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"We are not drinking beer, we are drinking wine."

Translation:Bira içmiyoruz, şarap içiyoruz.

June 9, 2015



Just want to know if I have this right. Because we're just referring to "beer" and "wine" and not "the beer" or "the wine," those two words, even though they are in the accusative, are not declined. Correct?


I am not clearly understanding your question maybe, but I will give it a shot! :)

"bira" and "şarap" are in the nominative case in this sentence, not the accusative. When objects are in the nominative case, they have a general meaning.

Both of these can be put into the accusative, with the forms of "birayı" and "şarabı." The instant you do this, they will have a specific meaning as a direct object (e.g. "the beer"). Since these are not in the accusative case, they can only have the general meaning. Let me know if that helped!


Well, I appreciate the thoughtful reply and how quickly you replied to it. After reading your reply, however, I wonder if we are viewing the same sentence. In English, the sentence, "We are not drinking beer; we are drinking wine," which I believe is what the sentence was (all punctuation adjustments for English aside), the "we" in that sentence is in the nominative and both "beer" and "wine" in such a sentence are in the accusative -- the direct object of the verb "drink." If, in such a sentence, the beer and wine are in the nominative, that would mean they are doing the drinking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, beer and wine don't do the drinking. Are we working off of the same sentence?


The nominative is not only for subjects in Turkish :) It can be a subject, general direct object, object of some prepositions, vocative, amongst many other things!


That's really quite interesting because the definition of nominative case in English is as follows:

From: https://www.google.com/#q=%22nominative%22:

relating to or denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives (as in Latin and other inflected languages) used for the subject of a verb

From www.dictionary.com:

  1. Grammar. a.(in certain inflected languages, as Sanskrit, Latin, and Russian) noting a case having as its function the indication of the subject of a finite verb, as in Latin Nauta bonus est “The sailor is good,” with nauta “sailor” in the nominative case.

But that's not the case in Turkish? Hmmm. Who knew. That's quite interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind while learning Turkish. It is truly a unique language if its nominative case can be used for so many different parts of speech!


I think it's the terminology that's tripping you up: that's how the thread got so confusing. The case refers to the word's inflection (its ending, in Turkish). It doesn't necessarily refer to the word's function in a sentence: we have other words (subject, direct object, etc) for that. You can get away with using "accusative" to mean "direct object" in languages where the correspondence is cleaner, but not so much in Turkish, since, as Alex and Selcen point out, not all direct objects are in the accusative case, and not everything in the nominative case is a subject. So if you're talking about Turkish, it's better to say "direct object" when you're talking about what the word does, and "accusative case" when you're talking about the ending it's carrying.


"beer" and "wine" are in nominative, I highly recommend that you go back and repeat the accusative skill, as it is so essential and althogh you are in level11 it is not clear for you. In Turkish accusative is only for direct, DEFINITE objects and beer and wine are certainly NOT DEFINITE


I appreciate your reply and interest in answering my question, but I found your tone rude and inappropriate for the question I was asking. As for the level I am at, I can't help it if that's where duolingo wants to put me. If I'm at a level you don't think I should be, then maybe that's something duolingo should fix. I have no control over that.


I do agree with you about the tone of her answer, that I've seen not once or twice around here. However I don't take it personally, I try to get the best of her answers, because in the end this team is putting together a course and extra material with so much effort that it can be very disappointing that people doesn't take advantage of the product of their effort.

I also agree about the level, since I took the test for my native language and got level 11, but I'm now level 10 in turkish and I still stutter A LOT trying to get the answers correctly. But better than complain is to move on.

Back to the original question, I commit over and over the same mistake of considering wine and beer as accusative, because in my language (and probably in several languages) it doesn't depend on the object being definite or not.

However, I make here my mea culpa, because I didn't spend any time studying extra material and tips and hints about the lessons of the course, and if I did it, I'd know what Selcen explained, that definite objects are the ones that goes to accusative, otherwise it takes the nominative form.

Thank you all for your questions and answers that make this experience more and more rich and entertaining


I almost always agree with the moderators. But here Lisa has a good point. I would say she is right about accusative, from my experience with the subject. In Russian, for instance, many nouns can be a direct object (read: be in accusative) without declining. Neutrum gender words don't change in accusative in comparison with the nominative form. Female words with an "a" in nominative change that a into "u" in accusative. Male words don't change unless they represent living things. But that has nothing to do with their function in the sentence. Accusative in general is in my experience a name for a function that a word has rather than a suffix. I don't see accusative generally as something signalling specificness. It is only in Turkish I have encountered this connection. In the sentence "Ben kitap okuyorum" I would be inclined to say that "kitap" is accusative, but the word has the same form as in nominative. In my opinion if action is done upon something, that something is the direct object, and the words function in the sentence is accusative.


In English it sounds like it's happening right now. That's why it causes questions about the accusative. How can you speak about general things when you're actually drinking it?


Just curious - could I also say Bira değil, şarap içiyoruz, without changing the meaning of the sentence?




"We are not drinking beer, we are drinking wine." Translation: Bira içmiyoruz, şarap içiyoruz.

Just curious - could I also say Bira değil, şarap içiyoruz, without changing the meaning of the sentence?

Adverb - değil. Not (negates meaning of verb "to be")

If the waiter/waitress brought beer to you table by mistake in a restaurant only. Then yes.

Bira değil, şarap içiyoruz. Not the beer, we are drinking wine.

You have negated "not" the beer.

Thank you.


The English here is fine as a piece of informal spoken language (although the use of contractions ("We're not drinking ..." or "We aren't drinking ...") would make it sound more natural). As a piece of writing, it provides an example of a comma splice, which is a bit of a no-no. This could be corrected by using a semicolon in place of the comma or just splitting it into two sentences. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_splice

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