In another example frisst was used when a spider ate a fly, somebody said that frisst in this case was more like "feeds on" than "eats". But I would have though that frisst would only work if what it is feeding on is mentioned (e.g. Der Hunde frisst die Katzen), can anybody help with the difference between Isst and Frisst?
Yes, much like we use "he" and "she" for humans, but "it" for other animals.
Fressen is usually used for animals (or perhaps for making a human seem animal), and essen can be used for both humans and animals. Essen is indeed more like eat, and fressen like feed.
However, a further grammatical comparison between the languages is useful:
Essen and fressen both take the food as an accusative object (ein Hund isst eine Katze / ein Hund frisst eine Katze), and both can be used intransitively, without an object (ein Hund isst / ein Hund frisst).
Eat takes the food as the direct object (a dog eats a cat) and feed takes it as indirect (a dog feeds on a cat). However, both can also be used intransitively, without an object: a dog eats / a dog feeds. In other words you don't actually have to state what's being fed on in English either.
"A dog feeds" is less common than "a dog eats", but it's acceptable. You'll see "to feed" used in this way in scientific or technical contexts, in relation to livestock farming, and in describing things that are beastly. It's also used to describe infants eating/drinking, particularly nursing.
See my other comments on this page for a further look at the English grammar. I've also posted some example translations here.
A dog feeds wasn't accepted yet the recommended answer was a dog eats despite use of the word frisst. Is that accurate in this context?
"A dog feeds" wouldn't make sense in English, it would have to be "feeds on ...", so we would always say "eats". Apparently there are two different verbs for "to eat" - the one for humans ("essen") and the one for animals ("fressen").
Actually "feed" can be used without an object in English to mean "eat" in the same way that "fressen" is used in German. It's not as common, perhaps, but "a dog feeds" is fine, and it should be accepted.
Being a native English speaker, "a cat eats a mouse" is correct, but "a cat feeds a mouse" means that the cat is giving the mouse some food. "Eats" is going in one direction and "feeds" is going in the other direction, like taking and giving. So, if you want to use "feeds", it has to be "feeds on" to mean the same as "eats".
If you have an object, yes, the object of "eat" is direct, and the object of "feed" is indirect. But both can be used without an object:
- The cows are feeding. = The cows are eating.
Intransitive; no object; the food is unknown.
- (1) The cows are feeding on grass. = (2) The cows are eating grass.
1st sentence: intransitive; grass = indirect object; the food = grass.
2nd sentence: transitive; grass = direct object; the food = grass.
You'll find the example "cows feeding in a meadow" in the dictionary. (Look at the links I provided above.) Note that the food is unspecified and unknown.
You're right about "a cat feeds a mouse", but you can say "a cat feeds":
- (1) A cat eats a mouse. = (2) A cat feeds on a mouse.
1st sentence: transitive; mouse = direct object; food = mouse.
2nd sentence: intransitive; mouse = indirect object; food = mouse.
Both sentences: mouse gets eaten.
- (1) A cat feeds a mouse.
(2) A cat feeds a mouse some cheese. = (3) A cat feeds some cheese to a mouse.
1st sentence: transitive; mouse = direct object; food is unknown.
2nd sentence: ditransitive; mouse, cheese = direct objects; food is cheese.
3rd sentence: transitive; cheese = direct object; mouse = indirect object; food is cheese.
All three sentences: food gets delivered to mouse; food gets eaten by mouse; mouse is fine.
- A cat feeds a mouse to a snake.
Transitive; mouse is food for snake; cat hopes to escape.
- (1) A cat feeds. = (2) A cat eats.
Both sentences: intransitive; no object; food is unknown.
As for "taking and giving", both "take" and "give" can take a direct object and an indirect object.
- Give me a dollar. Ditransitive; me, dollar = direct objects. = Give a dollar to me. Transitive; dollar = direct object; me = indirect object.
- Take a dollar from me Transitive; dollar = direct object; me = indirect object.
Both can also – in the right context – be used without an object:
- I'm a giver. I give and give and give and give.
- I'm a taker. I take and take and take and take.
It might be a bit ugly and not exactly common, but it is defintely okay in English to say 'a dog feeds'.
Probably it is the present simple tense that makes it sound odd to you, but think about 'a dog is feeding'. That should sound fine to you. Probably when we use it without any objects then it is an implied reflexive: A dog is feeding (itself)'.
I think that our two verbs eat and feed work in much the same way as the two german verbs esse and fresse. If we say that a person is feeding then it it is to make them sound like an animal as somebody above said you csn do with the german term fresse.
Same question. In Dutch it would be. Eten (essen) is the regular word. Vreten (fressen) means eating in a messy or fast way, or used when referring in a negetive way about the food that is being served. So cats and humans (usualy) eet, dogs usualy vreet, Isn't it the same in German?
Yes, because "fressen" is reserved only for animals. However, it is okay to use "essen" when saying that animals are eating.
Why is it ein Hund instead of einen Hund (der), is it because of a case? Thanks.
Yes, because in this sentence, the dog is in the nominative case, not in the accusative case.
"To devour" needs an object. "To feed" works here, but it's less common.
- A dog devours. (Incorrect in most contexts, because of the lack of an object.)
- A dog feeds. (Correct, but less common.)
- A dog eats. (Correct.)
correct me please
Sie / Er / Is frisst
Sie / wir frissen
I think the conjugations for "fressen" are. . .
I'm hoping that there aren't conjugations for "fressen" in "Ich" and "Wir"... ><
Is there a person who can help me to learn German. I want to learn it but i am new. Who can help me by chatting?
What would you say for "A dog eats.. (Meat)" As apposed to "A dog is eating .. (Meat)" Because this sentence means both but both different situations/sentences.. Confusing.
It's the same sentence in German, "ein Hund frisst/isst". You would be able to get the sense from the context.
True, definitely is hard getting my head around all of these new language structures. But Thanks :)
Is there any reason why Hound shouldn't be an acceptable translation of Hund?
"Hound" can be used to refer to a specific type of dog, as well as being a less common synonym of "dog" in general, whereas "Hund" is the common and general term for "dog" in German, so perhaps to prevent confusion.
Why is it "one" and not "the" dog eats? How do you tell between one and A?
It is "one" because of the article "ein". There is no difference between "one" and "a". Both are "ein" in masculine and neuter forms. Now unless you are talking about the numbet one, then that would be "eins".
I wrote "a dog eats" and it said that I'm wrong and it should be "One dog eats"... why's that?
Technically it could be "a" or "one", but it seems that Duo tries to give you an answer that matches as closely as possible the characters you typed, so, given your answer of "the dog eats", the algorithm would take into account that "one" has the same number of letters as "the" and shares the "e" at the end.
sorry, I meant to say that I wrote "a dog eats", not "the".... I'll edit it.
There shouldn't be any problem with "a dog eats". If Duo doesn't accept it, that's a reportable error.