"Ich will, dass du Käse isst."

Translation:I want you to eat cheese.

December 29, 2012

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Would someone please explain me why should we use a comma between 'will' and 'dass'? I know that sometimes it is necessary to use commas before conjunctions, but that doesn't seem the case to me, specially because when you translate the sentence to English or Portuguese the comma is gone. Is it some specific German rule?


Normally with a modal verb an infinitive has to come at the end of the sentence. Seems to me the use of the comma in this case allows for the use of the conjugated "essen" at the end.


I think your answer might be a little complex. If you translate the sentence literally, you get "I want... that you cheese eat." Clauses beginning with "dass" have the verb at the end, so a closer translation in English is "I want that you eat cheese." This leads us to the more natural-sounding answer given above.

"Dass" introduces a subordinate clause, which means the clause is dependent on the main sentence. You can find a pretty good list of subordinating conjunctions (words like "dass" which introduce this type of clause) from http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa010910b.htm. About.com has pretty good explanations about the German language, so you may want to peruse other articles.


In short: yes, it is a specific German rule. Punctuation is at least as much to do with convention as logic, and in this case German happens to have developed this convention. It does look strange to somebody used to English punctuation, but you can get used to it.

The rule, as far as I can tell, is "always put a comma between a modal verb and a dass" -- but that's just what I've concluded from observation, so the official rule might be a bit more complicated.


It should also be "I would like for you to eat cheese.", shouldn't it?

[deactivated user]

    That's "Ich möchte gern, dass du Käse isst." "Ich will" doesn't sound as polite.


    What about "ich möchte gerne?"

    [deactivated user]

      It's fine. You can use "gern" or "gerne". There's no difference in meaning or style.


      Why is it always "isst?" Should it not be "ißt?"


      Same with "dass" and "daß."

      [deactivated user]

        They used to be spelt like that, but not anymore. It's "ss" after short vowels, and "ß" after long vowels and diphthongs.



        1996! That explains it. I left Germany in 1990...


        Of course many Germans went to school long before 1996 and many signs and books were printed before then so you still see the old usage of ß. Very confusing for us learners.


        so, I see that the construction isn't similar to English. Like, the verb 'to want' requires the subject after this : I want YOU to ... and I see in German, that you have to use 'dass' and then , the subject 'du'.

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