Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne ihn zu vestehen.

marcogaiotto

Senior Member
Italian
Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne ihn zu vestehen.

Here I am again askingfor your help!
I have to combine these two sentences with "ohne...zu".

Wir haben den Artikel gelesen.
Wir haben nichts verstanden.

1) Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne ihn zu verstehen.
2) Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne etwas zu verstehen.
3) Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne nichts zu verstehen.

I think 1 and 2 are correct, while 3 is totally wrong. Do you agree? Thank you so much!
 
  • Hutschi

    Senior Member
    3) Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne nichts zu verstehen.

    This construction is called "double negation". It is omitted from modern German language.
    In some dialects such constructions exist. But: You should not use them in standard German.
    Basically it emphasizes the negation where it is used. But in Standard language it negates the negation, so the sentence means:
    Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne nichts zu verstehen.= Wir haben den Artikel gelesen und verstanden etwas. This is just the contrary - and so it is wrong also semantically in standard German as connection between such sentences.



    In English standard language it is dated, too, as far as I know.
    Does it exist in Italian language?

    I can give you a source so you will understand why it is wrong:

    DeWiki > Doppelte Verneinung
    Eine doppelte Verneinung kann grundsätzlich zwei verschiedene Bedeutungen haben. Als rhetorische Figur (siehe auch: Litotes) ist es effektiv eine Bejahung, wie auch in der Logik.

    ... In der deutschen Sprache (auch in der Umgangssprache) ist sie als Bekräftigung der Verneinung (außer in Dialekten und wenigen festen Redewendungen) praktisch verschwunden und wird als komisch verstanden oder kann den Redner auch als ungebildet erscheinen lassen. ...

    The article tells also about other languages, but I shortened it according to the word reference rules to the essential part.
     
    Last edited:

    marcogaiotto

    Senior Member
    Italian
    3) Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne nichts zu verstehen.

    This construction is called "double negation". It is omitted from modern German language.
    In some dialects such constructions exist. But: You should not use them in standard German.
    Basically it emphasizes the negation where it is used. But in Standard language it negates the negation, so the sentence means:
    Wir haben den Artikel gelesen, ohne nichts zu verstehen.= Wir haben den Artikel gelesen und verstanden etwas. This is just the contrary - and so it is wrong also semantically in standard German as connection between such sentences.



    In English standard language it is dated, too, as far as I know.
    Does it exist in Italian language?

    I can give you a source so you will understand why it is wrong:

    DeWiki > Doppelte Verneinung


    The article tells also about other languages, but I shortened it according to the word reference rules to the essential part.
    That's very kind of you!
    In Italian this construction (double negation) is admitted:
    Abbiamo letto l'articolo senza capire niente.

    Thanks a lot for your help!
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think 1 and 2 are correct, while 3 is totally wrong. Do you agree? Thank you so much!
    Supporting @Hutschi's explanation, in standard German, 3) is grammatically correct but means the opposite of 1+2: It means you have understood at least some part of it.

    Having said this, it is completely and utterly unidiomatic to express it this way. So, while 3) is formally correct and semantically meaningful, it is still a big no-no.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    in standard German, 3) is grammatically correct but means the opposite of 1+2: It means you have understood at least some part of it.

    Having said this, it is completely and utterly unidiomatic to express it this way. So, while 3) is formally correct and semantically meaningful, it is still a big no-no.
    Same exact thing in English. You can replace “German” with “English” in your post and it would remain just as correct.
     
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