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  5. "Vor, während oder nach dem A…

"Vor, während oder nach dem Abendessen?"

Translation:Before, during or after the dinner?

October 3, 2013



This is very confusing without an Oxford comma.


While I personally wouldn't go as far as "very confusing", I do think the Oxford Comma should always be used in lists like this. Does anyone here know if this is debated in German as it is in English? Is it never used in German? It is an "Oxford" comma after all.


No, the Oxford comma is not correct in German. Unfortunately, ambiguity cannot be ruled out completely, so it means sometimes one must rephrase the sentence.


Good to know, thanks!


Germans do not have the Oxford comma?


It is incorrect to use it in German. However, in German all dependent clauses are separated by commas


Most European countries do not use the Oxford comma, in contrast to the USA using it and standard rather than metric.


Why dative, dem Abendessen? I am confused...


because "vor", "wahrend" and "nach" are in Dative, see here http://german.about.com/library/blcase_dat2.htm


Well, "nach" is in dative, but "vor" at least is a two-way preposition, right? (Not sure about "während".) Is the case chosen always the one that goes with the final preposition?


"Während" has either the genitive: "während des Essens". This is very old-fashioned. Or it has the dative: "während dem Essen". That is very bad german. (Used often anyway.) But both mean the same thing, whereas "vor" means something different with dative than with accusative. In this case, it has the dative. So they all have the dative in common anyway. You wouldn't want to put "während" last, because then everybody can see you are using it with dative, you want to cover that up a bit, so "während" comes in the middle, where it belongs anyway for temporal reasons.

If you put several prepositions in a sentence like that, and they go with different cases, it's awkward in any case, and I would probably first choose the case of the object according to the sense of the whole sentence, then I would put the preposition last that goes with the case of the object. Then I would delete the whole sentence and construct the whole thing differently, because it would still be horrible.


Haha, fair enough. Thank you for the extensive explanation. That was very helpful! Have a lingot.


Great description on writing a terrible sentence. I know I've done exactly the same thing in English.


Ah, I see. Now I understand. Danke schoen!


Why dative prepositions, though?


I got this right, apart from the word "supper". Without thinking I used the word "Tea", which must be a British colloquialism...


In continental Europe there are 3 meals: breakfast, lunch (around 12) and dinner/supper at 6-7. Abendessen is this one. There's no tea at 4, biscuits at 4:15, a half a sandwich 10 min later etc. :)


Thanks, that made me laugh!


Laughed so hard I almost peed my pants!


"Tea" is also an alternative to "dinner" in Australia.


I'm pretty sure that Duolingo's English is American, and in America, "tea" is a drink, not a meal. The only meals are breakfast (morning), lunch (noon), and dinner/supper (evening). Of course, if we were quoting Lord of the Rings, we might say that the meals consisted of: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.


I translated literally to "evening meal" which could be "dinner" or "tea" depending on which part of the UK you are from. However, it was wrong :-(


I think tea comes from 'afternoon tea' originally, like tea, sandwiches, cakes etc at around 4/5pm but has moved to now encompass a later main meal, which if it was around 8pm would actually be supper. Whilst dinner, is defined as the main meal of the day, usually either around lunch or tea/supper time.


Not exactly. Tea originally referred to the evening meal. It still does in Scotland, the north of England and among the working class in the south.


I went for "evening meal" and was marked wrong. I'm reporting this.


@ SDH001

I would think it did not accept your answer because in English, at least everywhere I lived in the US "evening meal" is not used in this instance/this way. It would have to be "dinner", or in some areas "supper".

Sure you eat "dinner" or "supper" in the evening, but you can also eat any other type of meal, such as breakfast or dessert, in the evening. *Abendessen/dinner/supper" does not just stand for the time of day one eats but also for the type of meal that's customary.

I believe in the UK "tea" is also used for a meal like a dinner/supper. But since Duo is developed and programmed in the US it may not be in their dictionaries/databanks.


Thanks - that's interesting, but in the UK "evening meal" would be understood to mean a main meal, i.e. "dinner", definitely not "tea". "Supper" is ambiguous as it can also refer to a light meal just before bedtime.


The thing is though, Duo uses US English as far as I know. It seems to do pretty well accepting other regions' English vocabulary but does not have everything. At least not that I have seen. It probably would be too difficult, and too costly, to put in every possible word. Considering that it is free I try to not get too frustrated when I think that they have a weird translation.


I agree. Duo is US-based but does try to cater for UK English as well. That's why I report anomalies like this - it's a way of contributing to improving the product. I usually get a message eventually to say they've been accepted. Thanks for your comments.


I understand that colloquially, während is used as a dative preposition, but technically it's a genitive preposition. Is there a better way to say this sentence using während in the genitive, or will it get too clogged up as a sentence? How would you say this professionally, for example?


I'm still confused... I thought während is a Genitive case preposition.


It is. I guess in this sentence the dative case isn't as much frowned upon as usually because it's simply easier to say than "Vor dem Essen, während des Essens oder nach dem Essen?"


Omg im so happy I understood this sentence entirely. Ive started translating word by word and understood all the meaning. ITS SO EXCITING!


What' an Oxford Comma?


Don't try it, it doesn't work anymore. If ever.


We eat lunch translates as "Wir essen das Mittagessen". Would the definite article be added to Abendessen in a similar situation?


Yep, German adds definite articles to Frühstück, Mittagessen, and Abendessen.


When would one use wahrend and when durch to mean during?


This should help http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Praepositionen/Prepositions.html

Durch is an akkusativ form while Während is a genitiv form.


But isn't this sentence in Dative? "... dem Abendessen"


http://www.dict.cc/deutsch-englisch/hindurch.html.Here are some examples.My German text book has only two examples and it says that the word is then mostly hindurch.


Could I replace "nach" here with "hinter"?


No, "hinter" would indicate/work with a location, as in "behind" - " die Katze sitzt hinter dem baum", "die Kinder spielen hinter dem Haus."

nach- http://www.dict.cc/?s=nach -can be used with time (among many other uses)

hinter - http://www.dict.cc/?s=hinter

http://www.dict.cc/ is really good-it even lists expressions and has audio


"The dinner" says no native English speaker.


Seriously? What do you say? :D


Just "dinner" without the article, presumably. That's how I would say it. (Not a native speaker, myself, though.)


I would generally agree, as a native speaker. There is, however, one context in which I would use "the dinner", and that's referring to a dinner that's a special event--like a gala, company event or formal event. E.g. "I can't go see a movie at 6, I have a dinner then...but maybe after the dinner we could go?"


was'nt 'nach' used to mean 'to'?


nach can mean to (as in toward) but depending on context it also means after, to, past and more.

For example: wir werden spazieren gehen nach dem essen. - we will go for a walk after the meal/after eating

es ist zehn nach drei - it is ten past three

You can see here. This dictionary also lists examples http://www.dict.cc/?s=nach


if they are talking about dessert, than the answer is: every time!


so, which is the difference between "nach" and "danach"


"nach" = after; "danach" = after that

Nach dem Abendessen trinke ich Bier. // Ich esse Abendessen. Danach trinke ich Bier.

nach: You have to add, after what?

danach: There is no room to say after what, you said it in the sentence before.


That's right. It's kind of like "after" versus "thereafter", although that one in English is not used so frequently nowadays.


I suppose the modern equivalent of "thereafter" in that sense would be "afterward". But thinking of the more literal translation ("thereafter") makes it easier to remember. Thanks!


and i thought that vor meant "in front of", not "before"


Last time I had this sentence, I answered exactly like here, but it was market wrong! Duo said that correct it was "while" and not "during"!


Is dem needed here or can that be removed?


"Dem" is needed, every meal gets an article in german.

  • vor = preposition
  • bevor = subjugating conjunction. do X, before Y
  • vorher = before this point in time



Why isn't the "slow" speech available?


Why is there an article? Shouldn't it be "Before, during, or after dinner?" instead of "Before, during, or after THE dinner?"


German merely treats this word differently; there's not a reason, per se.


...did the murder take place?


who is meanwhile accepted (instead of during)?


Vor während oder nach dem Frühstück


It indicates while as a correct answer but it doesn't accept her


In the part of England I live in dinner is eaten at midday not evening!


why not "before, while or after the dinner?"



At least where I live it would have to be "during" dinner" to be correct English.

You could/need to use 'while" with a verb such as "while eating dinner" or "while dining" but not with a noun (such as "dinner"). So "while dinner" would be wrong/incorrect English.

You would have to use a verb in there such as "while eating dinner". Same as not being able to say "while drink" or "while movie" but would need to say "while drinking"/"while having a drink'" or "while watching a movie".


So if I understood well 'während' is a genitiv preposition... in which position should it be to transform 'das' into 'des' on this phrase?


so "nach" is both after and to?

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