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  5. "Sie isst."

"Sie isst."

Translation:She is eating.

January 6, 2013

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(Isst) sounds like (ist) how to know which is which


It's kind of like in English, we know the difference between "know" and "no". Depending on the context that we use it in. Same between "too", "to", and "two". Or "there", "their", and "they're". It just depends on the way we use it.


In normal speech you can tell from the context. Furthermore "Sie ist." is as odd as "She is."


I do not understand. Is this sarcasm? "She is" is in no way odd.


That assumption probably comes from your native language.
In English you can use "She is" to answer a question like "Who's taller".
However, that's not something all languages allow.
So for example, in my native language(Russian) it would sound extremely weird as a separate sentence("она есть" or "она является").


Why is it not They eat? How do you tell the diff. when it's @ the beginning?


"isst" is unambiguously 3rd person singular. "They eat" would be "Sie essen". "Sie essen." however can be "You (formal) eat." or "They eat.".


How do you tell then if it is 'You (formal) eat' or 'They eat'? Is it just from context?


Context, yes. Also, the formal Sie is always capitalised but the plural sie is only capitalised at the beginning of sentences.


Thanks! That was really confusing for me! :)


Could it be She eats?


"Sie isst" was translated to "She is eating".

For me the most obvious is "She eats". Where do I get it wrong?


As far as I'm aware, it can have either meaning. That said, I would translate it to "she eats" also.


Thats what i also thought. I think 'they' translated it wrong.


I've also seen "ißt." Is this equivalent to "isst"? Or is "ißt" the spelling before the 1996 reform?


The 'ß' character is another way of writing two consecutive s's. It can be written either way.


That's not true -- some words are written with ß and some are written with ss and you can't just use the other spelling when you feel like it.

In Switzerland, only ss is used, but in Germany and Austria, either one or the other will be correct but you're not free to choose.


so how to decide when to use "ß" or when to use "ss" ?


Since 1996, ß is written only after long vowels and diphthongs, and ss only after short vowels.

So if you know the correct pronunciation, you know how to choose between ß and ss.

A good dictionary should show you whether the stressed vowel is long or short. (Unstressed vowels are almost always short.)

However, s can stand after either long or short vowels, so whether to pick s or ß, or s or ss, is something that simply has to be learned. For example, "er liest" and "er gießt" rhyme perfectly.


Before the spelling reform people were basically writing it however they like, now it's standarized and we write "isst". It's because 'i' in "isst" is a short vovel. After a short vovel there always comes 'ss'.


What are short vowels?


I'm just confused on how 'Sie' can mean both 'They' and 'She'. Can someone please explain how this is so?


I'm afraid that's just the way it is. "Sie" can mean three different pronouns. They are: female singular (she), plural (they), and formal (also 'they,' used for people deserving of respect, e.g. elders, teachers, police officers). The only way to know which "sie" is being used is by looking at the context of the statement. Also, in the case of the formal "Sie," it will always be capitalised, regardless of where it is in a sentence. The other two are only capitalised at the beginning.


Really helpful Cat, thanks. I wish my cat could be as smart as you.


I think it's just like in English, "you" (singular) and "you" (plural)


What's the difference between She and They in German?


They are both sie, but they require different verb forms.

sie "she" almost always has a verb form ending in -t (e.g. sie ist, sie isst, sie trinkt, sie sieht). A notable exception is the modal verbs, as in English: sie kann, sie will, sie muss (just as English says "she can, she will, she must" and not "she cans, she wills, she musts").

sie "they" almost always has a verb form ending in -en (e.g. sie essen, sie trinken, sie sehen). A notable exception is "they are" = sie sind.


"Sie ist." is simply wrong in German. A native speaker would never say this. In English, "She is" works as a reply to something like "Who's at the door?", but this does not work in German. You'd have to say something along the lines of "Sie ist es", which is still a bit unnatural, or simply "Sie".

Unfortunately, accepting "Sie ist" instead of "Sie isst" is hardcoded into the app. It's not something we can change. So you need to police yourselves. Please don't report it. There's nothing we can do about this.


How can tell the difference between they and she? only by the form of the verb or there are other ways?


Only by the form of the verb.

And when they are not the subject but the object (i.e. "them" versus "she"), only context can tell the difference.

Without context, Ich sehe sie. could mean either "I see them" or "I see her".


Does "she" sound the same as "they"? Danke.


Yes. They sound completely identical.

You can only tell them apart by the verb form.


Can someone please explain the difference between "its" and "isst" I know one is: is, and one is: eats, but I don't know which is which. Help?


What is the infinitive of "to eat" in German?


Why not he instead of she


Because sie means "she", not "he".

"he" would be er.


So the infinitive is:ess

Ich esse Du isst Sie essem Sie esset Wir essem Am I right?


ich esse . du isst . er/sie/es isst . wir essen . ihr esst . sie/Sie essen .


I don't understand when Sie is She and when Sie is them. Can you explain?


Keep an eye on what comes after these pronouns, for example: sie ist = she is || sie sind = they are || sie isst = she eats || sie essen = they eat.


how can i tell the difference between (she is eating) and (she eats) in german ???


They are both said the same way in German.


Is there no Continuous Tense in Deustch? Sie isst = "She is eating", but sometimes there are another translate from this app that saying Sie isst = "She eats".


That's right; there is no continuous aspect in German -- "she is eating" and "she eats" are translated the same way, as are "she was eating" and "she ate", etc.


I learned that isst means is


"she is" is sie ist -- just one S.

"she eats" is sie isst -- two S.


Why cant it be "they are eating"


= Sie essen


why "ess" changes to "iss" in "sie isst"? in all other forms it is e instead of i.


Some verbs change their vowel in the du and er, sie, es forms, e.g. from "e" to "i" or "e" to "ie" or "a" to "ä".

essen is one of those verbs.

This is simply something that has to be learned.


What are the translations for eating for I, you, he, she, we, they, etc?


See the course notes for the "Animals" lesson - https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Animals-1

It has a conjugation table for the verb essen.


Is du isst correct?


Is there any Difference between 'sie essen' and 'sie isst'?


Yes, sie essen is "they eat" and sie isst is "she eats".


Why do we use "isst" with she? Why not "esst"?


Some verbs change the vowel in their stem for the du and er, sie, es forms, e.g. lesen: du liest, er liest or essen: du isst, er isst or tragen: du trägst, er trägt.

It's simply something that you have to learn.


How do I differentiate "sie" for she and "sie" for they??


When they're the subject, you can differentiate them by the verb form, e.g. sie isst, sie liest, sie ist, sie hat are "she eats/reads/is/has" while sie essen, sie lesen, sie sind, sie haben are "they eat/read/are/have".

The verb form for sie "she" almost always ends in -t in the present tense; that for sie "they" almost always in -en.

When they're the object, you sometimes can't tell them apart, e.g. ich liebe sie could be "I love her" or "I love them".


Why only isst for Sie and the rest are esse/essen?


That's not true.

ich esse, du isst, er isst (sie isst, es isst); wir essen, ihr esst, sie essen (Sie essen).

isst is not used for Sie but only for er, sie, es as well as for du.

ihr uses esst and not either of esse or essen.

As for the vowel change in the du and er, sie, es forms, that's something some verbs do; just something to remember. Similar in geben: du gibst and sehen: du siehst.

And as for du isst and er isst being the same: that's a spelling simplification. iss- + -st for the du form would give issst but that's simplified to isst which then looks like iss- + -t = isst for the er, sie, es form.


For most verbs like trink, only -st form is for du and -t form is for er\es\sie. Why is it different in this case?


As I said, it's a simplification -- the du form is not iss- + -st = issst but simply isst while the er, sie, es form is regular (if you ignore the vowel change for now) iss- + -t = isst.

This sort of thing happens regularly in verbs whose stem ends in -s, -ss, -ß, -z, -x: the -s- of the -st ending disappears.

Other examples are lesen: du liest and heißen: du heißt and kratzen: du kratzt.


Why for this verb 'esse', 'du' shares -st form with sie,es,er and -t form is only for 'ihr' whereas for other verbs -t form is shared by 'ihr' with sie,es,er and 'du' only uses -st forms? Please Enlighten.


What the different "sie essen" and "sie isst". Sometimes i think "sie" (she) and "sie" they it's same.

  • sie essen = they eat
  • sie isst = she eats


What do you mean?

Sie isst. is a complete sentence, and the verb form for sie (she) is isst, not essen (that would be appropriate for sie "they").


explain this to me, it says here "Sie isst" Sie here means "they're" because the S is capital, but when the S is small it should be "she" am i wrong or something?


Yes, you're wrong :)

  • sie with a small letter can mean either "she" or "they"
  • Sie with a capital letter is the formal "you"
  • the first letter of a sentence is always capitalised in German (like in English)

So when there is a Sie at the beginning of a sentence, you cannot see whether it is "really" a sie or a Sie.

However, the verb isst only fits du and er, sie, es (he, she, it) -- this means that Sie isst must mean "she eats" or "she is eating".

For sie "they" or Sie "you (formal)", the verb would have had to be essen.


Sie con mayuscula es usted o ellos


Es Usted o Ustedes.

ella, ellos, ellas es sie con minuscula.


I'm hoping this will eventually get clearer. But what's the difference between "die", "der" and "den"?


No difference in meaning.

It's just a grammar difference - die is used before all plural nouns as well as before feminine nouns (in the singular); der before masculine (singular) nouns; and das before neuter (singular) nouns.

The gender of a noun (masculine, feminine, or neuter) simply has to be learned.


How do we know when it is "she eats" and "she is eating"???


The German sentence can mean either of those, and so both translations are accepted.

In real life (in the context of a conversation), you would choose the appropriate translation depending on the rules of English -- i.e. present simple for repeated actions, present continuous for something happening now.


Can't you say "Sie ist essen."?


No, you cannot.

German doesn't have a continuous aspect formed with "to be" -- "she eats" (simple present) and "she is eating" (present continuous) both translate to the same sentence, sie isst.

Sie ist essen would be like "she is eat", and makes just as little sense.


Why its isst? Not esst?


Some verbs change the vowel in the second and third persons singular, from e to i or ie or from a, au to ä, äu.

essen is one of them; it changes e to i in the du and er, sie, es forms, so that it is du isst and er isst, sie isst, es isst.

Note that the ihr form does not change the vowel so that is ihr esst.

Other common verbs that change the vowel there are geben (du gibst, er gibt) (give), lesen (du liest, er liest) (read) and sehen (du siehst, er sieht) (see).

Which verbs change the vowel is just something that has to be learned -- for example, kaufen (buy) has du kaufst but laufen (to run) has du läufst. Saying du käufst or du laufst are simply wrong.


how could I know when I use "is eating" instead of "eat" in this sentence " sie isst"


Sie isst. can be translated either as "She is eating." or as "She eats."

"She eat." is not possible because "eat" is the wrong verb form for the subject "she".

As to the choice between "is eating" and "eats" - in English, the rule depends (to put it simply) on whether the action is taking place once (now) or repeatedly.

Without context, Sie isst. could be either of those and so both translations are accepted. If there is a context, e.g. jeden Morgen "every morning" (repeated) or gerade "right now", then the conventions of English will dictate only one possible translation.


i know i surely missed out something. But how will you know if you have to use "esse" or "essen" or "isst" or "esst" ?


You need to practice the conjugation tables for different verbs more. In this case, it is 'She is eating' so you go with sie isst. Take a look at the other cases: ich esse -- du isst -- er/sie/es isst -- wir essen -- ihr esst -- sie/Sie essen


You look at the subject -- is it "I" or "you" (one person) or "he" or "we" or "you" (many people) or "they"?

Then you pick the form that matches the subject.

There's a conjugation table in the tips and notes for the Animals unit: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Animals-1


I cannot open the Chart.


it seems like sie has two meanings one for she one for them/they. How to differ this?


she/they can usually be distinguished by the verb form -- the verb form for "she" usually ends in -t, the verb form for "they" usually in -en.

For example, sie isst "she eats", sie essen "they eat".

The verb "to be" is irregular -- there, the forms are sie ist "she is" and sie sind "they are".

Telling "her" and "them" apart (as objects) is usually impossible without context. For example, Ich sehe sie. could mean either "I see her." or "I see them."


Doesn't Sie also translate they? So what exactly am I missing?


sie can mean "she" or "they".

The verb form will usually show you which one is meant, e.g. sie ist = she is, sie sind = they are; sie isst = she is eating, sie essen = they are eating; sie trinkt = she is drinking, sie trinken = they are drinking.


Why is this not You (formal) eat?


Because the verb form is wrong for that.

Formal you uses the same verb forms as “they”, so that would be Sie essen.


Danke schön! It is like Ustedes in Spanish.


How can you tell the difrerence between sie (she) and sie (they) in a situation like this?


By looking at the verb: does it end in -t or -en?


So, I typed in "Sie ist" instead of "Sie isst", and it still accepted the former as the correct answer, even though the translation in the answer was for "Sie isst". I may not know enough German yet, but doesn't the double-S sound differently from a single-S (like a "harder" sound)? I didn't really notice a difference in the audio...unless it's a really subtle difference.


You mean the voiced and voiceless /s/. "ist" and "isst" do sound the same.


Why for this verb 'esse', 'du' shares -st form with sie,es,er and -t form is only for 'ihr' whereas for other verbs -t form is shared by 'ihr' with sie,es,er and 'du' only uses -st forms? Please Enlighten.


But how do we know if it's "She is eating" or "She eats"? And why does "Sie" sometimes mean she but sometimes they..? Please help...


But how do we know if it's "She is eating" or "She eats"?

It can mean either, and you can't tell in this sentence, so both translations are accepted.

If there is an adverb that specifies "now" or "repeatedly" which only work with one of those tenses in English, then the rules of English will tell you which possibility has to be used -- for example, Sie isst gerade. can only be "She is eating right now." and Sie isst jeden Tag Sushi. can only be "She eats sushi every day.", because the time expressions "right now" and "every day" force a particular tense.

And why does "Sie" sometimes mean she but sometimes they..?

Because "she" and "they" are both sie in German. I suppose there's a historical reason (formerly separate words falling together or something) but basically it's "because that's the way it is".

Note that if they are the subject, the verb endings will be different, e.g. sie isst = "she eats; she is eating" but sie essen = "they eat; they are eating".

sie "she" verbs usually end in -t while sie "they" verbs usually end in -en.

Later you will also come across capitalised Sie which means "you"; its verb forms are as for sie "they".


why is not you are eating??


Because isst is the second and third person singluar conjugation of the verb "essen." Remember, the pronoun for second person singular is "du," not "sie?"

Therefor the sentence "you are eating" can only be:

-Du isst. (singular, informal)

-Ihr esst. (plural, informal)

-Sie essen. (formal - note that the conjugation for formal you is always plural)

Since "she" is "sie" and "Sie isst" is not "you are eating," the sentence must be "she is eating."

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