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"Das ist nicht, was du vorher sagtest."

Translation:That is not what you said before.

July 29, 2013

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tjrogers85

Can someone (perhaps a native speaker) speak to the comma placement here? I've noticed this in other exercises too, specifically with relative pronouns. English does not require a comma for this expression, and was wondering what the rule is that requires it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

There's always a comma before subordinate clauses


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/harryclark17

Is this pronounced/used in spoken German too?


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

If you're asking whether there is a pause before a subordinate clause that corresponds to the comma, then no, that's not always the case. There isn't necessarily a pause there in spoken German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

Subordinate clauses, or this sentence specifically? The former, yes, the latter, I don't know because I'm not a native.


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

So "Das ist nicht" is the main clause which can stand by itself? That doesn't seem right to me, though I suppose "That is not." can be its own sentence, however awkward.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christophe485101

The subordinate clause is acting like a noun. It's the complement of 'das' albeit negatively.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob20020

Why "vorher" instead of "bevor"? What other words mean "before" in German?


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

and what about zuvor :/


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

what is the difference between vorher, zuvor, vor, bevor?


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

Out of curiosity, could the same idea be conveyed by using "Das ist nicht was du hast vorher gesagt" ?


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

Almost, but you'd have to say, "Das ist nicht, was du vorher gesagt hast."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sagitta145

Could you please elaborate on the "almost" part? :) As in, what would be the difference between "...sagtest" and "...gesagt hast" in this particular case? When would you use one and when the other?


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

I said "almost" because lucia_mosquito's sentence wasn't grammatically correct. The "hast" needed to come at the end of the sentence, and a comma before "was" was required. With those minor corrections, the sentence conveys the same idea as the original.

Regarding the difference between the German Präteritum (e.g. sagtest) and Perfekt (e.g. gesagt hast), the Perfekt is more common in conversation and informal writing, while the Präteritum is more common in formal writing. There's really no difference in the meaning, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sagitta145

Wow, really? I thought Präteritum is more like an unfinished action, and so du sagte can be translated not only as you said but also you were saying same as du sagst can be translated both as you say and you are saying, while du hast gesagt is more finished, like you said or you have said...

Also some phrases about past I only see in Präteritum: Ich dachte, dass... not Ich habe gedacht, ..., Ich hatte keine Zeit, not Ich habe keine Zeit gehabt, while some are really seldom in Präteritum. And some are very common in both but in different situations! Like Ich habe das früher nicht gewusst and Wusstest du, dass...? So I just get quite confused because intuitively I can feel some difference in usage but I can't explain it and don't know any kind of rules, just the feeling...


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

Aha, yes, you've made some very astute observations! What I stated before is a general guideline, but there are certainly exceptions. Certain verbs like haben tend to be used more often in a particular tense, regardless of the context. Similarly, certain phrases and fixed expressions may also use a single verb form exclusively, and it could sound weird if you used a different form.

I do doubt that the Präteritum is used to indicate unfinished actions, however, as the German language is generally considered to have no continuous/progressive aspect. (Continuous/progressive aspect is how, in English, you indicate an incomplete action, e.g. "you are saying" (present continuous) or "you were saying" (past continuous).) There are, however, colloquial ways of expressing the continuous/progressive aspect in modern German. See for example this explanation from Wikipedia:

The following quote was copied on 2015-07-04:

There is no continuous aspect in standard German. The aspect can be expressed with gerade as in er liest gerade meaning he is reading. Certain regional dialects, such as those of the Rhineland, the Ruhr Area, and Westphalia, form a continuous aspect using the verb sein (to be), the inflected preposition am or beim (at the or on the), and the neuter noun that is formed from an infinitive. For example, ich bin am Lesen, ich bin beim Lesen (literally I am on/at the reading) means I am reading. Known as the rheinische Verlaufsform (roughly Rhinish progressive form), it has become increasingly common in the casual speech of many speakers of standard German, although it is still frowned upon in formal and literary contexts. In Southern Austro-Bavarian, the aspect can be expressed using tun (to do) as an auxiliary with the infinitive of the verb as in er tut lesen for he is reading.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sagitta145

Cool, thanks :) Well, my language (Ukrainian) doesn't have continuous either, for us "he reads" is the same as "he's reading", just a not in the past criterium x) But didn't know about these nice ways to make it more like "right now" in German, thank you!


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

I believe that all you have said about the differences between the Präteritum and the Perfekt are very real. This is a very common thing to say "ah, there's no difference", when obviously there is. Surely the difference in the English tenses does not align with the German ones (why would it?), so that difference that you have in English is obviously not there, but other differences are. And this is all the Indikativ we are talking about. In Konjunktiv there are massive differences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ob7lKb

My German husband said "nobody would ever say '...was du vorher sagtest', it sounds very pretentious". According to him one should say "...was du vorher gesagt hast".


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

This entire section would sound pretentious to native German ears, from what I gather. As is laid out in the Tips and Notes section, Praeterite is only used for very form speech and writing. Perfekt is much more common in casual speech and writing, I believe.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flex567

sometimes "vorher" is translated as 'before' and sometimes as 'before that'. How can I know which one to use


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

could it be "That is not something you said before", since "was" can be etwas shortened?


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

It's a good question, but I don't think "Das ist nicht, was du vorher sagtest" quite translates to "That is not something you said before."

To my knowledge, the only way to interpret this German sentence is to consider "was du vorher sagtest" to be a relative clause that uses the relative pronoun "was". The Duden has an entry for this meaning of "was", which you can read here (definition 1). It may help to look at the examples given and compare them to the examples given for "was" with the meaning of "etwas" here (definition 1).

So you're right that "was" is sometimes just "etwas" shortened, but that's not the case here. In this sentence, they aren't interchangeable: "Das ist nicht, etwas du vorher sagtest" simply isn't a proper German sentence. While "was" can be used as a relative pronoun, "etwas" cannot.

Similarly in English, "what" can be used as a relative pronoun, but "something" cannot.

This is a little difficult to explain, but I hope this helps.


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

Exactly! I'm reporting this as a Duo mistake, since no one disagrees with it.


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

How do I know whether it is das or dass?


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

You have to determine it based on the context. In this case, "Dass ist nicht, was du vorher sagtest" is an illogical sentence, so it must be "das". Just like in English, when people say, "You were there", you know they didn't mean "their" or "they're" because then the sentence wouldn't make sense.


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

If you could also use "this", it's "das".


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

Why does the very at the last position? I thought it always should be second as - "Das ist nicht, was sagtest du vorher"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

"what you said before" is a subordinate clause, so the verb gets kicked to the end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/no.name.42

I think this is the single most useful sentence Duo has taught us yet.


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

how do i know how to translate before? when is it zufor, befor, vorher, etc..?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Madhukar202

pl let me know the difference between bevor und vorher


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

can someone explain why this is a "nebensatz"


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

"Nebensätze" often end with verbs.


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

I believe that MeherP was asking why it becomes a nebensatz and couldn't simply be phrased as a single sentence; at the very least, that's what I'm wondering! I'm still learning when to use subordinate clauses, so situations like this can prove confusing!


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

that is indeed what I meant. And I think the reason is because "was" in this case is a relative pronoun referring to "Das".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/possum404

I believe you are right.


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

You mean end with the conjugated verb. I'm trying to think about a case when it doesn't. I think it always does.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbs62

Why is "das ist nicht dass du vorher sagtest" incorrect? Is the difference between what and that critical? why? thanks


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

Yes, the difference is critical. Saying that would be like saying "That is not that you said before" in English, which is also wrong. Also, don't forget the comma before "was", as it's also necessary. Finally, be aware that you may also come across this construction: "Das ist nicht das, was du vorher sagtest." The only difference is that extra "das" after "nicht".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsym3155

Why/when would one say this phrase as opposed to the one ending in gesagt?


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

This question has already been posed and answered here, but I'll try to provide a more thorough explanation. In the sentence "Das ist nicht, was du vorher sagtest", "was" is a relative pronoun (das Relativ) used to begin a relative clause (der Relativsatz) that further explains the pronoun "das" in the main clause (der Hauptsatz). Relative clauses are always surrounded by commas, unless another punctuation mark would go in the same place (like the period in our example sentence).

Also, since relative clauses are subordinate clauses, the relative clause's verb always comes at the end of the relative clause.

For a rather comprehensive look at relative clauses, see this webpage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hypatia112740

Could I use "zuvor" instead of "vorher"?


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

Yes, zuvor sounds a tad more formal and isn't as common


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

What if we put the "sagtest" before "vorher" -> was du sagtest vorher ? Is it wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

Yes. It's a subordinate clause, so the verb must be the last word.


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

Told and said means the same, so That is not what you told is also right in my opinion.


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

The issue, however, is that ‘told’ in this sense requires an indirect object, whereas ‘said’ does not. The problem with translating using ‘told’ is that you have to derive an indirect object which simply isn't revealed in the original sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M.A371316

why translation to "that is not what did you say before" is incorrect??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

That's not valid English. You can't start a question halfway through a sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/orangeforest24

A helpful link to know the difference between the different words for before and after... https://yourdailygerman.com/vor-bevor-exercise/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erich868426

"That is not what you had said before" was not accepted


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

Well, "vorhersagtest" is correct as well. vorhersagen=predict. That's not what you have predictet.


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

^This causes just unneccesary confusion. "That's not what you have predictet." is not the correct solution of the original sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RavindraBa13

"That is not what you told before" -- I hope this Translation also correct

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