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  5. "Wer trifft wen?"

"Wer trifft wen?"

Translation:Who meets whom?

August 14, 2013



it could also be a kindergarden teacher asking two students: Who hits whom



Or "who is hitting whom?" .


It seems to me that the word "treffen" has nothing in common with "hit". Hot will be tranlated as schlagen or anstoßen. Treffen means meet somebody, catch or find somebody at home etc


English is not my native language, but the translation "hit" for the word treffen will be too rude. Treffen may mean "to hit by chance when you pass somebody by" or a kind of that. but mostly the word treffen is translated as : to meet somebody (who you know) by chance. "Hit" implies a deliberate action, a desire to hurt and treffen doesn't imply it. This word doesn't imply injuring ... I don't know, I may be wrong. correct me if I am ))


I've just asked my girlfriend about this question, she's German and speaks perfect English..

You are right, it does not translate to "hit". It would mean things along the line of "hit" by a gun. This is is clearly not the same. It is more like 'strike'.


Are you also German or American?


So does it mean more along the lines of "lets hit the town," which is sort of like make contact with rather than attack?


It seems more like "Look who I just bumped into!"

along those same lines in English: "We struck up a conversation." "We hit it off really well."


Did you read the two links?
There are some clear examples showing that it means hit. Do Ctrl+F and search for eg. Schlag, verletzen, hurt.......

der Faustschlag traf ihn im Gesicht/ins Gesicht

(mit einem Schlag, Stoß, Wurf, Schuss) erreichen und mit mehr oder weniger großer Wucht berühren [und dabei verletzen, beschädigen]

They are both about purposefully hitting someone, and them getting hurt.


meow_kisa, it does imply deliberate action:

treffen +haben (ins Ziel gehen):

treffen (Schlag, Schuss) to hit [the target]

der Schuss hat getroffen the shot hit it/him/her

gut/schlecht treffen to aim well/badly

nicht treffen to miss [the target]



Sorry. You're wrong.


Not quite the same -- "hit" in that sentence is more like "beat" and refers to an action with a certain duration; treffen for "hit" is the opposite of "miss", i.e. "connects with the target".

So you might use it if there is a big fight and you know that fists are flying but you want to know not just who is throwing their fists around, but you want to know whose fist lands where -- i.e. which of the fist blows are connecting with a target.

If you are asking about the action of throwing fists around in general, without considering whether those blows are hitting or missing a target (or whether they are even targeted), then it would be Wer haut wen? or a bit more formally, Wer schlägt wen?. (In kindergarten, though, I think you'd hear the verb hauen a lot more: it's what children would be more likely to say. A bit like "hit" versus "beat" or "strike" -- children wouldn't use "He struck me!", would they?)


Time after time, the answers you deliver are so very clear and as concise as seems possible. Thanks


I think you hit it.


What two cases is this?


Wer is nominative. Wen is accusitive.


would it be wrong to say "wer trifft wer" or "wen trifft wen"?


A lot of confusion arises for English speakers, because whom is dropping out of common usage, and these days no one is going to get too upset if you use "who" instead of "whom"

Grammatically though, pronouns are still declined in English. If you can't get your head around the use of "who" and "whom" then it's perhaps easier to think of it in terms of "he", "she" and "her", "him".

For example, you might say:

"He is meeting him?" or "She is meeting her?"

Note: I took the liberty of changing the tense to progressive to make it sound more natural.

You wouldn't say:

"He is meeting he?" or "She is meeting she?"

Whom is used where you would naturally use "Him" or "Her", not where you'd use "He" or "she".

Hope that helps!


I really wonder what English I learned since my textbook used "whom" in these cases all the time so the German cases here make so much more sense to me.....I'm not a native English speaker btw.


Conservative English :)

Textbooks for foreigners sometimes have a more "proper" or conservative grammar and can sometimes take a while to catch up to how the majority of speakers speak.

"Whom" is not wrong, just getting less common. But some people, especially older ones who grew up learning "whom", consider using "who" as an object to be incorrect.

I usually use "whom" since I grew up outside England and learned my English mostly from my father, so my English is also a bit more conservative than what English people my age might speak.


Yes it's wrong, and it matters in German a lot more. In English we are more reliant on word order, so we can ignore the who/whom distinction most of the time, but German uses case to express meaning much more often than we do, so you really do need to be careful to use the right cases in German.

The main reason is that we tend to use SVO (subject verb object) order in English and we signal very clearly when we're not using it

'Ian likes cats' (Ian = subject, likes = verb, cats = object)

Or if we're using a different order, as in passive voice sentences we put in extra words and change the verb tense

'Cats are liked BY Ian' (notice the 'by' we need it in English because we have lost most of our case markers! It's there to tell you that Ian is the one doing the verb, even though he comes after it)

But in German you can say either

Ian likes cats


Cats likes Ian

And have both those mean the same thing: 'Ian likes cats'

because you always have the cases marked so you know what the subject, direct object, ( & sometimes also indirect object) are.

It's really important to learn cases in German, even if you only intend to use basic SVO constructions yourself because in order to understand things you read and hear you'll need to recognise the difference between 'a man is biting a dog' and 'a dog is biting a man' - between a word being the subject or the object of a sentence.


Could you please explain why?


What is this site?


It appears to be a professor's university webpage--here's the full list of guides to german grammar: http://clasfaculty.ucdenver.edu/tphillips/grammar/grammar.html

And here's his main site with some other resources: http://clasfaculty.ucdenver.edu/tphillips/


Thanks Christian and NReilingh for this website. I have been struggling with the terms nominative, dative, accusative, etc, wondering what they meant. Just a cursory glance through this website has helped me to understand what they mean, and I think it's going to help me understand how to structure sentences in German as well. Thanks once again and have a lingot each. I recommend this website for beginners in German (I am one)!


This is a very helpful link. Thanks.


I had no problem understanding wer and wen as who and whom but choosing trifft from the other two was beyond me. Can someone explain in simple terms.


Perhaps the first step is to identify the verb ending.

A regular verb such as leben "to live" will have the following endings:

  • ich lebe
  • du lebst
  • er, sie, es lebt
  • wir leben
  • ihr lebt
  • sie, Sie leben

Here, the subject is wer which is considered third person singular, so you need the endings from the er, sie, es row.

That means you can discard treffen as that ends in -en and not in -t, leaving trefft and trifft.

For those, you just have to know that treffen is one of a group of verbs that changes its vowel in the du and er, sie, es forms -- so you have ihr trefft (no change) but er trifft (with changed vowel) and du triffst.

Compare also essen which has ihr esst but du isst, er isst, or sehen which has ihr seht but du siehst, er sieht, or geben which has ihr gebt but du gibst, er gibt.

These simply have to be learned.

Either by looking them up in an external grammar resource (for verb conjugations, I like canoo.net myself) or by trying them Duolingo and learning through trial-and-error.


I've seen the meet/hit used as a play on words in the German joke ' 2 Jäger treffen....beide tot'


I tried "who hit whom" but was marked incorrect. I believe that is a correct interpretation of trifft. Any thoughts?


For one, it should be in the present tense: "Who hits whom?"


That's what I wrote and it was still wrong. I'll report it.


It seems to me that the word "treffen" has nothing in common with "hit". Hot will be tranlated as schlagen or anstoßen. Treffen means meet somebody, catch or find somebody at home etc


"Treffen" can also mean "hit" as in the opposite of "miss".

"Er hat ihn mit dem Ball getroffen" = He hit him with the ball.

That is, he threw the ball at him and did not miss, but instead, the ball connected with him.

So if you're talking about a game of Völkerball (dodgeball?), it could be a reasonable question to ask who hits whom.


How do you know when to use "die", " das" and "der"? I can't understand why there are three different ways to say the word " the".


Sometimes it depends if it is Masculine, Feminine, or Neutral.


Somtimes because of the endings of the German words.


why does "does" not need here? (I'm not english)


"does" is not needed if you use "who" to ask a question about the subject of a sentence.

(It is needed if you use "who" or "whom" to ask a question about the object of a sentence, e.g. "Who do you meet?" -- with conservative grammar, that would be "Whom do you meet?". Compare asking about the subject: "Who meets you?".)


I answered with who is meeting with who? It would be quite normal for me to say this instead of who is meeting who. Any thoughts


I think "who is meeting with who" is grammatically incorrect even though it's getting colloquial not to decline the "who" into "whom". The correct way of writing your sentence would be "who is meeting with whom?", even though nowadays many people say "who is meeting who". I'm not an English native speaker so take my word with a grain of salt.


Strictly speaking whom is the accusative pronoun so should be used. But it is falling slowly out of use, going the way of much case-based grammer in English. And good riddance. Not being a fan of unnecessary complication in language (which includes genders!!) I'm personally happy to see it go as long as the sense of the sentence is not lost.


Duolingo already accepts many sentences with ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’, but perhaps it objects to ‘with’.


This question is about "meeting with" versus "meeting". It is not about "who" versus "whom". So its about whether the verb "to meet" takes a direct object or whether it needs the preposition "with" to take an indirect object. The verb "to meet" is a transitive verb and therefore takes a direct object, as in "to meet someone" rather than "to meet with someone". However, irrespective of which is correct, the fact remains that in some dialects it is normal to say "meeting with". However my personal preference is just "meeting" with a direct object as is normally the case with a transitive verb.


I think that should be correct -it's not strictly correct in formal English but it's a common enough usage.


Difference between treffen and mieten?


treffen = to meet

mieten = to rent; to hire


"Who meets whom" is marked correct, but it seems odd.


Why couldn't we say wer trifft wer instead of wer trifft wen??Wen means when and wer means who so why couldn't we say wer trifft wer??


No, wen does not mean "when". You may be thinking of wenn (with two n's).

wen means "whom".

Conservative English grammar would say "Who meets whom?" (Which is also the version currently shown as the "best" translation.)

So you have "who" for the subject (German: wer) and "whom" for the object (German: wen).

Wer trifft wer? is just as wrong in German as "He meets he." would be in English (it has to be "He meets him.", with the object form of the pronoun).

Even though today's English often doesn't use "whom" anymore (using "who" even for the object form), in German, you have to keep the nominative and accusative forms separate. (And there's also a genitive and a dative form!)


So then it is wer trifft wen?


That is correct -- just like it says at the top of this comment page.


why is who wer first, but then after trifft it is wen?


The form is wer in the nominative case (such as when it's a subject) and wen in the accusative case (such as when it's a direct object).

Conservative English also makes this distinction -- my father would say "Who meets whom?" with "whom?" for the object case instead of "who?".


Based on the first comments and my understanding of the english language.... treffen is the same as to bump into someone. Its not necessarily hit them. You could use the term guess who i bumped into today.


Is it still used or it like in English where we basically stopped using "whom"


The accusative case, including the word wen, is still very much alive in German.


I'm curious if there is an audible difference between "wen" and "wenn". "Wen" here sounds most like "vane" while I have heard "wenn" sound like "vin". Is that accurate?


So is triffen means meat or hit ?


Yes. It means "meet" and also "hit" in the sense of "not miss", i.e. "reach with a thrown projectile" or something like that.


In English we have several words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things. Meet = to connect with some one " He meet his boss". Meat= the muscle structure of an animal used as food. " John likes to eat meat."

Dough= a combination of ingredients used to make a baked product, duch as bread, cookies, or cake. Doe= a female deer

There are several others you will need to learn.

Note: In slag term for money is "dough", but it is not used in grammatically correct english.


Whom meets whom is archaic English and not a phrase used in Standard British or American English


why not "who sees whom"?

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