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"There is a towel on the shelf."

Translation:Det finns en handduk på hyllan.

April 4, 2015

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TopRival75

Why not "Det är en handduk i hyllan"? I thought "det finns" was for something rather permanent.


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

And you're right, but it's unfortunately just a general guideline - not a rule.

In this case, using det är makes it sound like "it is" rather than "there is", which I suspect is the reason that det finns sounds better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TopRival75

"Det är" always sounds like "it is" to me, but it's frequently used on Duolingo to mean "there is". Take, for example, "Det är kaffe på kudden."


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

I know - it's a very tricky thing to learn, because there are no exact rules, there's a lot of overlap, and natives don't always agree entirely on how to use them. Unfortunately, I think trial and error might be the only really good way to get a good hang of it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TopRival75

So what makes this an exception to the permanence of "det finns"? The fact that it's a towel, or the fact that it's on a shelf? Would you say "Det finns en handduk på bordet" or "Det är en kopp på hyllan"? I still don't get it.


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

To my mind it is as difficult as to feel the difference between "there is" and "it is/this is". Learners can't get the point why and when they should use it. In fact "det finns" is a construction to declare that some material unit is situated somewhere, whereas "det är" points at an object or situation. Pinch me if I'm wrong.) In a real life there will be more freedom in word usage, but here guru want us to be as precise as possible)


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

It's hard to tell for sure, honestly. I would guess that it's because the statement is basically saying that a towel exists for your usage, rather than what it's doing on the shelf.


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

Varfor är handuken "ligger" på hyllan inte? (I hope that sentence is correct :D ) I thought objects "lay", "sit", "stand" on things.


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

Det ligger en handduk på hyllan is an accepted translation. Handduken ligger på hyllan cannot be accepted, it both changes word order and makes the towel definite.


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

Why det finns and not det är


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

Please refer to my replies to TopRival75 in this thread.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HnL.
  • 902

My question is more about 'finns' and whether or not ligger is also possible. I've got used to not using finns when objects are on the table etc so it's a surprise to see finns here.


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

Both are perfectly fine. They mean the exact same thing here, really - except that you can only use ligger if the towel is actually lying down.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caronita3

Why not 'är'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrunoCharb4

I am a bit confused with all the possibilities for "there is". When should we use ligger, är, and finns ?


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

Basically, finns is existing and är for being. Exactly what this means can vary, and natives may not always agree on the best option, so there's plenty of overlap in practice.

We also use spatial verbs a lot. These can replace either finns or är, whenever it feels natural to also point out how something is located. So if something or someone is standing, we might use står instead of finns/är. The same goes for sitter and ligger - those are the most common ones by far.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lUC9P

Okay, im guessing the answer is going to be that thats just the way it us but ... why ligger, could a consense not be reached on whether a towel stands or lays?


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

What do you mean? That only ligger works would imply consensus, I think? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lUC9P

Sorry, bit of a story. My connection seems to have gotten into a strange state yesterday. It wasnt showing any comments and my answer with ligger wasnt accepted (perhaps i had a typo i hadnt noticed). So basically i was trying to ask why ligger didnt work via a bad joke. Which i screwed up royal by typing 'why ligger" instead of 'why finns'. Apologizes for the noise and as always thank you for your tireless contributions to the course.


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

Oh, okay. No problem at all. :) At least now you know that ligger is perfectly fine!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jo6PCa

Why not 'står på hyllan'? its what we say when baskets are on the shelf, why not the same with towels.


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

Towels can't really stand, can they? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jo6PCa

True. But can a basket? I get that it makes sense for the way something is placed or positioned on a shelf but I didn't realise that the way you say 'something is on the shelf' depends entirely on what that something is.


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

I'd say yes. Baskets are a bit ambiguous. You could probably use just about any spatial placement verb for them in Swedish, depending on the basket.

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