My parents hadn't wanted my brother and me to eat it.

dundun

New Member
English - American
Hello,

I'm having difficulty translating this into German:

"My parents hadn't wanted my brother and I to eat it."

I get "Meine Eltern hatten meinen Bruder und mich gewollt" but then I don't know where to put the second direct object. Would it be "Meine Eltern hatten meinen Bruder und mich essen es gewollt"? That doesn't seem right to be, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Thank you.
 
  • Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello dundun :)

    Welcome to the German forum!

    My suggestion: "Meine Eltern hatten nicht gewollt, dass mein Bruder und ich es essen".

    The "es" in my sentence refers back to what you were talking about in the previous sentence, and has to be adapted according to the gender of that word. (In order to get good suggestions, it's always good to include some context in the first post of a thread).
     

    dmz11

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hi dundun,

    Just fyi: the English version should really be "My parents hadn't wanted my brother and me to eat it." (we would say, "hadn't wanted us ...," for instance, not "we")
     

    Katejo

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Hi dundun,

    Just fyi: the English version should really be "My parents hadn't wanted my brother and me to eat it." (we would say, "hadn't wanted us ...," for instance, not "we")
    I was very tempted to say the same but resisted it! I am fed up with hearing "I" used in English when it should be me or us.
     

    dmz11

    Senior Member
    English - US
    No problem - I know I've done similar things and been grateful for the corrections. I can see how that particular sentence might be confusing because of the position of "my brother and me" in the sentence. The issue shows up in the suggested translation, which adds "that," turning "my brother and me" into "mein Bruder und ich" so that they are acting rather than being acted upon.
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    The issue shows up in the suggested translation, which adds "that," turning "my brother and me" into "mein Bruder und ich" so that they are acting rather than being acted upon.
    So what about:

    Meine Eltern hätten meinen Bruder und mich das niemals essen lassen.
     

    dmz11

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Re: Meine Eltern hätten meinen Bruder und mich das niemals essen lassen.

    I think that would translate as "My parents would never have wanted my brother and me to eat it." But in some ways, it's closer to the original. But you may have introduced the key word in German (lassen). What about:

    Meine Eltern hatten meinen Bruder und mich das nicht essen lassen wollen.

    Or is that too convoluted? Can you say that, or do you have to use "gewollt," or leave it out altogether?
     
    Last edited:

    Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello :)

    I can see how that particular sentence might be confusing because of the position of "my brother and me" in the sentence. The issue shows up in the suggested translation, which adds "that," turning "my brother and me" into "mein Bruder und ich" so that they are acting rather than being acted upon.
    In what way are the speaker and his brother in the sentence "acted upon"? The parents don't want them to eat something - this is not an action, it's a mere mental activity. In the case of small children, this mental activity could lead to the appropriate actions of forbidding and preventing the children from grabbing the cake etc.

    But this is not necessarily the case, in particular if the children are older. In such a case, the parents might still not want them to do something - smoke, drink too much, eat space cakes in Amsterdam, for instance, but the children might do it anyway.

    That's why I would currently still favor the translation: "Meine Eltern wollten nicht, dass...". But maybe I'm missing something...
     
    Last edited:

    dmz11

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hello Sowka,

    Thanks for your reply. I only meant "acted upon" in the sense that the position in the sentence in English is that of a direct object, or so it seems to me. Your translation makes sense in terms of German sentence structure. It's certainly a viable option in terms of translating the sense. Whether there's a perfectly equivalent form in German I don't know (my last comment before this one was more of a question than a suggestion - I'm not sure I worded the German sentence correctly).

    This forum is really great, by the way. I really appreciate all the very knowledgeable help that people give. Thanks for getting back to me.
     

    Sowka

    Forera und Moderatorin
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello dmz11 :)

    I think we don't have such a sentence structure in German that would convey the same meaning. The sentences with "essen lassen" are fine, and they include the direct object -- but as explained above, they involve a greater degree of interference in the children's lives on the part of the parents than indicated in the original sentence.
     
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