Sie mag er am meisten

"Sie mag er am meisten." is a sentence that reapers lots of times when you are learning accusatives on Duolingo. It's says that this means "He likes her the most.". I think it means "She likes him the most". So what do you think, should i message the staff about this or not?

December 12, 2012


No, I think the trick here is the word "er". That's the nominative form, indicating that "er" is the subject here. "sie" is the form used for both the nominative and accusative cases, so it can go either way. However, "er" can not. Its accusative case form is "ihn". Because "sie" can either be the subject (nominative case) OR the direct object (accusative case), it's not helping us figure out which way is which in this sentence. But "er" can ONLY be nominative case, so it MUST be the subject. Since it is the subject, "sie" must be the object. That is...

He (subject) likes her (object) the most.

But I totally understand why this is confusing. In English, we rely a lot more on word order to distinguish the subject from the object. In German, case gives us the clues we need to figure that out. For that reason, it is a lot more common in German to see the order of these two reversed (as they are here). One reason why you might want to do that is to put the emphasis on "she". Sort of like, out of all these girls, she in particular, is the one he likes the most.

Or I could be wrong. My German is not that great. But we have some really excellent native German speakers here. Hopefully one them will set me straight if I've missed this :)

December 12, 2012

You've explained it perfectly.

December 12, 2012

I understood and i began to follow you today, happy coincidence. You is kind of an expert here on Duolingocomparing you with the other learners like me.

December 12, 2012

Hi Van. Thank you for the kind words. But I promise you, I am no expert! My German is quite poor. Every translation here is a struggle for me and requires quite a bit of effort. Now Christian here, on the other hand, really is an expert.

December 13, 2012

So if I'm understanding you correctly, If I were to say "Sie mag Ihn am meisten." That would mean she likes him? Or would I have to say "Ihn mag sie am meisten."? That would mean "she likes him the most?"

February 7, 2013

Duolingo's translation is fine.

December 12, 2012

Thank you for explanations! It really helped a lot :)

December 24, 2012

I didn't understand the explanations here till I asked the German guy sitting next to me. Th easiest way to understand this sentence is to add a sentence to the literal English translation so it becomes: ''She, he likes the most''.

January 9, 2013

Here it says "am" translates to "at" or "on." So how come here, "am meisten" translates to "the most?"

January 9, 2013

You can't tear it apart like that. It's just how the superlative works.

January 9, 2013

Thanks! What is the difference then between "am besten" and "der/die/das beste," or between "am meisten" and "die meisten?"

January 9, 2013
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