Little wonder how a bit complicated a conjunction can be? This is the case of the German dass. This is because it has the potency to perform several roles in various sentences which leads to one having to pay attention to context. Find out more on how to make five different expressions with dass.
|Content in this post|
|1. Meaning of dass|
2. Dass in indirect/reported speech
3. Dass in expressing perception/thoughts/feelings
4. Dass in expressing compliments and knowledge
5. Dass in expressing desire and will
6. Dass in non-personal expressions
Dass is a type of sub-ordinate conjunction that literally means “that” in English even though it can sometimes be translated as “for”. It’s primary role in a sentence is to link two or more unrelated clauses together. That is to say that the information in the clause with dass does not have any connection with the information passed in the main clause.
Sometimes, german sentences with dass are translated in English without the literal meaning of that while some other times they are and can even take on the translation “for”. These different usage of dass can be explained in five scenarios below.
- In indirect/ reported speech (Konjunktiv I)
- In expressing perception, thoughts or feelings
- In expressing compliments and knowledge
- In expressing desire and will
- In making non-personal expressions
“Dass” in indirect/reported speech
In reported speeches, dass is used to avoid the unpleasant break or pause in a sentence that could possibly occur when a sentence contains two or more conjugated verbs. In other words, it helps to keep the conversation fluent. In writing, a comma must be placed before dass as a separator between clause 1 and clause 2. For example;
|Mia sagt, dass sie morgen nicht zur Schule kommt.|
(Mia says that she is not coming to school tomorrow)
|Mia sagt, sie morgen nicht zur Schule kommt.|
(Mia says she is not coming to school tomorrow)
Dass in expressing perception, thoughts and feelings
In this scenario, dass is used with selective verbs that express uncertainty e.g glauben, denken, vermuten etc.
|1. Mia glaubt, dass ihr Freund ihr nicht vertrauet.|
2. Mia dachte, dass ich heute nicht mehr kommen konnte.
|Mia believes that her boyfriend does not trust her.|
Mia thought that I could not come anymore today.
Dass in expressing compliments and knowledge
To express compliments, the verbs finden and sein are used win a sentence that contains an adjective. For example;
|1. Mia findet es schön, dass du da bist.|
2. Mia ist sicher, dass du gestern da war.
|Mia finds it nice, that you are there.|
Mia is sure that you were there yesterday.
Dass in expressing desire and will
Desires and will can be expressed with dass in connection with the modal verbs wollen and the subjunctive II form of mögen. In English, such sentences with dass are translated as “to” rather than as “that”. This can be seen in the illustrations below.
|1. Mia will, dass ihre Tochter Spanisch lernt.|
2. Mia möchte, dass ihre Tochter Spanisch lernt.
3. Ich möchte, dass Henry früh ins Bett geht.
|Mia wants her daughter to learn Spanish.|
Mia would like her daughter to learn Spanish.
I would like Henry to go to bed early.
Dass in non-personal expressions
Non-personal expressions are usually considered as honest advice given to someone else. These expressions in German made with dass can be translated in two ways. Here dass can either be translated as “that” or “for… to + infinitive”. For example, see the illustrations below.
|1. Es ist sehr notwendig, dass Kinder mindestens 8 Stunden schlafen.|
2. Es ist wichtig, dass Mia einen Job sucht.
|a) It is very necessary, for children to sleep for at least 8 hours./|
b) It is very necessary that children sleep for at least 8 hours.
a) It is important, for Mia to search for a job.
b) It is important that Mia searches for a job.