"Today it is a guesthouse." "Today it is a guest house."
Ok, what's the difference between a guest house and a guesthouse? Why is the first answer wrong and the second one correct?
No difference. DL just forgot to add it to the valid translation options, is my guess.
No difference? Don't you have in English any rules when to write things separately and when not?
Nope. I guess the closer the words become, the less necessary the space gets, and people just start writing them together that way. Especially when the two words mean something special when they're together. Examples include "timeline," "bedcover," "doorstop," "bluescreen," "bedtime," and "keyboard."
I meant doorstop (a little thing that holds the door open), but doorstep is also a good example.
That may be so, but it should be accepted as a typo. After all, we're trying to learn German, not English.
I don't understand the sentence at all. I know the translation but What does it mean? It makes no sense
It means that this building was (used for/built as) something else a long time ago, perhaps a barn or a brothel or a fairytale castle, but TODAY it's a guest house.
Stupid question and something I should probably know by now: the ordering of 'ist es' directly translates to 'is it'. How do I know that it should be 'it is' instead?
Well, more precisely, in main declarative (that is, statements, and probably exclamatory--imperative and interrogative (instructions and questions) are different) clauses, German demands that you have a verb as the second element of your sentence. The first element might be a phrase, but if it's not the subject, the subject will come directly after the verb.
In English, we can say [Today] [it] [is] [a guesthouse] or [After the war] [the big green castle in the woods] [becomes] [a museum] but German doesn't allow these word orders where two things occur before the verb. So German says the equivalent of [Today] [is] [it] [a guesthouse] ("Heute ist es eine Pension") and I think... [After the war] [becomes] [the big green castle in the woods] [a museum]. ("Noch der Krieg wird der grosse gruene Schloss im Wald ein Museum."...maybe? something like that? I'm not sure on that translation.)
In this case, since no question is being asked (and actually I think verbs take first position then in German... "Magst du dieses Buch?") English generally has the subject before the verb regardless of what else is in the sentence.
(However, for poetic purposes and the like, you do occasionally encounter what we consider inverted (VS) sentence order with declarative English sentences. e.g. "Bright is the night with the light of the moon")
You know how in English we create questions by inverting the verb and subject? (grammatically correct questions). Well, Germans do the same with statements when they begin with something other than the subject.
This only applies to main clauses, there are other rules for dependent clauses.
Es ist eine Pension / Heute ist es eine Pension
Ich bin glücklich / Gestern war ich glücklich
You are hungry / Are you hungry?
He was tired yesterday / Was he tired yesterday?
Because you are translating the sentence, not its general meaning. "Heute" means "today" :)
Why not hotel, while we're at it? A Pension, in modern parlance, could be called a Hotel, at least in English. Or not?
An English speaker would understand you fine, but your sentence structure would still be wrong.
While this is a literal translation, this is not a natural way to impart the information that some building that was once used for something else is now a guest house. To directly translate "Heute" as "Today" in this sentence implies to me a time dependance and later today or this week it will be something else.
I would think a more natural translation would be "It is now a guest house."
I can't count how many times I've heard or read "Today, it is a..." It's usually used in the context of historical tours, I've found.