"Kannst du nicht schlafen?"

Translation:Can you not sleep?

December 25, 2014

22 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hnsalama

can't you sleep & can you not sleep are not the same in English... I don't understand this sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobyrev

I agree with you. Can someone kindly explain what does really the sentence "Kannst du nicht schlafen" mean?

(1) Is one asked if he is able (and ready) to spend a certain period without sleeping (e.g. in order to work extra time urgently) (2) or the querist wonders about one's possible problems with sleeping (e.g. insomnia)?

In Russian it sounds: (1) Можешь ли ты не спать? or Ты можешь не спать? (2) Ты не можешь спать (заснуть)? And these are quite different meanings.

Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonMartin1

In English, "can" normally refers to ability. If a person cannot sleep, that means something is wrong, something removed his ability to sleep, as in your (2). Your (1) is more like "Will you not sleep?" or "Won't you sleep?" - asking if it is the person's intention to stay awake.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kamilitsa

now it would be great if someone explained it in German as well :) how would you say the sentence with the first meaning?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

The German can mean either of them, but usually means (2).

For (1), a clearer wording would be Ist es dir möglich, nicht zu schlafen? (Is it possible for you to not sleep?) or Kannst du ohne Schlaf auskommen? (Can you manage without sleep?).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jussel11

Other ideas by me: Kannst du die Nacht durchmachen?/Kannst du auf bleiben?/Kannst du wach bleiben?(Can you stay awake?) Even Kannst du nicht schlafen? but then stressed on the "nicht" and with a short break between "du" and "nicht". So you won't write it.

Referring to your second sentence I would say it without "können", just: "Kommst du ohne Schlaf aus?" It is not wrong, but in language shorter is usually better. The verb "auskommen"(google: "get by") already contains the aspect of possibility. Other word: zurechtkommen (speak like: zu Recht kommen). means the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jezolk

"Cannot sleep?" Is a correct colloquial Form in my opinion


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amanda_show

As a native speaker, that sounds too formal and a little strange. "Can't sleep?" sounds more normal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulKlenk

However, "can't" is a contraction for "cannot." Consequently, the meaning appears identical.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulKlenk

Just for discussion only, I used an online translation entering the following English: Can you not sleep? Mind you, this is online translation only. But, the results were as follows: Kannst du nicht schlafen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MattieCF

Why is the subject "du" but schlafen is not in the "du" form while "kannst" is in the "du" form?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LFke4rs932

That's the whole point. This is how every modal verb is treated. "Can sleep" is the modal/main verb pair. The modal verb gets conjugated and the main verb gets rendered in infinitive form and put to the end of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lucas766990

Why did it allow cannot you sleep. No one says that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaeedMahjoori

As I saw in comments, this is like Can't you sleep?(Do you have insomnia? e.g.) But I wrote Can you not sleep (and listen to me? e.g.) and it was marked corrected. Which one is true about this case? And how to say the other in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eliashack

you cannot sleep? why is this wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

That's not the right word order for a regular question sentence in English -- the verb has to come at the beginning, as "Can you not sleep?" or "Can't you sleep?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kitt-cat

Why is "You can't sleep?" incorrect? Reported, but I'd like to know if I was right to report or not :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Felipe_Silver

Because it is a question, the verb has to come before the pronoun. "Can't you sleep?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/markyria1

If i said "kannst du shlafen nicht" would it be wrong? >.<


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Yes, it would be wrong -- nicht goes to the end of a sentence but infinitives such as schlafen go even more to the end of a sentence :) So the schlafen "wins".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/markyria1

Oh, ok thanks ^.^

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