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"Mia edzino ne volas, ke mia ĉemizo pendu sur la seĝo."

Translation:My wife does not want my shirt to hang on the chair.

June 14, 2015



I wrote "My wife does not want that my shirt hang on the chair" and was wrong...maybe it's my sentence structure?


Your answer is also correct (and arguably a more direct translation).


Duo accepted "My wife does not want that my shirt should hang on the chair", which I think is a little more correct (though still rather archaic sounding, of course).


In other languages, maybe.


Absolutely sentence structure - that's really dreadful English. A direct translation doesn't work well here. Read the notes on this page on the subjunctive - https://www.duolingo.com/skill/eo/Imperative


Is that actually dreadful English? It's true of course that the subjunctive is not used very often anymore in English, but has it really gotten to the point now that it is considered bad form? I don't mean to challenge you; I don't really know the answer and am just genuinely curious.

[deactivated user]

    Yes, it is poor English sentence structure and not because of how English speakers feel about the subjunctive. "Want" usually doesn't require "that" afterwards to form the subjunctive mood. So you could say "She does not want my shirt hanging on the chair" or "She does not want my shirt to hang on the chair", but "She does not want that my shirt hang on the chair" is poor English.

    However this is an example of why the subjunctive in English is tricky, even for native speakers, and why it is often avoided in regular speech.


    Interesting, thank you. I'm not actually a native speaker of English, myself, so that might have something to do with my uncertainty. However, the examples you gave ("She does not want my shirt hanging on the chair" and "She does not want my shirt to hang on the chair"), while obviously proper English, are not examples of the subjunctive mood here, right? If I am correct about that, how, if at all, would one put this sentence in the subjunctive?

    [deactivated user]

      Um, yes and no. They can be considered in the subjunctive mood or they can be considered as replacing the subjunctive mood. The problem is if you ask 5 linguists about this, you will get 5 different answers. Some will say it is some form of indicative mood, some will say it is subjunctive, but for different reasons. This is due to how the subjunctive mood in English is still evolving in contemporary usage. There is some gray area and there are differences between American and British English, but one thing is certain: overall, with English syntax regarding the subjunctive, the pattern is a shift toward for clearer, simpler syntax, including using indicative constructions to express the subjunctive. For example, "Want" is a verb that in English syntax demands a lot of clarity regarding its object, so English speakers are more inclined to use more indicative constructions to express the subjunctive because traditionally, the syntax for the subjunctive mood in English is pretty messy by modern standards. To a native speaker, forcing the traditional construction for the subjunctive mood into a sentence with "want" feels like the object that is suppose to follow "want" has gotten lost.

      For a native speaker, though, it is easier for them to intuit this because how they learned English is built around syntax that is still evolving and is tolerant of using indicative forms to express the subjunctive--and like I said, not even linguists are in agreement about what is happening here in terms of English's ongoing evolution--so it's admittedly a little difficult to really explain it to speakers of a language where the subjunctive mood is more much distinct.

      (But if it makes you feel any better, native English speakers often are very confused and intimidated by the subjunctive in languages with stricter rules about this mood. We are at a real disadvantage because we often have a hard time seeing the subjunctive as a distinct and separate mood from the indicative.)


      Thank you, that's very helpful :) I'll keep an eye out for how people think about and use the subjunctive mood in English, if at all. By the way, my native language of Dutch also doesn't really use the subjunctive mood, except in some archaic expressions/idioms. I guess I too am at a disadvantage, but that's alright—everyone is at a disadvantage about some things, I suppose, depending on their linguistic background.


      I wrote "My wife does not want that my shirt hangs on the chair" and it was accepted. I was really unsure of "volas, ke" and the -u ending so I just translated it really directly til I could look at the comment section.

      [deactivated user]

        That answer is also poor English. See my reply above for the explanation. Using "that" with "want΅ in English to make the subjunctive is a hypercorrection as best, and muddy syntax at worst. But this would not be the first time Duolingo accepted bad English for an answer. :\


        Is there a better way to translate this into English? More like, "My wife does not want my shirt to hang on the chair." Or is this something which is correct and makes sense in Esperanto, but doesn't translate well?


        Better than what? "My wife does not want my shirt to hang on the chair." is exactly what it means and also the translation listed above.


        It's the "pendu" which is tripping me up. I translated pretty directly and got it wrong. Why is that verb form used here? I'm understanding it as "that my shirt should hang" which seems...odd. Odd in English, which could simply be the start and end of my problem.


        Oh, I see. Yes, the imperative (command) form of verbs can sometimes be confusing since, in English, we often use a present, future, conditional, or even an infinitive form in its place. In Esperanto, the imperative tense isn't just used for explicit commands. It's used to express hopes, wants, wishes, or desires.

        But I suspect what makes this sentence particularly confusing is that the verb is negated by the previous clause. Would the following be more understandable?

        • Mia edzino _ volas, ke mia ĉemizo ne pendu sur la seĝo.


        Yes, that helps, thank you. I think the biggest issue is my English mindset. But now I'm picturing some woman shouting, "Ne pendu ĝin!"


        If we were to say "Mia edzino ne volas, ke mia cxemizo pendi sur la segxo." Would that still be correct Esperanto?


        I'm afraid not, as far as I'm aware. That construction requires the subjunctive, and thus the u-form, in Esperanto.


        How about, My wife does not want my shirt to be left hanging on the chair?


        This means something different. Your sentence suggests that she is fine with the shirt hanging as long it's supervised and taken off after a while. What the original sentence suggests is that she is against any kind of hanging, even for a second.


        Could one say, "My wife does not want my shirt hung on the chair"?


        "My wife does not want me to hang my shirt on the chair." Is the most accurate translation I can make which doesn't sound stilted and clumsy to my Midwestern accented American English ears.


        Is "ke" a preposition? I ask because there is no "n" ending on mia or ĉemizo.


        It's a conjunction joining two clauses. "That" in English. Lit. "My wife does not want that my shirt should hang on the chair."

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