1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Haustiere mögen Kinder nicht…

"Haustiere mögen Kinder nicht."

Translation:Pets do not like children.

December 20, 2012



I don't get it. How can this mean "Pets do not like children" and at same time "Children do not like pets"?


Because the subject does not have to preceed the verb as it does in English. If you wanted to emphasise that it is pets that children don't like you would put pets first in the sentence. There is nothing in the sentence to indicate which is the subject and which the object of the verb.


I see, it can be somewhat confusing at first, thank you :)


So, it's an interesting question: if a german speaker wanted to make sure that Die Tiere was the subject and not Kinder how would that be accomplished? I can't think of an obvious way. Maybe something like Die Tiere haben Abneigung gegen Kinder - but that sounds obtuse to me.


You just go by context and tone of voice. The SVO order is generally more common than OVS, especially out of context. Sometimes other parts of the sentence, like adverbs, will indicate which it is... Also, it's easier to tell when the verb is conjugated differently for each noun for obvious reasons. Like if it were "Haustiere mag mein Kind nicht" or something like that.


Thanks! this type of discussion is the best part of Duolingo for me.


I grew up and still live in Central PA. There are still people here that speak English with some German grammar but obviously without the der, die das. It's not that odd if you're used to it. But if you are looking for the subject to always be at the beginning of the sentence you my be confused. We just speak in a manner that is more inflected especially if we are asking a question.


So how can you tell which of the sentences is suitable?


Pets do like children


And children often do like pets!


So you want to say this is how it works in German. Isnt it confusing ? Any workaround ?


You would use the context. For instance, in english the sentence "How do you do?" is ambiguous since it could apply to a single person or a group of persons; yet, in a conversation the intent is generally obvious.


Aren't there case endings with the verb "mogen" that would distinguish subject and object here? Why not?


Because both pets and children are plural so they would both use the 'they' verb ending.


My two cents... pretty often when you don't use the SVO structure in a sentence, there is an exclamation mark at the end, to point out that better the emphasis.

At least, in language courses, so you notice it.

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