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In an exercise, they ask to translate

I like to sleep in my bed

which I'd translate as

Ich mag in meinem Bett schlafen

However according to them my translation is wrong, and they give

Ich mag es in meinem Bett zu schlafen

which however I don't understand. Questions:

  • is my version also correct?
  • is their version correct?
  • is there some difference in meaning?
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Both versions are correct. It depends on context.

For example:

In which bed do you want to sleep next night?

I'd like to sleep in my bed.

This would be translated as

Ich möchte in meinem Bett schlafen.

or if you like

Ich mag in meinem Bett schlafen.

But if the context is:

What do you enjoy doing?

I like to sleep in my bed.

is translated as:

Ich mag[or liebe] es in meinem Bett zu schlafen.

or even simpler:

Ich schlafe gerne in meinem Bett.

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Thanks, so I interpret the alternate form something like Ich mag es, in meinem Bett zu schlafen ie I like it, to sleep in my bed (although I suppose it can't really be translated that way). – karoshi Sep 15 '13 at 11:10
@karoshi So to speak. But you wouldn't say it in English like that. I guess the difference in English is inserting would what is possible in German, too. "Ich würde gerne in meinem Bett schlafen". At any rate, the comma is wrong. – Em1 Sep 15 '13 at 11:48
It should be noted that while "mögen" can take an infinitive, it almost never does in contemporary usage. Much, much more often it takes a noun: "Ich mag Erdbeereis" or a subclause: "Ich mag es, wenn du mich streichelst" (and the second form requires the 'es'). Therefore, the canonical translation is definitely "Ich schlafe gern...". – Kilian Foth Sep 15 '13 at 11:50
@Em1 Yes, I was only inserting the comma to emphasize how I was logically breaking down the sentence, without implying that it should be used in the real language (although see Kilian's answer...) – karoshi Sep 15 '13 at 11:51
I think we should add, that mögen + infinitive is in colloquial a bit childish German used without es... "Ich mag Musik hören, schlafen, auf Party gehen". It could be argued that those are actually nouns but I think most people would write it wthout capital which hints at a perception as a verb. – Emanuel Sep 17 '13 at 14:15

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