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22

I interpret the question as: How did the functional difference between a "narrative" and a "conversational" past come about? I assume the development of the forms is not relevant (i.e. the fact that German, like English, combined an auxiliary with a past participle to form a new tense). I'll try to answer with a few (hopefully uncontroversial) remarks. ...


12

In this case the difference is not related to tenses. Erlernen and lernen are two different verbs. More often than not er can be identified with a (non-separable) prefix that implies to do the things until the goal is reached ("Vorsilbe, die eine zielgerichtete Handlung ausdrückt"). Hence, erlernen is to learn something until you master it, while lernen ...


9

Your initial sentence is in the passive voice so it is likely for the translation to be in the passive voice, too. German grammar is considered to have two passive forms: a dynamic passive formed with werden and a stative passive formed with sein. Compare: Das Haus wird gebaut. (The house is being built) Das Haus ist gebaut. (The house is built) When ...


8

The other answers cover most of what should be said but I am gonna go for it anyway: So... your German translation sounds correct and people say that a lot, BUT that is a coincidence. It is not the German equivalent of the English progressive aspect. Ich war/bin arbeiten/einkaufen/telefonieren/baden/Fussball gucken/.... This looks like ...


8

The infinitive is "verscheiden". It's an old fashioned word for "sterben" (to die). Sometimes you can also see "aus dem Leben scheiden" which means the same, but is less old fashioned and more formal.


7

Google translate is a machine. It has severe issues even with primary school grammar. This becomes especially obvious on letting it translate questions with Do you...? or Did you...?. Try with the following: Do you watch the show? - Haben Sie die Show zu sehen? --> Awfully incomprehensible. Did / Do you see the unicorn? - Haben Sie das Einhorn sehen? -->...


7

In großen Teilen des deutschen Sprachgebiets wird ein -e am Wortende regelmäßig ausgelassen (Apokope), man sagt also beispielsweise ich fahr’ statt ich fahre oder müd’ statt müde. Nur in einem relativ schmalen Streifen vom Emsland nach Brandenburg ist das -e in den Dialekten erhalten. Wo die Apokope durchgeführt ist, fällt bei schwachen Verben in der ...


7

The correct translation would be: Es wurde 1990 gebaut. or Es wurde im Jahre 1990 gebaut. War is the past tense of sein. Wurde is the past tense of werden. No, they are not interchangeable.


7

In colloquial German, there is not much of a difference. Many people confuse Präteritum and Perfekt and even use both tensen within the same sentence. In standard German, there is, basically, the principle of congruence: when events occur or states are in the same narrative time, then the tenses should conform. Let me first give a simpler example: Er sieht, ...


6

Your quote is from Karl May, Winnetou Band 1, Erstes Kapitel: Dieser Mann war ein außerordentlicher Menschenfreund, obgleich er das Gegenteil zu sein schien, da er außer der erwähnten Familie mit keinem Menschen verkehrte und selbst seine Kunden so kurz und schroff behandelte, daß sie nur der Güte seiner Ware wegen zu ihm kamen. Er hatte seine Frau und ...


6

You're thinking in English. Most languages that I have studied, other than English, don't do the whole "I am verb-ing," "You are verb-ing" thing. That is, they use a subject and a finite verb - that's all. They don't throw "to be" in there, and when you really think about it, the English way is more confusing. You have two options for expressing the ...


6

First of all, your translation is not wrong. It would be the typical answer to questions like "Wo warst du?" or "Warum bist du nicht zur Party gekommen?", emphasizing what you were doing. I think the most literal translation would be "Ich habe gearbeitet", typically if there was some context that is no longer given, e.g. "Ich habe bei Siemens gearbeitet" (...


6

First of all the first sentence is correct. But with the form "lernte" (past) it's an indicator that you stopped learning later. That's why someone told you it's not correct I guess. But it is. If you continue learning after that, I recommend you not to use this, because it can be confusing for the listener. The second sentence says that you started ...


5

People who are not well versed in grammar tend to mix up the rules. The didn't construction has a deep impression on Germans because it's needed quite often, and that rule of how to say a negation is very different from what they are used to from its own language. That should be the reason why the auxiliary verb did is also used to express anything in the ...


5

Es kommt natürlich sehr auf die Art deines Aufsatzes oder deines Briefes an. Und es hängt auch davon ab, in welchem Rahmen du ihn schreibst. Grundsätzlich gilt allerdings, dass in Aufsätzen das Präteritum bevorzugt werden sollte. Selbst Bayern wie ich, die in gesprochener Sprache nur wollt(e) und war als Präteritumsformen kennen, haben unsere Schulaufsätze ...


5

erlernen is an interesting derivation of lernen - or better a "specification". While lernen can be used to express learning pretty much anything, erlernen is almost exclusively used with regard to learning a skill or job and thus also implies a certain level of complexity of the subject that has been learned. (The term x-handwerk is also used very ...


5

In der Verwendung als reine Vergangenheitstempora (das Perfekt hat nämlich noch andere Aspekte!) sind Präteritum und Perfekt semantisch eigentlich komplett austauschbar; somit würde ich Ardoris widersprechen, und die von die vorgeschlagene Kombination als durchaus grammatisch bezeichnen. Deutsch hat hierfür auch keine Consecutio-Temporum-Regel oder ...


4

As it is written in the Comments, this is the past perfect, passive form (Plusquamperfekt, Vorgangspassiv) To dissect this: Ermordet Of course means murdered in the past participle (Partizip des Perfekts) Ermordet sein Means to be murdered in Present passive form (präsens Zustandpassiv) Ermordet werden To be murdered or become murdered ...


4

Your boyfriend is obviously not from Bavaria or Austria and very likely from the North of Germany. (To me, the North begins at the Main river.) There is nothing wrong with ‘Ich habe etwas gewollt’ or ‘Ich habe etwas tun wollen.’ In the South, especially Bavaria, there are exactly two verbs that form a preterite form at all, and those are sein and wollen. In ...


4

Generally, it is als whenever we talk in past and the action is preformed once. The duration doesn't matter. So it is: Als ich 20 Jahre alt war, hatte ich ein schnelles Auto. There is one exception to this als-always rule. Immer wenn ich Hunger hatte, habe ich gegessen. Whenever I was hungry I would eat. This action is in past but happened numerous times....


4

I believe it depends on where in the German language area you would say it. I understand that the past tense is still alive in its northern parts, though I can't say whether a speaker would use it in the example you gave. In the south it would certainly sound stilted. That said, the most natural way to talk about a film is to just say: Der Film handelt ...


4

Die folgenden Konstrukte kommen dem wohl am nächsten. Er hatte am 30.12 Geburtstag. Am folgenden Tag würde er auch noch Silvester feiern. Er hatte am 30.12 Geburtstag. Ein Woche später würde er auch noch Silvester gefeiert haben.


4

Es handelt sich um Passiv, richtig. Gabriele Münter wird am 19. Februar 1877 in Berlin geboren. Dies ist der Ausnahmefall einer Darstellung der Vergangenheit im Präsens. Man leitet so eine lebhaftere Form der Erzählung ein, die den Leser in die damalige Zeit versetzen soll. Gabriele Münter wurde am 19. Februar 1877 in Berlin geboren. Das ist hingegen ...


3

As far as I know, “I did see it” can be used in English instead of “I saw it” for emphasis. “You didn't even see me!” — “I did see you. It was just that...” Or: “I saw no signs human life. What I did see, however, were lots of small furry creatures.” I would not know that Germans were particularly prone to overuse this construction. But then that ...


3

As RayofCommand said, the sentence in question is correct, absolutely and 100 % correct. (You can also shorten it like this: »Als ich 15 war, lernte ich …« or simply »Mit 15 lernte ich …«.) However, it would likely be taken to imply that at the age of 15, like some genius or wunderkind, you managed to completely learn French in one straight effort. As we ...


3

Both version are incorrect. The correct sentence would be: Haben Sie das Müsli gemacht? "Haben Sie das Müsli zu machen?" means "Do you have to make the the granola?"


3

Dein Ansatz ist schon richtig - zu jung, um beitreten zu können und zu jung, um beizutreten ist jetzt semantisch nicht sooo weit auseinander. Was mich mehr stört, ist die Zeitenfolge in deinem Satz (und ich glaube, das macht deinen Satz so verwirrend): ... folgte ... der ... geworden ist ... Imperfekt und Perfekt - In deinem Satz tauchen aber drei ...


3

Richtig wäre "zu jung, um der Partei beitreten gekonnt zu haben" - das Partizip zu 'beitreten' ist hier fehl an Platz. Es heißt ja "beitreten können". Und dies muss nun ins Perfekt gebracht werden. Stilistisch ist deine einfachere Lösung natürlich besser; aber wenn man denn logischen Gehalt nicht verändern will (was deine Lösung ja tut), dann so.


3

The German »Perfekt« tense is built with haben/sein + Partizip II (which is the same as the past participle in English). So in your case: »Ich habe getrunken« An infinitive would be wrong. But »Ich bin trinken« is also possible in colloquial language. It’s a special grammar form called »Adsentiv« which responds to questions like »Where are you?« or »What ...


3

The infinitive verscheiden is more closely translated by "to pass away". More important is here that your translation got the eye movement wrong. A correct translation would be "On that she closed her eyes and passed away." Darauf refers to what happened immediately before this sentence, and the preposition zu in the split verb zutun means "closed".


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