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While speaking with my tandem partner (Mothertongue: Austrian German) I happened to say: "Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau" and the girl told me that to her German ears that sounded wrong. She said it was too much and that I would have to say: "ich weiß nicht mehr" or "ich weiß nicht genau". Not both together in the same sentence. She could not really explain me why. She just said it sounded wrong and somehow too much.

What I was trying to say was "I don't know anymore exactly ... (bla bla bla)".

Does it sound wrong to you too? Is it maybe that I could say it but I would better not write it because it's not formal enough? Why is it wrong, by the way?

If that is really wrong, how do I express "I don't know anymore exactly ..."

  • 1
    I'm Austrian and it doesn't sound wrong to me. – kappadoky Apr 1 '15 at 7:27
  • 2
    Please avoid a question title in a different language to the question body. Thank you. – Takkat Apr 1 '15 at 9:40
  • 3
    Did you possibly use it with a direct follow up: "Ich weiß es nicht mehr genua, wo mein Handy ist." Because that is indeed a bit odd. – Emanuel Apr 1 '15 at 13:12
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It is no problem to use this sentence, because it is absolutely correct. The sentence ...

Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau.

... is an absolutely correct German sentence. There is nothing wrong with it. The meaning is, that you knew it exactly some time ago, but since then you have forgotten some details. So you still remember, but not exactly.

  • And it is often accompanied by an additional so: Ich weiß es nicht mehr so genau. – Jan Mar 31 '15 at 19:32
  • I agree (being a native speaker of Austrian German myself). There's nothing wrong with it. – Ingmar Apr 1 '15 at 6:59
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sentence:

"Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau"

  1. No it doesn’t sound wrong to me. Maybe in some other regions of Germany.
  2. So it is not wrong. She probably wanted to tell you that the most people do not use the long version. They just say:

ich weiß nicht mehr

or

weiß nicht genau

But keep in mind. If you find yourself in a situation with an unknown person or maybe your new business partner, you would never say something like "weiß nicht mehr".

1

The usage of the pronoun "es" in this sentence depends on the further context given. We should not use it if it does not refer to an object mentioned earlier but it is always possible (in Germany preferable) to omit it.

Example:

  • Wo ist deine Uhr? - Ich weiß es nicht / Ich weiß nicht.
    In this example both variants are possible.

  • Ich weiß nicht, wo meine Uhr ist.
    We would not know yet what es references to, hence "Ich weiß es nicht, wo meine Uhr ist." is considered bad style (though grammatically still correct).

1

The problem is probably not with the sentence when used standalone:

Was hast Du gestern getrunken?
Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau...

However, it would sound strange to the native speaker's ear if you used the sentence like this:

Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau, was ich gestern getrunken habe.

In that case the native speaker would say:

Ich weiß nicht mehr genau, was ich gestern getrunken habe.

  • I think you nailed the actual problem! – Emanuel Apr 1 '15 at 13:12
  • If this is the actual question, it wasn't well phrased imho. – Jan Apr 1 '15 at 14:45

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