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  5. "The dog was run over."

"The dog was run over."

Translation:Hunden blev överkörd.

March 6, 2015



Why isn't "Hunden var överkörd" accepted?


That's a good question. As far as I understand the English sentence, it describes something that happened to the dog. At least that's what the Swedish sentence Hunden blev överkörd means. It means that some vehicle hit the dog, 'the dog got hit by a car'. The sentence focuses on the change of state for the dog, from not having been run over, to having been run over.

The Swedish sentence Hunden var överkörd refers to a resulting state of that event. There's a clear implication that överkörd is something that happened to the dog and that the result of that still remained at the moment of speech. The mental image I get from this is of a more or less flat dog lying in the street. (Why was the dog just lying there? 'Den var överkörd'.) I'd probably translate it as The dog had been hit by a car to capture the same meaning in English. Because of the meaning of Hunden var överkörd, this is a sentence that is very unlikely to be used in the first place and hade blivit överkörd would be more idiomatic.

I'm not totally sure to what extent 'The dog was run over' is ambiguous in English. It seems pretty obvious to me that saying 'The dog became run over' isn't very idiomatic in English, and that while 'The dog got run over' is clear, that's not really the most standard way of saying it …?


Unfortunately I cannot say I grab the nuances here. I've written "Hunden var överkörd" and I'm still not sure why it cannot be accepted.


It would mean 'the dog had been run over'.
Like if you ask 'What happened to the dog?' an answer could be 'It was run over' but not - 'It had been run over.'

It's because var + past participle does not mean 'became' in Swedish as was + past participle can in English. In Swedish, var + past participle refers to a resulting state in the past.


I think I've finally got it, thanks, Arnauti.


I don't think "run over" could describe the dog's state without a hyphen; "run-over" would be recognisable as a poor attempt to do so, but still awkward English, and it only works in written form.

"The dog was run over" talks about what happened, not what state the dog is in. "The dog got run over" (at which an English teacher would probably wince, though a lot of native speakers would indeed use this expression) is almost the same but feels like it gives a little more emphasis to the dog as the subject. It doesn't feel quite as dispassionate -- as though you recognise this as being an important event from the dog's point of view.

You're right that "the dog became run over" is not idiomatic.

"The dog has been run over" or "the dog had been run over" describes its state (the tense depending on whether the observation of its state happens in the present or the past) indirectly, in terms of what has happened to the dog.

I don't think English has a way of saying what happened to the dog in terms of a state transition they way that Hunden blev överkörd does, just because we don't have a word for "run-over". (If you were being more directly descriptive, you could certainly say "the dog was flattened" - and that would be ambiguous as to whether it described a state transition or a static state observed in the past.)


Hm, it still sounds to me that Hunden blev överkörd has at least a very good translation in The dog was run over, wheras it's just Hunden var överkörd (which is rare in the first place) that doesn't really have an English counterpart.

It seems that this ['The dog was run over'] is one of the cases where you can use 'was' + participle to express that something happened to someone in English but where you need to be more explicit in Swedish and use blev instead.


Yes, if I was not clear enough, I agree with that. I can't think of any counter-example anyway.


Is "Hunden överkördes" plain wrong?


No, but it's somewhat less common. Personally, I would prefer hunden kördes över, but that's just a matter of preference.

Edit: On second thought, I would prefer if nobody ran over my dog, period.


Hunden kördes över is actually not accepted. I would report it, except that I got a richer learning experience from being shown the less direct translation and reading these comments. Thanks for the commentary.


Some native speakers may be able to say hunden överkördes, but it's not part of my internal grammar, for instance, so for me it is ungrammatical. I think blev överkörd is the best choice here since the -s passive often tends to focus on process rather than result, but as devalanteriel's comment shows, different speakers have different ideas. I also feel that kördes över may be a little more formal than blev överkörd, and that the latter feels more natural, but again, that is my intuition.

It's a bit complicated to look this up in corpora, but if anyone else has the time to do so, please share the results (and your exact search, because there are many possible error sources in this case).


Why, "hunden över-kördes " is accepted


It isn't an accepted answer. Verbs like this vary in how they are used – some are only used as particle verbs, some are used as prefixed verbs, and some can be used either way. Sometimes both ways are used but they mean different things.

With köra över, the prefixed version överkörd is very common as a participle, like in blev överkörd. But it's very uncommon to use the verb in the prefixed version, like överköra or the s-passive överkördes. Dictionaries don't even list the word.


Should "Hunden var körd över" be acceptable?


No, that doesn't work in Swedish.


From the discussion I feel that Hunden överskördes should be accepted since some natives would use it.


That native would be me and I did say I would probably not use it. My answer is over three years old and when I wrote it, I was not aware that Duolingo is not supposed to accept all correct answers but only feasible ones.


Thus the dog was being run over would translate better to hunden överkördes. (the focus on the process rather than on the outcome)


Correct, although I'd be much more inclined to rephrase it as e.g. Hunden höll på att köras över.

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