I've just started to learn German, and I encountered this sentence:

Was isst du am liebsten?

The translation, according to he video that I'm learning from, is

What's your favourite food?

But as far as I know du is a personal nominative pronoun for the 2nd person; and based on my limited and superficial knowledge, I expected to see deine, the possessive pronoun form for the 2nd person, here. Is there an explanation for this?

On asking similar questions about the interests of others, how should I know when I should use du or deine?

Is it possible to form a question/sentence in German, without having something represented as nominative case in it?

  • 2
    Natural translations between languages often aren't literal - though sometimes it can be very helpful, especially for beginners, to have literal translations. To literally ask "What is your favorite food?" you could say "Was ist dein Lieblingsessen?". "Was isst du am liebsten?" means "What do you eat" am liebsten (I don't know a good literal translation for "am liebsten", because I'd generally switch to a translation that says "What is your favorite...". It's an adverb for doing a thing while liking it the most). Make sure not to confuse "ist" and "isst" here.
    – Nathan
    Apr 21 '20 at 4:12
  • 2
    Was isst du am lieben is simply wrong, it must be am liebsten.
    – RHa
    Apr 21 '20 at 6:53
  • 1
    "I expected to see deine, the possessive pronoun" Why? There is no such relationship. Compare it with "Was ist deine Lieblingsspeise?", where "deine" is indeed possessive.
    – Polygnome
    Apr 21 '20 at 22:59
  • " What do you like to eat the most?" -> No possessive form, either.
    – Polygnome
    Apr 21 '20 at 23:07

A more literal translation would be "what do you like to eat the most?". Also, what Nathan says (his comment should be an answer).

  • 2
    Welcome to German.SE. Feel free to include Nathan's comment into your answer, that is encouraged. You still can give him credit for it. Your answer is your choice and everybody commenting should know that others can make an answer of that. Apr 21 '20 at 6:15
  • It's best, not most, isn't it?
    – Iris
    Apr 21 '20 at 11:34
  • @Iris Both are possible Apr 21 '20 at 11:41
  • @infinitezero in the example of "like" both sounds good to me, but with "eat" I am not sure.
    – Iris
    Apr 21 '20 at 11:44
  • @Iris Read again, it's literally with "like" :) Apr 21 '20 at 11:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.