Вопросы по грамматике немецкого языка
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29.04.2012 18:45:30

too many verbs!

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Зарегистрирован: 14.10.2011 13:20:07

Can anyone explain what’s happening in this sentence? – there are just too many verbs! :?

"Es mußte Hans durchaus bewußt gewesen sein."

Thanks in advance.

30.04.2012 11:02:56

Re: too many verbs!

[PONS] Linguistin
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Зарегистрирован: 09.03.2010 21:59:03
Hi adman,

In English the senctence is:
Hans must absolutely have been aware of it.

must have been aware :arrow: mußte bewusst gewesen sein

As many verbs as in English :lol:
03.05.2012 16:05:30

Re: too many verbs!

Сообщения: 361
Зарегистрирован: 02.10.2011 09:59:52
Hi adman,

That’s quite a difficult sentence! Here's my attempt;

The first difficulty is that the subject is the thing the person is aware of, rather than the person (as it is in English), i.e. “Es ist ihm bewusst” literally means “It is aware to him” (but is the equivalent of “He is aware of it” )

The second difficulty is the use of the modal verb, müssen. I think it might be a bit clearer to translate it as 'had to‘ rather than ‘must‘,

Es muss ihm bewusst sein = It has to be aware to him (he has to be aware of it)

Then comes the tense;

Es muss ihm bewusst sein = he has to be aware of it
(i.e. he must be aware of it at this point in time)

Es musste ihm bewusst sein = He had to be aware of it.
(i.e. he must have been aware of it at some time in the past)

Es musste ihm bewusst gewesen sein. = He had to have been aware of it.
(i.e. he must have been aware of it at some point further in the past)

I think, though as Linguistine pointed out – there are too many verbs in both languages :)

Hope that helps.



ps I’ve used the ‘ihm’ rather than ‘Hans’ to make it clear that bewusst sein takes a Dative object.

How charmed I am when I overhear a German word which I understand! - Mark Twain
05.05.2012 02:35:45

mußte gewesen sein

[PONS] yakyuyama
Сообщения: 306
Зарегистрирован: 16.12.2011 12:45:19
Hey all,

Just to add to the discussion, here are a couple of slightly looser translations:

"He/Hans had to have known about it."

or even:

"There's no way he/Hans didn't know about that."


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