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"Das Mädchen isst eine Banane."

Translation:The girl eats a banana.

October 9, 2015



I thought it said the girl is a banana at first....


honestly who didn't


Seriously though, is there any grammatical way I could tell that that's not what they're saying?


Im not entirely sure what you mean, but if you want to say "The girl is a banana". I think that's "Das mädchen ist eine banane" with only one S.


It's all about context. If I said "I need a break" or "I applied the brake," they're the same word but you just have to infer based on the situation what the meaning is since the words sound the same.


How can I tell between a singular girl and many girls with "Mädchen"?


In this sentence, there are two clues: the article and the verb.

  • Das Mädchen isst - one girl
  • Die Mädchen essen - several girls

Usually, at least one of those clues (verb or article) will be present.

If not, both translations should be accepted as you can't tell.


Are they also pronounced the same?


The singular and plural of the word "Mädchen" are pronounced completely identically.


"Die" indicate plural - usually.


How can you tell by listening the difference between ist and isst ???? Help me please


The same way you tell the difference in English between "too" and "two": you cannot. The words are pronounced completely identically.


I have found that context happens a lot, in any language. For example, "the girl is a banana" makes less sense (although admittedly Duo sometimes gives us nonsense sentences).


Two sentences ago Duolingo let me translate "ich bin eine Banane"


Well this is only an issue for "ist" vs "isst". "Bin" sounds very different from "esse".


Is there any way to distinguish this from "Das Maedchen ist eine Banane" in speech, other than context?


Why isn't "that girl" correct? How should you say "that girl" in this context?


"That girl" is also a possible translation of "das Mädchen".

Report it so that the alternative translation can be added.


Oh my... I thought "das" only meant "that" in the nominative, and adjectival "that" was "dieses/dieser/diese". How do we know when to use "das Mädchen" vs "dieses Mädchen" for "that girl"?


adjectival "that" was "dieses/dieser/diese".

No -- dieser / diese / dieses is "this X" or "these Xs", not "that X, those Xs".

"that X, those Xs" is der / die / das.

How do we know when to use "das Mädchen" vs "dieses Mädchen" for "that girl"?

"that girl" is always das Mädchen

"this girl" can be dieses Mädchen or das Mädchen

(der / die / das are mostly "that" but can sometimes mean "this" as well -- German doesn't maintain that distinction as strictly as English does. But dieser / diese / dieses are pretty much only "this".)


"German doesn't maintain that distinction as strictly as English does."

Yes, that's why I thought diese(s/r) could mean either "this" or "that", like "das" can. So the "diese(s/r)" can ONLY mean "this", but the articles der/das/die can mean "the" OR "this" OR "that", if I understand correctly now. So then, can "dieses Mädchen" and "das Mädchen" be used interchangeably for "this girl"? Is there a nuance difference that dictates one over the other in certain situations?

Thank you for the quick reply and explanations.


So the "diese(s/r)" can ONLY mean "this", but the articles der/das/die can mean "the" OR "this" OR "that", if I understand correctly now.


So then, can "dieses Mädchen" and "das Mädchen" be used interchangeably for "this girl"?

Pretty much, yes.

Is there a nuance difference that dictates one over the other in certain situations?

If you're contrasting "this" and "that", it can be dieses - das.

In the colloquial spoken language, "this X" is often das X hier and "that" can be das X da. (And "this" and "that" are then das hier and das da.) So, one might say das Mädchen hier (literally, "that girl here") for "this girl".

But this usage is not accepted on this course.

So… long story short: I’m not sure whether one can really formulate rules as to when a German would use this or that.


Hallo! As far as I know, dieses Mädchen would translate more literally to "this girl" and das Mädchen would translate to "that girl."


Does the word "banane" have a gender? I want to be able to use it correctly.


Yes, all nouns have a gender in German.

"Banane" (note capital B, like with all nouns!) is feminine: die Banane.


"Das Mädchen isst eine Banane" What's the best translation to this? Is it - The girl is eating a Banana Or - The girl eats a Banana Thank you


Both are good translations of the German sentence.

Depending on the context, one may be better than the other, but without context, both are equally acceptable.


Why is this translated as "the girl is having a banana" when Duolingo Tips Section it states this type of translation is not correct in German? Source:

"In English, you can say "I'm having bread" when you really mean that you're eating or about to eat bread. This does not work in German."

Should this not be translated correctly as "the girl is eating a banana"?


I wrote "The girl eats the banana" but it corrected me to "The girl eats ONE banana." Here it seems it's supposed to be "the girl eats A banana." Are they both right? If so, how do I know when it's supposed to be 'one'?


Yes, ein in all its forms can mean either "a" or "one" (the two used to be the same word in English as well, but German didn't do the same split that English did; similarly with "the" versus "that" which are still the same word in German).

In writing, you can't tell the difference except for context.

In speech, ein is usually accented when it means "one" and usually unaccented when it means "a".

  • 1546

Hm, interesting. Accented how?


Pronounced more loudly.

Like how you would distinguish "THAT's my book" from "That's MY book" from "That's my BOOK" in English.

So you would have, for example, das MÄDchen isst eine baNAne (neutral sentence emphasis) "The girl is eating a banana" versus das MÄDchen isst EIne baNAne (additional word emphasis on eine) "The girl is eating one banana".


When is isst mean "eats" and when does it mean "is eating" like the previous question?


It can mean either - standard German does not make a distinction between "eats" (e.g. regularly) and "is eating" (e.g. right now): both are isst.

So if you're translating from German, then usually both translations will be accepted.


except the app is picky on that. Sometimes it accepts either of those, other times it say no you're wrong :(


isn't "the girls are eating" correct?


No, it isn't.

das is the article for neuter singular, so it isn't appropriate for plural "girls" -- that would be die Mädchen essen eine Banane.


So Girl is neuter in German? I mean her actual gender doesn't necessarily mean that the word could be feminine? Interesting...


The word Mädchen, like all diminutives in -chen, is neuter gender in German, yes, regardless of the natural gender of a girl.

Similarly, Person is feminine, even though not all persons are feminine. And Opfer is neuter, even for victims who are male or female. And so on.

Nouns referring to people often have the same grammatical gender as the natural gender of that person, but not always.


Danke! Makes much more sense now)


Why is it "Das"? I thought that was for neutral words.


That's right, it is.

And Mädchen is a neuter word, grammatically speaking.

The grammatical gender of a word doesn't always agree with the gender or sex of the person/object/idea that the word stands for.

For example, die Person is grammatically always feminine, even for a male person. das Mädchen is grammatically neuter even though girls are female. der Apfel is masculine even though fruit are the ovaries of plants, so "should" be either neuter (inanimate "objects") or feminine.

Grammatical gender is mostly arbitrary.

  • 1546

Mizinamo, you are a really patient mentor. I applaud your dedication to answering the same question over and over again, haha.


Thank you!

It does get tedious at times -- so many learners all coming across the same point of grammar at different times.

What's worse, I'm sure that lots of them are use the Android app which has the ability to post to sentence discussions but not to read the tips and notes where much of this is explained already.

So they never read the explanations -- indeed, they don't even know that they exist! -- and then they come here and post, on dozens of sentences depending on where they first encounter something, something that has been answered hundreds of times before.....

  • 1546

I started with the mobile app so I remember not having access to the tips section. I think you could still read the comment section though and find the answers you're looking for, no?


Often, yes.

But the information is not gathered in one place; you might have to go through several sentences with a given word or construction before you find one with an answer. Or conversely, the same answer might be on dozens of different sentences -- what a duplication of effort!

And you might not know whom to trust unless you've been in the course for a while; is the answer from a native speaker or just a guess from another learner?

It's possible to learn from the sentence discussions alone, but it's not as reliable, I think.

Plus you're asking favours of fellow learners -- or of the course maintainers, the same people who HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN ALL THAT STUFF DOWN FOR YOU TO LEARN -- to spend time for you.

  • 1546

Well, that's what I mean. You're not asking anything of anyone if the question has already been answered. It just requires some effort on the learner's part to search through the mess of posts in the comments section that contains their answer.

Not very efficient, but still effective. The problem is there is too much fluff/junk in the comments section and there should be some kind of designation/distinction for natives and high level learners and mods.

DL also sorely needs a "sticky" feature so mods can highlight and place answers to common/repeated questions at the top so they are easy to find.


So what determines if a word is masculine or feminine if what it refers to doesn't matter? Like how do you know what to say for "the"?


Children learn it by hearing the word with the right gender over and over and over.

Sometimes they make mistakes at first, and words that we don't often hear with an article even native speakers are occasionally unsure about -- especially newly-borrowed words such as Blog or brand names such as Nutella.

If we're unsure, we do what learners do: look it up in the dictionary.

For native words, it basically boils down to "that word is feminine because our ancestors have always treated it as feminine".

In some cases, the shape of the word determines its gender, e.g. words formed with the suffix -chen will be neuter, those with the suffix -heit will be feminine.

But often, the reason (if any) is simply lost in the mists of time.

Some words even have more than one gender! Either with different meanings (der Leiter = the leader, die Leiter = the ladder), sometimes not (der Dschungel = das Dschungel = the jungle -- and I read a Kipling translation of the Jungle Book where the translator used die Dschungel!).


i cant find the difference between "is eating","eats" and "is drinking" "drinks" in german :(


That's because there is none.

This is a distinction that German does not make grammatically.


if you want to emphasize that you are drinking the juice right now you'll have to add words which indicates it. You can say "Ich trinke gerade Saft" to say that you are drinking it right now, or "Im Moment trinke ich Saft" (at the moment I'm drinking juice).


Thanks a lot for Duolingo 1) It would be nice to have an index pg of the lessons.2) i am learning German. It wud be useful & helpful if you specify where to use das, die,etc.


Thanks for duolingo. Please add an index pg of the lessons


Plz specify where to use 'das', 'die' in German. Thanks


General comment. How come it excuses some spelling mistakes and not others. I had a typo of osst instead of isst and was told it was wronf. But a few questions ago i made a similar miatake but it was accepted pointing out the typo.


In general, if the typo is one letter and does not result in another real word, it's considered a typo, but if the typo results in a real word, it's considered a mistake.

osst is not a word so I'm not sure why it would have been marked as a typo, but ost, for example, looks as if you were trying to write the German word for "East".


Thought that might have been the case. Defiantly osst but oh well. Was just wondering. Danke!


The maiden eats a banana means the same


No; "maiden" in current English does not generally mean "girl" (i.e. female child).

A "maiden" might be 25, for example, which is an adult, not a child.


My answer was wrong, even though it was exactly the same answer as the correct one. Glitch.


Duolingo always saying something about bananas haha


Why is "The girl is eating a banana" not correct?


"The girls is eating a banana" is one of the accepted translations.

Did you have a listening exercise, perhaps, rather than a translation exercise?

It would be really helpful if you could show us a screenshot of your rejected answer -- upload it to a website somewhere and tell us the URL, please.


I don't have a with dots so I. Have to write madchen


I. Have to write madchen

No you don't. You have an e on your keyboard (I saw you type the word "have") so you can type Maedchen.

Capital M, and then ae as a substitute for ä.


I am a banana!!!


What's the translation of "The girl is eating a banana"?


For context, German does not distinguish between "eats" or "is eating" like we do in English, as they essentially mean the same thing.


What's the translation of "The girl is eating a banana"?

Das Mädchen isst eine Banane.

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