"They are our cooks' knives."

Translation:Det är våra kockars knivar.

December 31, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Why "det är" and not "de är"?


Det is a formal subject not actually referring to the knives. Compare it to French il y a, which stays il regardless of gender or number.


Why is not referring to the knives, i cant read any other significate of the frase


Det in Swedish here refers to 'the thing I'm about to talk about', which is why it doesn't change with gender and number.


Sooo complicated. My poor brain. Haha


Me too! I was doing so well until this section!


I answered with 'De' and even though I got it right, it suggested I should've use 'Det' instead. Doesn't 'de' translate to 'they' when the subject is plural?


de is definitely not allowed, so it shouldn't have been marked correct.

Swedish has a very, very strong tendency to default to the neuter det är when beginning a sentence. The tendency is so strong that most natives will use it even when the subject is already grammatically known.


I used 'De' and got it wrong....


I also gut wrong with "de"


Nobody's said what de is used for yet...


German does this as well (Das sind ...). I already finished the Swedish course, but I would take it all over again if it was offered with German as a base language.


Exactly! Or e.g "Es ist Nacht jetzt". (Poor example maybe but still works..Because Nacht is feminine but the point of the sentence would be that " it is night now" regardless the article :) )


What exactly do you mean by studying Swedish with a German base?


He means that the Swedish Duolingo course is only offered in English. By now it doesn't exist in German language.


Okay, but then the english sentence is not correct. "They" clearly refers to the knives, or? This or That might convey the idea better (or "these" maybe?)


It is correct, since it is the idiomatic translation. English uses these/those/this/that with regards to number, while Swedish (and German, for example) does not necessitate that.


Well, Zmrzlina, you are talking about demonstrative pronouns, but dszymcza is pointing out that the given sentence in English does not use a demonstrative but an ordinary (personal) pronoun. In English, we are referring to items that are already under discussion. Doesn't Swedish make such a distinction as well? John210530 and Martin18022 have also raised this issue, but so far have not received any further clarification.

Edit: This question was finally settled by devalanteriel elsewhere on this thread. Search on this page for "alternative" to jump to that answer.


This is my issue with the whole swedish course. In my opinion, the English sentence is clearly wrong and should be changed, but then again very similar cases should be changed, too because very often the english translation of "det" is rather peculiar...


We frequently address this in the comments as well. The way Duolingo is built, whatever we put as the default translation is automatically chosen for the reverse "translate into Swedish" exercise. Hence, for many sentences, if we put idiomatic English as the default translation you will never be asked to translate into idiomatic Swedish. So we have to sacrifice English idiomatics for teaching Swedish efficiently. It's not fun, but what can we do? We have no way of affecting how Duo's system works, so we have to make do with what we can.


@JirkaLukl: I'm not currently a contributor, but I disagree - I think the system should work better instead of lesson notes having to explain something. Besides, not all people can see the lesson notes because Duolingo hides them, and not all of those who can read them do - and even then, there's a large probability that people forget about it even if we mention it once.


You have the option to explain this in the grammar for each course, right? That should be mentioned there. These are important things and how are we going to find out about them?


Which English sentence are you saying is not correct? There are multiple English sentences here.


I don't think the same thing ! It is wrote "they are" and not "there are". In French : "they are" means "ils sont" and "there are" means "il y a". So I have write "de är" too. But you're right, in this example, "they are" is used like "there are" but the correct translation in french will be "ce sont" and not "il y a" :)


Takk for forklaring, jeg var også nysgjerrig.

I suppose it's really just an extension of the logic for why one would say "det är min hund," for example. You could say "den," but it doesn't seem that anyone ever does.


If you use "den", it sounds odd. Unless you're referring to some en-noun that's already introduced, Swedish defaults to "det".


Oh wow, it makes sense now. Merci beaucoup!


ce sont + plural names?


The explanation that 'det' is a formal subject not referring to the knives themselves seems a bit contrived. And really begs the question...why would a formal subject be used? Sometimes a formal subject makes sense such as in the phrase "it is raining" or "det regnar" where a 'real' subject seems to be lacking... clearly not the case here. Just an arbitrary Swedish oddity I suppose.


I still don't understand why it is det not de


From what I understand, "Det är" technically means neither "It is" or "They are" in English, but acts as a pointer to the actual subject, in this case "knivar". I guess kind of how "those" and "they are" aren't really the same thing, maybe "those" would've been more appropriate in the English sentence. If the sentence was changed to "They are sharp", then "De" would be used, as it's the subject in this case. De is not a plural form of det. (more knowledgeable Swedish pals please correct me)


I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but here goes anyway.

If I happen to come across some sharp things - knives, thorns, whatever - I would say "Det är vassa!". If I'm in my kitchen, putting away the cooks' knives, talking to ... someone ... I might say "Det är våra kockars knivar. De är vassa."

Stämmer det?


Det är means " it is", not "they are"


This det/de thing is confusing. I still don't see the logic of it being det.


Surely 'De' is still a correct solution. If it were: 'Whose are the knives? They are the cook's knives.', then 'det' would be correct, but if it were 'What are those long pointy things? They are the cook's knives.', then it would be 'de'.


I get why it needs to be "det" instead of "de", but I do think the English sentence is a bit misleading. I'm not a native English speaker, but I think the sentence sounds like it follows another sentence which "they" refers back to (in which case, if I'm not mistaken, Swedish could also use "de"). "These are" would probably be clearer and sounds more like a sentence you'd say out of the blue.


Why do we use kockars and not kockarnas in this context?


Because you want "our cooks", not "the cooks". "Kockarnas" would give you "They are our the cooks' knives."


But it IS asking us to translate "They are our cooks' knives". So, based on where the apostrophe appears, I answered "kockarnas" as well. Isn't kochars used in a "they are cooks" kinds of way?


våra is a possessive, and possessives never take the definite.

Compare with English: you say "the cooks" but not "our the cooks".


"Det" doesn't even appear as an option... Why is "det" the only correct one?


I think it's already been explained in this thread, but I've tried to improve the hint for this specific sentence. All hints appear everywhere so it can be a bit tricky to get them right without creating confusion in other places.


Still don't really get it. Since English and Swedish are not my native language, I don't understand what all the grammatical terms. But, I learned here on Duolinge that "Det är" means "It is" and not "They are". Could someone explain why this differs between to two?


Why is it "kockars" and not "kockens"?


Kockars = cooks' (plural, indefinite, possessive)

Kockens = the cooks (singular, definite, possessive)


why is cockars here pronounced as cockarSH?


I believe the letter combination "rs" is always pronounced "rsh".


It is often pronounced this way but is also dependent on following letters, or lack thereof.


And also dialect. :)


Vara refers to kockars, right? So if we were talking about a single knife the sentence would be, "Det ar vara kockars kniv."


Why "våra" instead of just "vår"?


Because the cooks are plural. vår kocks knivar = the knives of our cook. våra kockars knivar = the knives of our cooks.


Oh,okay XD Tack :P


as of 20200520 'de är...' gets accepted as a typo in the mobile freetext version. I like it because I here 'de' or even the coll 'dom' at the beginning of such sentences sooo often by native Swedes nowadays.


kockars, kockens, which one is correct?


See above.

Kockars = cooks' (plural, indefinite, possessive)

Kockens = the cook's (singular, definite, possessive)


I'm just taking a stab in the dark, no pun intended. I think the reason they use 'det' and not 'de' is because they are referring to objects and not human beings.


I have absolutely no problem with the Swedish translation. However, the English sentence seems to be a bit weird as a stand-alone sentence with no context; in this case, I would expect "Those" instead of "They".


We do accept "those" as well, but Duolingo uses the default translation to construct the reverse "translate into Swedish exercise". Hence, with "those" being e.g. de där, if we use "those" for the default, you'll never get asked to translate into the very idiomatic det är. It's a very annoying dilemma that has consequences all over the course.


why not translate Det är as "these are" instead of "they are"


"these" would be de här or dessa, but never something with det.


kockars and kockernas is written the same as "cooks'" how the hell am I supposed to discern the difference


Kockars = cooks' (note the apostrophe indicating possession). Kockarnas = the cooks' (also possessive). In the given sentence, you don't need to use the definite form, because it's "OUR cooks", not "THE cooks".


by far one of the hardest sentences of the course . Not expected that in stage 1.


I can't quite figure out why it's "Det är" and inte "Det finns", I put finns and got it wrong - might just be having a silly minute but an explanation would be awesome! Thanks in advance :)


"Det finns" would be "There are our cook's knives", not "They are...."


Which sentence is correct: They're our cook's knives? Or It's our cook's knives?


The former is grammatically correct, but not a translation: you need cooks' (plural) rather than cook's (singular).


Det is wrong. They means De.


Please refer to the top comment chain.


BTW, dear @devalanteriel, I could not add to that thread. Did DL add a depth max of 6 levels or something recently ? The reply button is just missing at that level here / in the mobile (android) version. thx


Can someone provide a different example using "det är" in this context as opposed "de" im confused about this rule.


Well, you know how English can sometimes say "it is" at the start of a sentence even though you're not talking about an "it"? For instance: "Congratulations! It's a girl!"

Swedish does this extremely much. We would pretty much only say de är if the subject was already explicit, for instance from the previous sentence - and sometimes not then, either.


I think the problem many learners have with this exercise (as I did myself) is that in the English (what we are translating from), the use of "they" suggests that the knives have already entered into the conversation. For example, "Don't use those knives. They are our cooks' knives." Does "det är" still apply in the second sentence in this situation? Or, is "de är" at least a possible alternative?


I agree - that's very likely the reason.

"at least a possible alternative" is actually a great description. It would still be much, much more idiomatic to use det, but with such explicit context I can't really say that de would actually be wrong.


I've been wondering about that. Thanks for settling the matter.


Okay, so the easiest way my mind can process this is to think of it in terms of the object of discussion, "knives" has no gender and is there for an "it", in terms of the svenska language. so for example, if it were they are happy cooks, it would be de är lycklig kockar, because the subject now has a gender, or is a living object...is this correct?


I don't see the difference between kockars and kockarnas, because they are both translated as chefs by google

  • kockars = cooks'
  • kockarnas = the cooks'


Yeah, I found this one confusing for the same reason, but it makes sense when you put it together in English. If you used "kockarnas" (which I initially did), the translation would be "They are our the cooks' knives", where "kochars" is "They are our cooks' knives".


Why the not use kockarnas knivar


Possessives are inherently definite, just like in English: you wouldn't say "our the cooks' knives" after all. :)


so is it correct that 'they are' and 'it is' would both be translated to 'det är' ?


When referring to a general at the start of a sentence, yes.


Where and how may I find the lesson notes referred to in this thread? I am a paid duolingo member and do not know about lesson notes. Thank you your help in advance!


When you click on a lesson, most (but not all) of them have an icon with a lightbulb. Click that and you'll get to the lesson notes. :)

Having said that, I find that the unofficial notes collection on https://duome.eu/tips/en/sv is much easier to use.


Cooks' is plural. Your answer as written is "our cook's knives". The apostrophe rule is complicated in English.


It's a bug in Duolingo's system. It occurs in all courses, with all plural apostrophes, as far as I'm aware.


This is "our cook's knives" as indicated elsewhere. I get the "det är".


The sentence is correctly entered in the administrative interface, but there's a bug in the system that puts the apostrophe in the wrong place, regardless of what course content creators do.


HI! I'm a native spanish speaker and i'm learning swedish from english, because (at the moment i'm writing this) its the only option that exsits (and this is an important info about what I'm going to explain). Having said that, and after had read a lot of comments on the current discussion, I think I had understood that:

On the sentence "Det är våra kockars knivar./ They are our cooks' knives", the active subject are the knives (that make the action of being the property of our cooks). And indeed, in this case, THEY are, DET... Because in english we can use "they" referring to "a group of IT" as much as "a grup of he/she". In other words, "they" can be used as a plural neutral gender pronoun. But in swedish, it can't happen.

"Knivar/knifes" is not masculine nor femenine, its neutral (as in english). Then, as "en kniv/a knife" uses a singular neutral gender pronoun that is DET, shifting it to the plural form, the only possible pronoun would be DET again. Never "de", because using "de", we assume they (the knifes) suddenly has a masculine/femenine gender because "de=a group of han/hon".

In spanish all the inanimate objects had a gender like in french (that someone commented over here)... so yeah! it has been such an effort to understand that and try to explain! So please, can someone tell me if I understood correctly?


It looks like you really made an effort to think this through, which is great, but I think you've misunderstood some things a little.

kniv is actually an en-word - that is, a common-gender noun.

The reason for using det is that Swedish always defaults to the neuter singular when the subject isn't yet known. It's like how you can say "What's that?" "It's a man, I think." in English, even though a man would never be called "it". You just use it because it's new information - grammatically speaking.


Nice! and thank you! I perfectly understood what you mean about the "grammatical new information" XD. Also I have made some research a few times (because finding good Swedish lessons for Spanish speakers is so hard) and it is always confusing about the en/ett words, the gender and so on. So yeah, i'm misunderstunding almost everything I think jajaja and trying to do my best.


Cooks' is plural, so it must be kockarnas. But when I type kockarnas, they say it has to be kockars and when I than change it into kockars, they say it has to be kockarnas.... And that's with the exact same sentence... Very strange...


kockarnas is the definite possessive plural, but since you have våra, you don't use the definite.

Compare with English - you say "our cooks' knives", not "our the cooks' knives".


Ok, thanks! I was really struggling with this one.


Cooks' knives should be kockarnas like in other questions


We don't use the definite after possessives. Same as in English - you wouldn't say "our the cook's knives".


Would we then switch to 'de' after the (plural) items have been introduced?

For example, would the following sentences together:

"They are our cooks' knives. They are long and sharp."

be translated as:

"Det är våra kockars knivar. De är långa och skarpa."

(Hopefully from the context, the listener would realising that I am not describing the cooks).


If you saw a bunch of knives, you might point to them and ask "Vad är de?" Wouldn't the answer to "Vad är de?" be "De är våra kockars knivar"?


Arguably possibly, but it would still be overwhelmingly more common to use det.


this one is stupid, it suggests "de" even though it is incorrect :( got it wrong 4 times, first I forgot "våra", then I had kockarnas, then kockens (it doesn't give any suggestions at all for this so I had to guess 3 times) then I had det and then changed it to de because it said de was correct


A knife is a thing not a peron, so that are ...is better


Is “De är våra kockarnas knivar.” not right? Ah, it should be “det”, not “de”, right? And “kockarnas” ain’t possible here, I assume.


How are apostraphes used in Swedish?


They aren't, in general. If something is written in dialect, they might be used to indicate where a letter or syllable is skipped over (elided).


Det is correct, but the hint needs to be "det", not "de". If reference is neutral, the first hint is "det (plural)", then the second "de (they)", not just "de" (the wrong hint by the way)


Jag tycker att det måste vara " de är inte det är eftersom det är plural. Jag tycker att någon måste rätta den mening


You would think so, but "Det är" is actually correct here. "It is our cooks' knives" sounds wrong in English, but apparently not in Swedish. There are many explanations in the thread above.


Why is the suggestion giving 'de' when i hover on it with the mouse and not 'det' which is the correct answer. This is misleading. I think that the suggestions given by the programme should be helpful and not misleading


Kocks? Kockars? Kockarnas? Kockens? Help?


Kocks = cook's. Kockars = cooks'. Kockarnas = the cooks'. Kocken = the cook.


Cooks' is plural possessive in English. The apostrophe is not correctly placed if one cook is meant. Our cook's knives = one cook possessing knives Our cooks' knives = several cooks possessing knives


But since the given Swedish is "kockars", the apostrophe IS correctly placed. The sentence refers to more than one cook.


The English sentence states that there are cooks (ie plural) possessing knives - cf the Swedish correction given


Why kockars and not kockens?


Because there is more than one cook. "Cooks' knives" = the knives belonging to all of the cooks.


I am struggling with this

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