"Wasser mögen sie nicht."

Translation:They do not like water.

December 23, 2012

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Why isn't it "Sie mogen Wasser nicht", what's with the change in structure? I thought verb comes before subject in questions, and this isn't a question.


Because German marks (pro)nouns with cases, word order is more flexible. You can say either "Sie mögen Wasser nicht" or "Wasser mögen Sie nicht".


I assume it's the same as "They do not like water" and "Water is not liked by them"?


I don't think it is the same as that, because in your example the two sentences are different in what is subject ("they" vs "water)", because the verb is in its active form in the first case, passive in the second.

In German the two sentences "Sie mögen Wasser nicht" and "Wasser mögen Sie nicht" are just the same (I think! German-speakers please correct me if necessary), the different order does not give any different role/value to the words and "Sie" is the subject in both cases... Isn't it?


Quite so, Stefano.

"Wasser mögen sie nicht" gives some emphasis on the water, like in English "Water is the thing they do not like."


So, then, would "They do not like water" and "Water they do not like" be a better comparative?


How then you say: "Water doesn't like them"? Is such anthropomorphisation in German impossible?


How then you say: "Water doesn't like them"?

You would use the verb form that matches "water" rather than the verb form that matches "they" -- Wasser mag sie nicht.


But well, maybe when your a sailor navigating on the sea you can say ... "water doesn't like me"


a sentence doesn't have to make sense to be grammatically correct (and possible), see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorless_green_ideas_sleep_furiously


So it's like a Yoda version, am I right?


Can you remove the subject if the pronouns are obvious?

I mean, for example "You see me." being translated into "Siehst mich.", eliminating the subject "du".


No. German is not a pro-drop language.


maybe there is two kind of structures ... anyway we still at the begining courses, there will be explanations later i guess


The verb is suppose to be in the second position in this kind of phrase. The order of the other parts is more flexible.


Is there a name for this type of phrase?


It is the most basic one: No question, no dependent clause.


The verb comes second. The first element is often the subject, but it can be another element. The idea is the new information comes at the end. So if you say "Wasser mögen sie nicht", it probably means that the subject of the conversation is water, and you want to put forward the information that "they" don't like it.


Instead of "Sie mögen Wasser nicht" you'd more often hear "Sie mögen kein Wasser." In Germany you have the possibility to put an object in the beginning whenever you want, for emphasis or some other purpose:

"Sie mögen kein Wasser, aber ihre Kinder, die trinken gerne Wasser!"

"Wasser mögen sie nicht, aber Bier schon!"

"Der Hund hat den Knochen gefressen"

"Den Knochen hat der Hund nicht gefressen, aber das Fleisch schon!"


I came to the comments specifically for this


"Sie mögen kein wasser" would have been my guess if they asked me. The sentence in the example is just plain confusing.


The first element is the theme of the sentence. "Wasser mögen sie nicht" adds information about water. "Sie mögen Wasser nicht" says something new about them (Sie).


The structure is not that important in German, I guess.. The verb is where you look.


Yes, it certainly has a more flexible sentence structure than English.


In Latin it is even worse than this.


ah~ mogen should use "They"


Nein! In Deutch sentence, the words can change their sequence each other.


So sentences don't have a strict order?


No, they don't. Don't worry about it too much for now you'll learn along the way. For now, just remember that the verb (mogen) is always in the second position.


I answered "mögen sie nicht wasser" and it was correct


    Are you sure? It shouldn't have been.


    As long as the verb comes second. An older style of English would have allowed, "She called; but answer came there none!"


    yeah a little confusing..


    How do I know when "sie" is supposed to be "she" and when "They"?


    Look at the verb's conjugation. If it means "they", the verb will end in -en (at least in present tense). If it means "she", the verb will end in -t. See also http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang04b.htm


    Actually, in this case, if sie had meant she, then the verb would have been mag instead of mögen.


    I think this is the first time since the basics that Duolingo has actually used "they" during my lessons. I wish there was a way to practice, not "weakest words," but "words that have been seen the least often."


    Ha thats so funny.. my translation was "water doesnt like them"...


    I believe that would be: Wasser mag ihren nicht.

    Or perhaps: Ihren mag Wasser nicht.


    Water is stressed with this word order, so a correct translation would be 'It's water they don't like'.


    yes, but this would be translation + adaptation to English. We have to translate almost literally at this stage


    why is it not correct to answer "You don;t like water", when referring to the formal 'you'?


    Because "sie" is not capitalized, it does not mean formal "you". (It is ambiguous in speech, though.)


    thanks for that. I worked it out after I posted the comment. I realise that it is all there in the detail... you just have to look.


    Then... what do they drink? :P


    Since this is German, they drink beer, of course. And since there are children here, it's Alkoholfrei!


    So, it's not "she doesn't like water"


    no it's not she, you can tell by the verb conjugation, the conjugations tells that it's for a plural, therefore sie means they, since Sie =You(formal), sie = they/she


    Duolingo says "Wasser mögen sie nicht" but refuses elsewhere "Wir mögen Wasser nicht". Why do you need to use 'kein' in the second sentence but not in the first ?


    I was told that German and English are very similar. But such structural changes are not widespread in English. German language is indeed very flexible.


    They used to be much more flexible in English though - just think of sentence structure in Shakespeare for example. I'm pretty sure 'water they like not' would have been acceptable then.


    This is what gets me, the order of the verbs and why. Someone above said that the verb must be in the second position in sentences like this. But why? and how do you tell when the sentence has to be structured this way?


    In non-question sentences the verbs goes always to the second place. Things get complicated with modal verbs (more than one verb in the main clause) and with dependent clauses (different types of clauses need different word orders). But with basic sentences the “verb on the second position” works.


    Could it be translate as "Water don't like them"? I know it's a like weird, but...


    No, because "mögen" is a plural form, the subject must be plural.


    "Sie mögen kein Wasser"?


    What is your question?


    why is not sie mögen keine wasser? wasser is a noun and we use kein to dent nouns... i dont get the order and the use of nicht


    wasser is a noun

    Indeed. Which is why it has to be capitalised. Capitalisation is part of the spelling.

    Also, Wasser is a neuter noun, not a feminine one or a plural one.

    So feminine or plural keine does not make sense here.

    Sie mögen kein Wasser. would be possible.


    Err... I get the capitalised "S" and accustavie/nomative things, but what about making it a negative? Can it not be "Wasser mögen nicht sie" ? Why?


    Maybe that's just one flexibility too far!


    what if we are talking about [they-sie] and it goes at the begining and we have to capitalize it, how do we differentiate between formal you and they? for both, the verbs end in -en


    Then it would be ambiguous. But I think that's why they're trying to put it in the middle of the sentence so it's clear...


    though obviously it would usually be clear from the context, which we don't have here.


    I still don't understand why I couldn't write, "Wasser moegen Sie nicht." meaning formal "you". Anyway, I did capitalize Sie and was still correct.


    again with the lost heart due to them thinking i shouldnt have a the before "water" my answer: "they don't like the water" their answer: they dont like water


    The water would be das Wasser, that's why you're wrong.


    how come nicht goes at the end of the sentence? Is this a rule like the verb placement?


    How is it not she?


    Because the conjugation of "mögen" (to like) is "mögen" (plural subjects). If the subject was "she" (third person singular), the conjugation of "mögen" would have been "mag" (third person singular).


    What a confusion..my God !!


    In this sentence the "Wasser" is stressed. e.g. Sie sind durstig, aber Wasser moegen sie nicht. They are thirsty, but they do not like water. Hope this helps.


    this discussion has helped me a lot. So, it's sie=they when the verb (regular of course) ends in ...en. I'm hooking that to "they+en=then". Ok, next we have sie = she with singular verb ending ...t, and finally Sie (caps) with plural verb for formal I'll remember the big S is for BIG shots. Of couse if sie/Sie is at the beginning of a sentence it's up to the verb again. Thanks to everyone for the help.


    if "Wasser mögen sie nicht" is = They don't like water. then how to express the reverse "the Water does not like them"?


    das Wasser mag sie nicht

    "Water" is singular so you would use a different verb form.


    【Word Order】I'm not joking, but who can tell me who is looking at who in this sentence: Jack sieht Rose. I've been seeing comments below and still not 100% sure about the word order rule.


    Why s in sie is not capital here? I thought Sie means they...


    'Sie' means formal plural or formal singular you, while 'sie' means they. When sie goes to the beginning of a sentence, its meaning can only be told by contexts.


    Could it be "Sie mögen nicht Wasser"?


    Sie mögen Wasser nicht is correct.


    Would "Sie mögen nicht Wasser" be also correct?

    [deactivated user]

      No, it would be Sie moegen kein Wasser.


      OMG. so every sentence in german would be a challenge for translators. or it's new for me to see flexible structures!!!?? .


      Who doesn't like WATER?


      My answer was "You don't like water", as a polite form. And Dou didn't validate it. Why my answer is not correct? Thank you.


      Sie is not capitalized in the sentence. The formal you must be capitalized.


      I wrote "Water doesn't like you." Clearly wrong...


      is "wasser sie mogen nicht" okay?


      No, it is not. The verb mögen has to be the second thing in the sentence, and you can't put both the object Wasser and the subject sie in front of it.


      "water is disliked by them" is not the correct thing either


      Sentences like this are why I'll never be able to understand German completely.


      What about "Sie mögen kein Wasser." As in "they like no water." Or something like that. Sry if stupid question.


      I understand this would be a nonsense statement, but how would one say 'Water doesn't like them'?


      Wasser mag sie nicht.


      Vielen dank. I never thought about whether water would be singular or plural oops.

      • 1191

      Couldn't that sentence be also translated as "She doesn't like water."?


      that would be "Wasser mag sie nicht"


      Hi, thank you for posing this wonderfully insightful question.

      Since 'sie' (them) remains 'sie', when changing from the nominative to the accusative, my question is if this sentence can be understood as 'Water doesn't like them' since you can't tell the case by 'sie'? 'Wasser' lacks a pronoun so I can't tell if it is the subject or the object either. Many thanks!


      The verb mögen shows that the subject is first person plural or third person plural.

      So at best, it could mean "Waters don't like them" -- but as in English, "water" is rarely spoken of in the plural in German, so that would be an unlikely interpretation of Wasser mögen sie nicht.; it's much more likely for the subject of mögen to be sie.


      How to say " water doesn't like you" ?


      If you want to use Sie for "you", then Wasser mag Sie nicht.

      Note that the verb will change to agree with the subject Wasser.

      However, with a plural subject, e.g. Möbel mögen sie nicht, it could mean either "Furniture does not like them" or "They do not like furniture".


      Yoda? Is it you?


      This example convinced me that this order makes sense. > Die Pflanzen bevorzugen einen gut durchfeuchteten Boden. Doch zu viel Wasser mögen sie nicht. ;)


      So when does it become an obligation to use ''kein''? I remember that in some courses we were forced to use ''kein''.


      Shouldn't the 's' in sie be capitalised here?


      No. That would mean that "you" (Sie) don't like water rather than that "they" (sie) don't like water.


      Can someone help, my app isnt playing any vocal audio but its playing all the other sound effects. Theres no way i can pass this questions without hearing them, does anyone know how to fix this?


      Is it still grammatically correct if I would say "Sie mogen Wasser nicht"?


      Isn't 'sie"-"she" & "Sie"-"They" ?



      sie = she / her / they / them

      Sie = you (formal)


      Germans essentially just put "not" at the end of their sentences.


      I feel your confusion...It seems like German always puts the negative at the end of the sentence, not (well, not always anyway.)

      Here, take a look at these links. It might help to resolve your confusion. You will get to the point when you'll just instinctively know which one to use...but, where to use it still gets me confused sometimes. Good luck!



      Is the only reason we can tell that sie is the subject is because mögen can't refer to Wasser? Does the sentence "Bären mögen sie nicht" translate to "they don't like the bears" or "the bear doesn't like her"or something else entirely


      Is the only reason we can tell that sie is the subject is because mögen can't refer to Wasser?

      That's right.

      Does the sentence "Bären mögen sie nicht" translate to "they don't like the bears" or "the bear doesn't like her"or something else entirely

      It could mean either "Bears do not like her", "Bears do not like them", or "They don't like bears". (Bären cannot mean "the bear" or "the bears".)

      In speech, you would be able to tell what was the subject from intonation (and context).

      In writing, it's ambiguous, and would generally be understood as having Bären being the subject if there was no context, since subject–verb–object is the default word order.


      Why was the sentence arranged like that?


      To expose you to sentences that do not have the subject first -- Germans sometimes put other parts at the beginning or end to emphasise or focus them.

      Here, for example, Wasser could be a topic -- a bit as if you had said: "I'll tell you something about water: they don't like it" or "As for water: they don't like it".

      The emphasis is a bit different between Sie mögen kein Wasser and Wasser mögen sie nicht, even if the basis meaning is similar.

      So you should expect to encounter sentences with non-default word order and be able to understand them correctly.


      I suppose this would be like saying "water they do not like"


      Literally, yes.

      But in German, it sounds a lot more natural than in English; this kind of word order has more or less fallen out of favour in English and so it tends to sound archaic or poetic.


      Could "sie' also be "she"


      I'm afraid not. "mögen" makes "sie" into "they" in this instance.

      Wasser mögen sie nicht = They do not like water.
      Wasser mag sie nicht = She does not like water.
      Wasser mögen Sie nicht = You (formal) do not like water.
      (all of these put the emphasis on Wasser).

      It could also be stated as:
      Sie mögen Wasser nicht. = They/You do not like water.
      Sie mag Wasser nicht. = She does not like water.
      (all of these put the emphasis on Sie)


      I wrote they don't like water and it marked it as wrong


      Isn't my answer the same


      Nobody can see your answer.

      If you have a question about your answer, please always quote the entire answer here.


      Hit like if you too felt unfair


      Why can't this be translated as 'water doesn't like the'? I get that it doesn't make that much sense, but I'm more looking at the sentence structure to know for the future.


      Why can't this be translated as 'water doesn't like the'?

      Look at the verb. mögen cannot have a singular subject.


      I think there is a similarity between French and German. When you say" il me manque" you mean "I miss him." I suppose an exception for pronoun objects


      I listened to it many times and couldn't figure out that she was saying "Wasser." It was unintelligible to me.


      Not many people know this, but Yoda learnt English in Germany; hence his strange syntax.


      Why can't I say "they doesn't like water?". Non native speaker here


      Why can't I say "they doesn't like water?".

      The -(e)s verb ending as in "does" is for "he, she, it".

      There is no verb ending for "they".

      Thus "he does, he doesn't" but "they do, they don't".

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