response basically says "Yes, that it does." So gör is the same "do" as English can use - they just differ idiomatically here.


I learnt that answer from here =) https://youtu.be/Bjc5KFg4ehU


Dayuuuummm there's alot of "Det" in this sentence i'm just saying


Interesting. Jo is the Swedish equivalent of the Dutch "jawel".


I get the first 4 words right, but it says I'm replying in English.


i dont understand the last part ''det gör det.'', how does it make ''there is''?


This right here is the reason why languages like Swedish and French make more sense than English. There is a different yes for answering negative questions! Like, how awesome is that?


jo= on the contrary.


I put , is there any food, and was wrong. Not the same?

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