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  5. "Sie sind gegenüber."

"Sie sind gegenüber."

Translation:They are opposite.

November 5, 2013



I think in English you would have to say something like, "They are opposite each other."


Yes, one simply cannot say 'they are opposite' in English. This is not correct


What? This sounds like a normal description in most cases: black vs white, up vs down, positive vs negative.


I think gegenüber is referring specifically to location. I think Gegenteil is the word to describe your examples.


'They are opposite' is perfectly correct in English. 'Where is the bakery?' - 'It's opposite the library.' If someone asks you 'where are the taxis?' then answering 'they are opposite' if they're across the road from you is a correct way of phrasing it (or 'they are opposite us', but the 'us' is implied anyway).


it is correct, but unfamiliar. In the USA I think this would sound very weird. If you are talking about two people being completely different, one would say they are opposites or they are completely opposite.

I have never heard someone say "they are siting opposite from us" It is valid english, but "they are sitting across from us" is much more common. The same with any location. "The bank is across the street" never "The bank is opposite"


Well, what you do out in the colonies is your business, but around here "they are siting opposite from us" would be the more usual phrasing.


out in the colonies made me laugh :-)

I thought about it more this morning. I think that saying simply "they are opposite" is really the trip up here for me (and probably most Americans). If someone said "opposite from us" or "opposite from here" etc. I think it would be totally fine. As I said "across from" is more common in my experience, but "opposite" would not be completely out of place.

As they say, England and the USA - two countries separated by a common language.


That works in Texas, too.


I'm not sure what it is. If it is indeed, "They are opposite each other," then gegenüber is a dative preposition. This means that it requires an indirect object.

If it is "They are opposites," then it would be an adjective and not a preposition. But this is a good point Zoe.


In "They are opposites," opposites is a noun. This sentence can't translate to that because gegenuber is not capitalized.


That's what I put down, but I guess it does assume the spatial sense of "opposite". But yeah, "You are opposite" and "They are opposite" both sound a little funny in English without context...


For the other sense of "opposite," you could also say "They are opposites."


The meaning of the sentence changes is is incorrect when adding the -s.

"They are opposites." isn't equivalent to "They are opposite."


Yes, but Duo does not accept it. It thinks it's a typo.


Then it would have to be "Sie sind gegenüber voneinander"


'They are opposite us' means just that...imagine a seating plan, for example? Two groups sitting opposite each other. 'Where are they? 'Dude, you blind? They're opposite us!'


If the preposition "uns" were present, then that would be correct and it cannot be assumed. therefore "Opposite 'us'" is incorrect.


This sentence is actually 100% correct.

Opposite, by definition is "on the other side". Why would "They are on the other side." be correct English, while "They are opposite." isn't? It's simple substitution.

In addition, putting each other at the end could change the meaning of this sentence.

Opposite is a word that shows 2 parties in opposition, hence the name. When you say "They are opposite.", they is ONE party. There still has to be another. The only option left is the speaker.

If you were to change the sentence to "They are opposite each other.", you've now introduced a 3rd party. The person making that statement is referencing two OTHER parties. They no longer becomes one party, but represents two opposing parties.

The same thing is true for "They are opposites." Once again, they is no longer referring to one party, but two.

What if the sentence had said "I am opposite."? You can't just make it "I am opposites." and still have it be correct.

Edit: If you're going to down-vote, do it because you have a counter argument you can use and not because you're feeling hurt that you might be incorrect. It does nobody any good when you're not willing to engage in intellectual discourse.


I would like to know in which context you would use this sentence in Deutsch?

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@mathieuvallee27 : When someone's across the table.


If that's the case, then my answer ("They are opposites") is a mistake, even though it was accepted.


Two people have downvoted this comment without saying why. "They are opposites" has a totally different meaning from "they are opposite from each other". This is a very important difference, and my answer should not have been accepted.


Hi, Levi, could you please tell me, why gegenüber can be used like this without anything following, since it is a preposition, not a adjective? Why isn't it 'Sie sind gegenüber mir'?

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@Mark.Z : I'd say that the part left out (the 'mir' in your example) is implicit / implied.

Another example: "Ich musste zur Toilette. = I had to go to the bathroom." Here the 'gehen' is left out at the end.


I see , but is there a rule about this in German? Cuz I've never seen this kind of situation in English.


You can omit things in English too. Like in "I have to go to to the store", one could just say "Have to go to the store". The things that can get left out vary from language to language. You can't leave out "the street" or "the table" or whatever in "they are across the street/table/whatever" in English, but that doesn't mean that you also can't in German.

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@Mark.Z : Currently I have no knowledge of a concrete rule regarding this. (Febr 18, 2014)


@Levi Regarding your example and Mark's question, there is a rule about this, you have to use the aquisative form of the preposition, so Levi's example should become: "Ich Muss in/zu die toilette" (@Levi: not too sure if zu can also be used but if it can then you shouldnt use "zur" as it means zu der ehich is the dative form for "die toilette" ) , other examples would be: wir mussen ins bad , ich mochte ins kino....etc. (Das bad, das kino ...respectively) . the verb gehen should be at the end "wir mussen ins bad gehen" but when you use an aquisitive preposition then it is implied . hope this helps.

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zu is a dative preposition ( http://german.about.com/library/blcase_dat2.htm ) so it's definitely "Ich musste zur Toilette."


hmmm! I still have troubles remembering which ones are the double case prepositions, but now I'm curious, I've never heard Zur being used like that before, usually it's either "Ins" or "in die", since the accusative case usually implies movement.

EDIT: Actually I do apologies,as I have now heard the Zur, Zum pattern being used just like ins: Wir mussen zum Markt, ich wolle zum zeitunghandlung....etc.


What about across the street? (neighbors living/standing across the street)
-Where are the neighbors?
-Sie sind gegenüber. Why not?

  • 2265

"Sie sind gegenüber" = They are opposite (one another).

You might use this sentence to describe a Mutt Jeff sort of couple. ;)

And Mutt might use, "Sie sind gegenüber," (You are opposite) to describe Jeff... although Jeff might not like it.

A good reference for this type of usage can be found at http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/opposite (The example provided is: You'd never know they're sisters - they're completely opposite ...)

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Opposite (preposition) - From Merriam Webster

: on the other side of (something or someone)

: across from (something or someone) of an actor : in a play, movie, etc., with (another actor)

1: across from and usually facing or on the same level with (sat opposite each other)

2: in a role complementary to (played opposite the leading man in the comedy)


  1. She lives in the house opposite ours.

  2. The school is opposite a park.

  3. I played opposite the best player in the league.

  4. She stars opposite Clint Eastwood in her latest movie.


I don't think "gegenüber" works in the way of definition 2 in german


Did some fishing around on Wikitionary. Apparently Gegenüber works like definition 2 as a noun, but it would have to be capitalized.


Bingo. Adjective. You wouldn't ever say, "They are completely opposites." ;) Ingot for you. And a raspberry to whoever down-voted your comment.


Of course not, because "completely" is an adverb, whereas "opposites" is a noun. Adverbs don't modify nouns.

But you can say "They are complete opposites" because "complete" is an adjective which modifies the noun "opposites".


The meaning of gegenüber as you explain it requires the plural of opposite to be used-- Mutt and Jeff are opposites-- two people, with "opposites" being a noun. And Mutt would not simply say to Jeff "You are opposite" without including some other word(s) for clarification-- for example, "You are my opposite*.


I don't agree. They are opposite in word and deed. They are opposite. Safe dif.

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Good example--and yes, opposite is an adjective in your usage (as it is in my example above regarding Mutt & Jeff). Similarly, one could say, "They are green in their environmental practices," or simply, "They are green." One wouldn't say, "They are greens in their environmental practices." To use green as a noun (Greens - capitalized), one would probably be trying to convey that the people in question belong to the Green Party or something similar.


Here's another one.

"Their political views are opposite," or "They (the political views) are opposite." You wouldn't say, Their political views are opposites. So no problem with "opposite" being confused with being a noun. lol. Just thought of an additional example. "Red and green are opposite." They are opposite colours... They are opposite.


The problem is, you are using "opposite" as a noun, which according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as "someone or something that is completely different from someone or something else". Since "we" is a plural subject, it follows that "opposite" should also be plural, thus "We are opposites". Merely saying "we are opposite" is confusing, since the meaning is not clear-- you could be referring to your location, such as "We are opposite... the post office". Saying "We are opposites" makes it crystal clear that you and the other person are "completely different from one another".


If Mutt and Jeff were sitting at each end of a long table and one said to the other "You are opposite.", one would assume he means at the opposite end of the table based on their surroundings. If one of them were instead to say "You are my opposite.", it would take on a different meaning and no longer be referring to their locations relative to each other.

As pointed out above, the clarification is implied if not specified.

"Sie sind gegenüber" = They are opposite (one another).

"Sie sind gegenüber" = You are opposite (of me).

Clarification here is kinda irrelevant without context. We just have to assume the speakers know the context and worry about translating. Maybe the preceding sentence was "Where am I sitting relative to you?"


throughout this discussion - the me, in English it sounds MUCH better to say: You are opposites


I completely agree! I was wondering why this wasn't coming up. I thought that "They are opposite" sounds incomplete, so I decided to add the "s," because I was thinking of it in the "they have entirely different personalities/hobbies/etc." kind of thing. Only upon checking the discussion did I even think of it in the spatial sense. @-)

Would being opposites in terms of personality, as I thought it meant, also use this syntax, or would it use different words?


"Gegenüber" only refers to opposites in the sense of one thing being on the opposite side of the room/street as something else.


If this were so, then why does it not translate as "They are across 'the street from each/one another."? Das ist leider falsch.


The English sentence is a poor translation, and should be reported.


They are across the street maybe? sounds good to me, I'm not a native speaker though


I would translate it as "they are opposite from each other", but I'm not a native speaker either.


This is a valid translation and should remain. See my comment above as to why some of these other suggestions are false.


I have to agree, i expected something like "das Haus liegt gegenüber dem Markt"


You here would be a single person, no? Who is the second party? It can't be the speaker if you say opposites because he excludes himself when using the plural.


Does this only refer to position, or can it also be about sides, factions, etc?


the german word refers to position only. it means someone/something is on the other side (of the street, table etc.) facing you.


Looking over this discussion, it sounds like this translates as “You are opposite (me)” or “They are opposite (each other)”. Is this correct?


I think it can only mean "they are on the opposite side of something." Like most German adjectives, it can be used as an adverb, and that's the case here.


"Opposite one another" seems to be sich gegenüber.



That is what I am wondering as well - the context is missing as someone noted earlier which apparently seems to be more important in English than in German or implied in the meaning itself of "gegenueber."


So you (or they) are opposed is not right?


No. "be opposed" means being against something, to disagree with something. "They are opposed." ="Sie sind dagegen."


"They are the opposite" Wrong.. "They are opposite" Correct? Why not just add the? Eh.


With "the" opposite is just as a noun and refers for example to character traits. In German "das Gegenteil (voneinander)". Without "the" opposite is used as a description of a place. In German: "gegenüber"


I wrote "They are opponents." Can someone explain??


Opponents = Gegner


"They are over there" is a correct translation of this phrase though it was marked wrong. This continues to be a pattern and a real shortcoming with this course, namely that it appears that the authors are not fluent in English as they are in German. The phrase "They are opposite" is very ambiguous in English and would never be used alone without some additional words or context clues like a gesture with the eyes.


I put "they are across the way" is that wrong/ to say they're over there? It's pretty common here in the US


It's not a bad sentence in and of itself, it's just not a translation for this sentence. "The way" implies some context which you have no clue to here.

Seems like most people here are only thinking of this sentence in spatial terms with some sort of street. In reality though, this sentence should be a valid construction for anything with two diametrically opposed parties. If I'm liberal and they are conservative, I could say "They are opposite." If I'm white and they are black, I could say "They are opposite." If I'm Yin and they are Yang, I could say "They are opposite." If I'm on one side of the street and they are on the other, I could say "They are opposite."

Some of these examples do sound a lot better with extra words to breath a little life into them, but at the same time you have to remember these exercises are more about direct translations than colloquial translations.


Why is "They are against each other" incorect ?


Because gegenüber was used, and that means across from or opposite. If gegen einander had been used, that would mean against each other or, more specifically, against one another.


It depends on context. If they live in a house across the street I would usually say "They live on the other side of the road" or "They live across the road". If they are standing on the footpath (is that called the sidewalk in the U.S.?) I would just say "They are across the street" or "They are on the other side of the road". If they live in a house directly across from me then I would say "They live opposite us" or "They are opposite us".

And if they are sitting at the same table how I expressed it would also depend on whether they were directly opposite or just somewhere on the other side of the table.


I put: "They are the opposite". I can foresee others having an issue with this as a complete sentence, as opposed to a clause. "They're the opposite." Can be sometimes said in reply to something but does not stand on its own. Funny how many mistakes I make due to be a native English speaker familiar enough to bend rules and accustomed to doing so.


I found this from a previous lesson; there are three words which means "opposite". 1. gegenüber: opposite in position. wir sind gegenüber. We are opposite of each other. 2. gegensätzlich: opposite or contrasting personality. Wir sind gegensätzlich. we are opposite in personality. 3. entgegengesetz; opposite or opposing, as in answers. Was ist die entgegengesetzte Antwort. I hope this is correct and if there is an error, I apologize in advance.


It seems like gegenüber means more than a single word in English could express. I interpreted it like "they are facing each other", and one single word could mean that in German. Am I right?

Edit 03/14/2017: I wrote "thay" instead of "they", and now I corrected it.


Opposite is the closest you're probably going to get to a single word, but, in my opinion, that doesn't capture the flavor of the word. Across from captures the meaning as it was taught to me as a child.


I put "they are over there"; that should be right, right?


That would be "Sie sind darüber"


I think what you mean is "Sie sind da drüben" That's good as well.

The German "gegenüber" does not need a reference point as much as the English "opposite" which is more equivalent to "genau gegenüber".

So "da gegenüber" and "da drüben" are pretty much interchangeable.


Can't it be "they are the opposite"?


So why not adjacent?


"Adjacent" means "beside".


Can "Sie sind gegenuber" mean "They are counterparts"?


is it write to say "You are opponent."


"You are opponent" would be awkward English. It would need an article or some other modifier, "You are the opponent", "You are my opponent", etc.


Does that mean you/they are opposite each other, or both opposite some other person/thing?


If they would be opposite each other the sentdnce would be: "Sie sind sich gegenüber." So "Sie sind gegenüber" means they are both on the other side of another person/thing.



"Against over"?


"They are opposite" is correct English. It just isn't English as spoken commonly in the US.


I answered "You are opposite" and it was right. Would "They are opposite" also be correct?


I put: "you are opposite" which was marked correct. That's fine, but I am confused as to how I should know why "Sie Sind" is "you are", as opposed to "they are" or "she is" in this context. Please help! Thanks.

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@Cragglerock : It's just how it is - I can't explain it any better. Sie sind is used for formal, singular second person (you are) and for informal, plural second person (they are). It does not mean "she is", however. That would be Sie ist.


Duo will usually mark both "you" and "they" correct if "Sie" is capitalized because it is the first word of the sentence

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