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  5. "My mother is writing a note."

"My mother is writing a note."

Translation:Mijn moeder schrijft een briefje.

December 26, 2014



Since the English sentence uses the present continuous, why is mijn moeder is aan het schrijven een briefje not allowed?


Hi ajcee7!

The word order of your sentence is unfortunately wrong.

In sentences like these you will have the following word order:
Subject + Conjugated verb + Object + Present continuous.

This seems to be the case because it follows the general rule of [Subject + Conjugated verb + The rest of the sentence + infinitive], since the continuous is formed with [ a form of 'to be' (zijn) + aan het + Infinitive" ].

Thus, the sentence we are looking for is:
Mijn moeder (subject) is (conjugated verb) een briefje (object) aan het schrijven (aan het + infinitive).


Thank you, that makes perfect sense now!


Why is 'Mijn moeder zit een briefje te schrijven' wrong?


I feel it's wrong, but I really had to think why. The construction 'zit te schrijven' is a progressive, stretching over a longer period of time, while a note is written in a jiffy. So, it's a not so felicitous translation. Everybody would understand you, though.


I tried 'Mijn moeder zit om een briefje te schrijven.' I'm not sure when to use 'om.' Just when I think I've got it, the correct answer doesn't include it.


You cannot use 'om' here. 'Om' signals purpose, while you only want to express progressive. A possible sentence is: 'Ik ga zitten om een briefje te schrijven.' Here, you'd express the sitting down is done in order to write a note, but no progressive sense is conveyed.

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