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I am trying to translate the following sentence:

Den schönsten Urlaub verbrachten wir auf einem Bauernhof in Bayern.

I think the English translation would be:

The most beautiful holiday we had was on a farm in Bavaria.

If I do a word by word translation of the first sentence, I can't see anything equivalent of "was". Why is that?

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    I'll let a Muttersprachler handle this, but just to address the title of your post, note that the verb is verbrachten - which is the (one-word) past tense of verbringen.
    – cruthers
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 15:00

2 Answers 2

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There is a verb in the sentence, just not the same one your English translation uses ;) The verb in the German sentence is "verbringen", or in first person plural past tense, "wir verbrachten". With the meaning used here, you could translate "verbringen" as "to spend (time)". So, a bit more literal translation of

Den schönsten Urlaub verbrachten wir auf einem Bauernhof in Bayern.

would be

The nicest vacation we did spend on a farm in Bavaria.

or

The nicest vacation was the one we spent on a farm in Bavaria.

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You have a free translation there, one that tries to better convey the meaning instead of sticking to the same grammar.

The verb in the German sentence is "verbrachten", a form of "verbringen". "Einen Urlaub verbringen" means "to have a holiday" or "to spend a holiday".

A literal translation would be:

We had the most beautiful holiday on a farm in Bavaria.

However, the German sentence begins with "the most beautiful holiday", which means that the actual topic of the sentence is which holiday was the most beautiful. To convey this in English, the free translation you got is much better.

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