"I cannot find anything!"

Translation:Jag hittar ingenting!

March 15, 2015

This discussion is locked.


"Jag hittar ingenting" vs "Jag hittar inte någonting." Can it not be said the second way?


I'm terribly late here, but I've finally added all versions using this and similar constructions. They should absolutely have been added long ago, as many, many commenters have noted. I'll be deleting most of the comments saying the same thing now, as they no longer serve a purpose, but thank you all for reporting!


Still not accepted. I double checked it.


It usually takes up to a week for new translations to be accepted everywhere in the system after they've been added.


Jag hittar ingenting" vs "Jag hittar inte någonting" vs. "Jag hittar inte något/någon."

I'm not a native Swedish speaker but I am a linguist and was once fluent in Swedish.

"I cannot find anything" does not translate word for word to any language I know of.

  1. The lack of "can" I was surprised that no one commented on the lack of this word. In English we often say "I can't see!/I can't see [object], we can't find [object], he can't hear! He can't hear [object]," but in other languages, people say the equivalent of "I don't see, we don't find..., he doesn't hear."

  2. not + anything = nothing Think about it: A. I can't find anything. = I find nothing. versus B. I can't find something.

They have different meanings, don't they? In A, I'm looking for objects A, B, and C and I can't find any of them. In B, I'm looking for something specific (for example, my list of passwords), but I don't want to tell you what it is, so I just tell you "I can't find something."

I believe the translations of the above are: 1. I can't find anything. = Jag hittar ingenting. 2. I can't find something. = Jag hittar inte något.

"Jag hittar inte någon" would then mean "I can't find someone." and the target sentence was "anything."


However, for "I do not trust anybody", which actually means "I trust nobody", Duolingo dictates the translation is "Jag litar inte på någon" and marks "Jag litar på ingen" as wrong. (See https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/8548228 ) These two pairs of sentences are parallel in structure. I don't understand.


There's nothing really wrong with your logic, but it doesn't map perfectly between those meanings. If I say jag hittar ingenting, it can only really mean "I can't find anything". But if I say jag hittar inte något, that normally has the same meaning. If I meant out of a fixed set, I'd use jag hittar inte något av dem. The same logic applies to någon, although that can also mean "someone", as you say.

Note that något is just a shorter form of någonting, so there is no difference in meaning between them.


What's wrong about "Jag kan hitta ingenting"?


That construction generally only works for positives in Swedish unless where there are idiomatic exceptions. I'm yet to figure out if there's a rule for it.


Why can I not translate: "Jag kan inte hitta inget". I tried to translate the "cannot" in the English sentence, which is lacking in the Swedish sentence. (reported)


That double negative doesn't work in Swedish.


See https://www.duolingo.com/skill/sv/Verbs%3A-Past-2/1.
The sentence given to translate was "Nobody understood anything." The correct answer, according to Duolilngo, was "Ingen förstod något." And this answer was by way of selecting the correct words from a limited list. So "något" was definitely an acceptable translation for "anything". "Jag hittar inte något" needs to be accepted or someone needs to explain why något can mean anything in one phrase and not in another.

Please add or else give some explanation that makes sense. Why after more than FIVE YEARS has this not been addressed!


Jag hittar ingenting. - I find nothing.

Jag kan inte hitta något. - I can not find anything.


"Jag kan inte hitta ..." ?

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