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  5. "Die Untersuchung dauert weni…

"Die Untersuchung dauert wenige Minuten."

Translation:The examination takes a few minutes.

December 25, 2012



Does this mean "... few minutes" or "... a few minutes"?

I tried the former out of curiosity and it was accepted, but the default translation has "a few" and they are not the same.

Compare "I have a few examples" (I have several) and "I have few examples" (I don't have many).


You are right, Agonisti. In this example "few minutes" plays down the time taken, whilst "a few minutes" plays up the time taken. I am not alone, in this string, in feeling that DL has chosen the wrong one here. "Wenig(e) = few", whereas "ein paar = a few"


I've now change my mind ( a year wiser!) and explain, elsewhere on this page, why I'm now sure DL's translation is correct!


Yes, this is a bit confusing. Another question in this lesson uses wenige to say few as opposed to many, while this uses it for a few, i.e. possibly many.


The first, based on another sentence where it was very clear that wenige means "few" (as in not many), instead of "a few" (as in, 'some').

So perhaps a better translation would be, "The examination takes but a few minutes." or "The examination takes only a few minutes."


I wrote "few minutes" and it was marked wrong. Only "a few minutes" is accepted


Why not "The examination lasts a few minutes" ?

Duo marked it wrong translation...


That seems ok and was accepted for me.


This is accepted, maybe like me, you entered "few minutes" and not "a few minutes" and then it as rejected.


Is "ein paar", instead of wenige, correct?


Yes, but it might change the meaning of the sentence into the opposite:

"es dauert (nur) wenige Minuten" => it only takes a couple of minutes (it won't take long).

"es dauert ein paar Minuten" => it will take a couple of minutes (it might take some time).


why not "the examination is taking a few minutes"??


"is taking" implies currently on going. At this point it could take a few minutes it or a few hours, you can't really know.

A better sentence would be "The examination is taking a while" or "the examination is taking a long time." Both imply that it is taking longer than usual.

To use "a few minutes", these would be your options:

"The examination takes a few minutes." - this is a general statement about how long the exam takes and is probably the source of the confusion. This is a distinction English makes that German apparently does not. Its like "the man eats apples" vs "the man is eating apples" both are "Der Mann isst Äpfel" in German, but mean two different things in English. The first is a general statement about the man meaning that he is willing to, and sometimes does, eat apples. The second is saying that he is currently eating apples.

"The examination will take a few minutes." - the exam hasn't happened yet.

"The examination took a few minutes." - the exam has finished

"The examination has taken a few minutes already." - the exam is currently happening.


The use of the present continuous tense indicates that the examination is in progress and not yet complete, and so the speaker is not in a position to say how long it will take when completed, as is required by the German sentence.

If the speaker only wants to say that it has taken a few minutes so far then the present perfect tense would be used, as in "The examination has taken a few minutes (so far)".


Does this mean more along the lines of just a few minutes, or a few minutes?


In other sentences where the word "wenige" is used, it means just "few", not "a few" (and "a few" isn't even accepted there). So what exactly does it mean? Does it mean both "few" and "a few" or is it yet another mistake here?

P.S. The hint on hover also says "few" here.


Could we not use: The examination will only last a few minutes?


"The test takes a few minutes" would be incorrect?


I think that the accepted translation doesn't reflect the meaning of the original phrase because of the distinction between "few" and "a few".

In the German phrase, imagine a medic saying "Die Untersuchung dauert wenige Minuten." What he means is "It won't last long". The closest translation would be "The examination lasts only a few minutes".

The accepted translation shifts the meaning. The patient expects the examination to be very fast, but the medic warns him that it will "take a few minutes".


I was also confused by this example and I think you are right and that this translation is not good. Given the similar example I had before I think that this sentence means few and NOT a few

Sakasiru's example from another thread:

They have few books. = Sie haben wenige Bücher.

They have a few books. = Sie haben einige Bücher.


Very astute, that's why as an interpreter I pay attention to these details. I love Duolingo but I wish we could have some native speakers in here to help with the nuances like this. Have a Lingot!


But the mistake pointed out to me was in "test", not in "takes"...


I think that it is referring to a physical examination, not like an exam.


What would be the difference between using the verb dauern compared to nehmen? Can't seem to find a clear answer. Thanks!

  • 2161

dauern = to take some TIME, to last

nehmen = to take some THING


It takes ten minutes to boil an egg. -- use dauern

Take ten eggs and boil them. -- use nehmen


Is Pruefung the same as Untersuchung? If not, how are they different?


"The examination doesn't last long." Was marked incorrect. Is it only because it's not a direct translation? I feel it is an accurate spoken translation, isn't it?


Your sentence translates to "Die Untersuchung dauert nicht lange.". That's another sentence that explicitly states what the other only implies.


Why isn't checkup accepted? I thought this can also mean medical examination, so checkup should be accepted no?


I thought -and its been accepted previously - that Untersuchung meant "investigation". Duo accepted peviously "The investigation takes a few minutes." ??? Not here though!


On the "a few" versus "few" argument;-

“Wenig” is the adjective meaning “little”. When an “e” is added, it will either have a noun following it, or it will become a PRONOUN; that is, it will stand in place a noun. Take the conversation:- Q: Would you like some grapes? A: Yes please, I’ll have a few. Of course, here “a few” means “ a few grapes” i.e. “a low number of grapes”.

“A few” is, in fact, the most efficient and most common way of expressing this concept if the noun is countable. If it is not countable, it will translate as “a little”. So we have here “wenige” = “a few” for countable nouns, or “a little” for uncountable nouns. No matter how many examples you look at, this is how you would translate “wenige” into English, whether it is followed by a noun, or not. So DL’s translation, “the examination takes a few minutes” is, I believe, 100% correct!


In English "few" and "a few" have a different connotation. "He had few friends at school," would imply a rather sad social life, whereas "He had a few friends at school" would imply a happier situation. I am happy to accept that wenige can mean either in German but find it hard to know how to distinguish in some situations when I am translating. I have previously always used "ein paar" for "a few".


"The examination takes few minutes" Is correct in usage without the article "A"


The results said this: "You have an extra space. The examination onlytakes a few minutes."

I don't think "onlytakes" is a word. :-D


Could "a couple of minutes" also be used as a translation? For the time being, it is not accepted.


So "etwas" is used for uncountable nouns and "wenige" is used for countable?

[deactivated user]

    Why can Untersuchung not mean 'search'


    What on earth is the difference between:

    "The investigation takes a few minutes." (accepted)


    "The investigation will take a few minutes" (not accepted)

    I refuse to put in any answer accept the 'not accepted' one. So I guess I'm not going to make any more progress on Duolingo...


    What on earth is the difference

    The tense. Present tense vs. future tense.

    Since I'm pretty sure you know, that Germans tend to use present tense to talk about future events, you probably assumed that translating this German present tense sentence into an English will future sentence is perfectly correct.

    In the given context it feels like it's a general statement about a specific kind of examination and not about a single upcoming one. But I have to admit that I'm also not entirely convinced that the future tense version should be considered wrong just because it might be less likely.


    In both English and German the future and present tenses are interchangeable as long as the context is clear. The rule is simply: "if the present tense does not mislead the listener, then there's no point in using the future. Here, the difference between present and future tense is trivial and so nobody is mislead......so why not use the present: it's slightly more efficient! In this case though, the reason for Duo's answer is simply that the German is in the present tense, so it expects the English to be.


    Yes, exactly. It's always most obvious choice to stay in the same tense. (Especially since Duolingo rarely provides enough context to be able to assume something else without a doubt.)


    Hi slap.pop. See my offering of 8 months ago below.


    "The examination will take a few minutes." was marked as incorrect, but I feel as though it is perfectly valid, based on 20 years teaching German & lots of experience in country. Can we add it, please?


    the investigation is a few minutes long.Why is this wrong?Please explain.


    what's wrong with my answer? "The investigation lasts few minutes."


    The examination takes several minutes, isn't accepted


    "The investigation lasts for few minutes." is what I wrote and it was wrong. Not sure if because of the English or what but I just had a hard time learning the difference between English "a few" and "few" and here everything I have learnt is thrown straight into a dumpster? Not a fan. (Reported.)

    ///Edit: I think it's English. I don't think one can say "few Minutes" without an article... so I think it still means "wenige" here but it's just the English grammar confusing us all. Google Translator said "Es dauert einige Minuten." would be "It will take a few Minutes."


    Is '' The examination lasts few minutes '' false ?


    Why isn't lasts a few minutes accepted? It marked me wrong


    Because you need the whole sentence "The examination lasts a few minutes."


    Is "wenige" the equivalent of the Dutch "weinig"?


    The main contention here with most people is between 'The examination takes a few minutes' and ' The examination takes few minutes.' Never mind the facts that 'a few' means more than 'few' what I need to know is this. Since the literal translation is 'The examination takes few minutes' how are we - the students - to know which version DL is actually expecting us to use, considering the word 'a' is not in the literal translation? I don't mind that including the 'a' is the correct answer according to DL in this particular instance, I just need to know what are the clues that point to that as THE correct answer rather than just the literal translation which does not include the word 'a' in it?


    'lasts' for 'dauert'?


    Yes, that's fine.


    why is ".... last for some minutes" wrong?


    To say in English "The examination takes few minutes." is perfectly correct, but a more natural way of expressing the idea is "The examination doesn't take many minutes.". Is this what the German actually means?


    I suggest using only "examination" in English in this case, or "medical visit". As stated previously, "exam" has another meaning.


    "Exam" should be accepted though too. I work in a hospital and we always say "exam." Hardly anyone actually goes to say the whole word. "I'm going to do an exam on you," or 'I'm going to do your exam now".


    "The examination takes few minutes." vs "The examination takes a few minutes." ??? Is there a difference (even if slight) in meaning?


    As a native speaker of English, I would never say "The examination takes few minutes."


    As a native speaker I find "The examination takes few minutes" very ugly but the more correct translation.

    I have few examples to convince you, but this sentence is one.

    If I said "I have a few examples" the meaning is changed.

    The difference is between not having many and having some.

    For some people it takes few minutes for the subtle twists of the english language to set in, for others it takes more time, if at all.

    Not casting nasturtiums, it's just another example. And I do mean aspersions.


    In English 'test' is the same as 'exam' and should be allowed.


    Why is "The examination takes several minutes." not correct?


    Because "several" translates to "einige" or "mehrere" and not to "wenige".


    I got this wrong a few times before I included the word 'only' in the English translation in accordance with the suggested answer, whereupon Duolingo accepted it. There is no 'only' implicit in the German version, though.


    I keep writing the correct sentence and will write minutes, yet everytime time it says I forgot the 's' when it is clearly there. This bugs me.


    We are splitting hairs here. A few, and several in this case both mean exactly the same. At least in America. Both for the most part are understood to be vague, but roughly around three around 3 minutes.


    WHY WENIGE AND NOT EIN PAAR? (All caps so message is noticed)


    My friend from Germany she said to me . Dauert not take


    I wonder if 3 is accepted. Because a few in English is 3.


    I think that if one were to say to a German that the exam 'takes 3 minutes', it would be expected that the exam would take precisely 3 minutes. Even in Amer. English (I am native speaker), 'a few minutes' may be understood as '3 or 4 minutes, or maybe 10 minutes'- in other words, as a short but not fully defined length of time. Comments from native German speakers would be interesting, to see if the same applies in their culture. :-)


    it could also mean a very long time and be used in a way I'm sure would confuse a non native speaker "the repair will take a few minutes" never means a short time period : )

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