It's possible I misunderstood - could you please clarify?

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by dressageangel, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. dressageangel Member

    USA; English

    I'd like to ask an Austrian friend who was giving a lecture (in English) for some clarification with RE: some notes I took during the lecture. I don't want to imply that they did not teach the topic clearly - I'm pretty sure the slight confusion over what I have written down is due to my writing fast/ a lot of subject being covered and not because they were teaching in English (i.e. I don't want them to think that their English isn't great, because it is very good).

    So to ask politely "It's possible that I misunderstood something you said; can you please clarify this for me?" - is this correct:

    Ich denke (or "es ist möglich"?), daß ich etwas missverstanden haben könnte, dass Du sagtest (was Du hast gesagt?). Könntest Du klären Sie bitte das für mich?

    If there's a better way to say this, please feel free to modify! (I'm not very good at past tenses yet.. what I wrote is probably all kinds of wrong!)

    Vielen Dank! :)
  2. Kuestenwache Senior Member

    There are a few mistakes in the first sentence: the conjunction "dass" is written with two "s" the relative pronoun as well as the definite article "das" with just one "daß" with "ß" does not exist anymore. Second mistake is that you mixed up the position of auxiliary and verb in the perfect tense it has to be "gesagt hast" not "hast gesagt". In the second sentence you used two personal pronouns "du" and "sie", and the word order is wrong too "könntest du das bitte für mich klären" it's a question so the verb has to stand at the end. My suggestion:
    "Es ist möglich, dass ich etwas missverstanden habe, was du gesagt hast. Könntest du das bitte für mich klären/verdeutlichen."
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Another possibility for the start is "Es kann sein,..."

    I'd also like to point out that "daß" is not incorrect; it's another correct possibility - the only one, in fact, according to the old spelling rules. The new spelling rules require that the word be spelled "dass." (I do not wish to get into a discussion about this here; there are various previous threads that cover the topic.)
  4. dressageangel Member

    USA; English
    Thank you for the help! When I see this written correctly, it makes so much sense. When I try to do it myself, I make rather a mess of it. :eek: This helps a lot - thank you again, very much!

    (PS - "verdeutlichen" - that's a great word to add to my vocabulary list!)
  5. dressageangel Member

    USA; English
    Thank you for the reply! I do get confused about "dass" and "daß" - I need to read those old threads. :)

    "Es kann sein" - another phrase I will add to my study list. :) Thanks!
  6. chlapec aMODiño...

    Galicia, Spain
    Galician & Spanish-Spain
    This one is a simple way to ask for it. Though I'm spanish and my knowledge of german is limited, I think the sentence sounds good and is grammatically correct.
    (On the other hand, while waiting for other proposals from native speakers, I send you mine just in case you are in a hurry:)):

    "Es ist ziemlich möglich, dass ich etwas, was du gesagt hast, falsch verstanden habe. Könntest du es bitte mir erklären?"

    PS: I'm late! Anyway, I leave my proposal, just in case it can be checked
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  7. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    "Ziemlich" is used in colloquial language. I would prefer "gut" or "ziemlich gut" at this place.

    You could add "noch einmal": "Könntest du es bitte mir noch einmal erklären?"
    This says that you are aware that the other person already told it.

    Please be aware: In all examples the "Du"-form is used. This is standard with good friends or relatives.

    In many cases, for example, if a teacher speaks to older pupils or if a pupil speaks to a teacher, the "Sie"-form is required, and it is the only polite form in such cases:

    "Ich glaube, ich habe etwas nicht richtig verstanden, könnten Sie es bitte wiederholen?"

    @dressageangel - Du and Sie

    Ich denke, ich habe die Fragestellung noch nicht ganz verstanden. Haben Sie/hast Du den Unterschied zwischen "Du" und "Sie" berücksichtigt?

    Did you consider the difference between "Du" and "Sie" in your question?
  8. chlapec aMODiño...

    Galicia, Spain
    Galician & Spanish-Spain
    Vielen Dank für Ihre hilfreiche Erklärungen, Hutschi. In meinem Fall, als ich meine Übersetzung versuchte, habe ich angenommen, dass dressageangel den Unterschied zwischen Du und Sie kennt.
  9. dressageangel Member

    USA; English
    chlapec - Thank you for your help! The "was du hast gesagt" I wrote initially instead of "was du gesagt hast" is typical at my stage of learning... I realize afterwards (when I see it written correctly) that I've mixed the order up.

    Same with "Könntest du klären Sie bitte das für mich?" (ack! So bad!) - when Kuestenwache wrote the correct order, it was so immediately obvious, and what I'd written sounded so bad to me!

    I'm getting it, and understand it, but still forget sometimes when I'm constructing sentences on my own. So thanks... seeing it written correctly again helps!

    Hutschi - Thank you for your insight! Yes, in this case "du" is appropriate, as the person giving the lecture is a good friend. He would think it strange if I used "Sie" with him. I had the "Sie" in my attempt because after I first tried to write the sentence on my own, I ran it through a translator, which put a "Sie" in. Despite the capitalization, I thought maybe it was a pronoun for "it" - 'could you clarify it (what I'd written) for me' - that the translator had stuck in, so I left it in.

    This has all been really helpful! Thank you again. :)

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