1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Dich kann ich ersetzen."

"Dich kann ich ersetzen."

Translation:I can replace you.

December 20, 2012

42 Comments


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

The sentence means "I can replace you.", stressing "you". "Ich kann Dich ersetzen." would be the default word order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rwalker24

Thank you, that is what I thought. The Solution given by Duolingo was "you I can replace" I guess if they had used a comma it kind of makes sense 'you, I can replace'


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

TY. I thought it was a question at first and they just got the punctuation wrong...


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

Funnily enough, my last name, Setzer, comes from the verb, setzen. Somewhere in my lineage was a man who placed things well enough to be named by it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew78655

Maybe a stonemason/bricklayer? Dat boi sets a mean brick. Anyways, what last name should we give him?


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

Is that a threat?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneBrann1

...sagte der Roboter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mark.gardiner

Just wanted to note on a downvoted comment about the validity of "You I can replace"--this is correct but only in specific circumstances where you want to emphasize that I can replace you, but not other people. It's also pretty specific and idiosyncratic usage--I want to say uses of of it in American English probably have their roots in Yiddish. Most people would use it for deliberate comic effect.

Look up "topic-fronting" or "OSV" word order in Wikipedia. This Language Log post on left dislocation is also relevant, although it doesn't describe an identical phenomenon: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=629

(In comments on the LL piece people do bring up "Yiddish fronting," so my thoughts above may not be entirely incorrect.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2873

The English translation is "I can replace you." so it seems it's fixed now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rwalker24

Hooray! Progress.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/forstm53

Dich kann ich ersetzen ist gleich Ich kann dich ersetzen... So why is this wrong, German gives you the ability to move words around as long as you follow the order. Ich is the subject in this sentence which means I can place it first or third.


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

It is not exactly the same. If the object is sentence initial, it is stressed. "I can replace YOU (but not someone else)."


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

In most German sentences wordorder does not change the meaning of the sentence, but the case does. Den mann beißt der hund.


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

Does this imply that I am the one taking your place, or could it also be that I choose someone else to replace you?


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

It could mean either of those -- either "I will be your replacement" or "I will find a replacement for you".


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

Can it mean *I can substitute for you"? If not how would you say that?


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

What would be the negative of this sentence? Dich kann ich nicht ersetzen ????


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

That's right.


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

Is this word order emphatic or optional in German?


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

Here the word order is definitely emphatic.


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

Thanks! This information is very important, I think...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaredLong9

So why is the word order odd here, and yet other times German won't accept accented word orders?


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

Shouldn't this be: "Ich kann dich ersetzen" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenTheF-18

It can be. In this case, the sentence is placing an emphasis on "dich". It makes the sentence read like "I can replace YOU (specifically)".


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

Which case would this be ? Accusative ?


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

This is accusative.


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

Which case would this be ? Accusative ?

dich is accusative

ich is nominative


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paul29may

'You can replace me`Please translate.


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

"Du kannst / Sie können mich ersetzen."


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

I think I need new ears - I keep hearing ich kann es ersetzen


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

Mit einem kleinen Shell-Skript!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chen247935

Why is "Ich kann dich ersetzen" marked wrong?


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

I assume this was a listening exercise. There, you have to type what the voice says, not a similar sentence.

If that wasn’t it, a link to a screenshot would be helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chen247935

It wasn't, and it's just a bit too late for a screenshot...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YNOT-TONY

why is the English translation not "You can replace me"?


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

why is the English translation not "You can replace me"?

Because the German sentence is not Du kannst mich ersetzen but Dich kann ich ersetzen.

In English you can tell who is getting replaced and who is doing the replacing not only by the word order (which is essentially always "subject – verb – object") but also by the form of the pronouns -- "me" is an object pronoun in your sentence.

In German, you can also tell the difference: the subject (the person doing the replacing) will be in the nominative (e.g. ich, du) and the object (the person being replaced) will be in the accusative (e.g. mich, dich).

Duo's German sentence Dich kann ich ersetzen has dich in the accusative case ("you" is the person being replaced) and ich in the nominative case ("I" am the person doing the replacing).

In natural English, that's "I can replace you." (We wouldn't ordinarily say "You can I replace" or even "You I can replace" in today's English.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YNOT-TONY

Thanks, I missed the "dich" part. So then why does the sentence put Dich at the beginning of the sentence? If you normally says "I can replace you" should that be "Ich kann dich ersetzen"? Any reason the sentence switch ich and dich? Or it doesn't matter where you put them in German?


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

why does the sentence put Dich at the beginning of the sentence?

To mark it as the topic and give it emphasis.

Kind of like "As for you -- I can replace you." (But it doesn't sound that heavy in German.)

If you normally says "I can replace you" should that be "Ich kann dich ersetzen"?

Yes -- that is the neutral word order, which doesn't emphasise, mark, or topicalise any part of the sentence.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.