1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Du liest."

"Du liest."

Translation:You read.

January 9, 2013



It doesn't sound like she's saying "du" it sounds like "bu", the voice is annoying me!


I find that slowing it down helps


You can slow it down! How? Bitte!


Slowing it down is simple. Just press the turtle button. I find it helps to turn the volume up when you press it.


He probably means to ask how to slow the words down, not the sentence. (duuuuu llliiieeesssttt)


Click on the little tortoise icon right of the loud speaker Icon


slowing it down helps to get it righy, but is of no value in understanding the spoken word. The problem is that a significant portion of normal speed audio is very difficult to follow, seems rushed.


Keep listening and it will sound more clear in time.


Sounded like a plain "liest" not "du least" to me. The "du" just wasn't there.


I hear "oo liest"


I couldn't tell if it was "Er" or "Wir"... the voice is NOT so hot.


The "du" was quite clear in the woman's voice; but the man's voice is much worse.


Agreed. The pronoun only plays in turtle mode when I try to listen.


In English English, turtles live in water, and tortoises live on land.


In slow motion I hear the "du", but in normal speed not at all. And I am a german native speaker, doing this course for fun.


yeah same. i am native to Germany and honestly some of this course is good but confusing on some sounds. definitly needs to slowed down to get the full effect


I was hearing it like ihr liest


If it were ihr, it would have to be lest, not liest. Context would say that you probably heard one of the words wrong.



No. Is exacly saying du. You can use slow motion as well.


If I were to say exactly this to someone in real life would it be taken as "you read" or "you are reading"?


Depends on the context


Why does it became "you are reading"? Why isn't it just "you read" as a literal translation?


It could be. Either translation is possible.


Why du..... Not ihr or sie


Du is singular, ihr and Sie (notice the capitalization) are the informal and formal plural forms, respectively. In this case, a single person is reading. if it were in the plural, it would either be "Ihr lest" (informal) or "Sie lesen" (formal)


Is "Sie lesen" = "They read" too? How to distinguish between "you" and "they" in Sie?


sie = they, Sie = you.


This right here is the weirdest thing in German for me so far


T–V distinction It was english, who abandoned singular (thou, thine) and use plural even for family members (you, your).


Can't sie also mean they?


The hint says liest can mean he or you or we/they read, which doesn't make sense. Isn't we read, wir lesen?


It's not we/they read. It's he/she/it reads.


If "Du liest" is "You are reading", then,can I say "Liest du?" as a meaning of "Are you reading"?


That's right!


So for reading, there is no difference in read of 'You read' and 'He reads'.Is liese an exception or is there a rule this?


Lesen isn't exactly an exception because du's -st assimilates into the stem whenever it ends in -s or something else that would run together like liesst would. So it is part of a rule, the orthography just changes to match the pronunciation.

machen (to make, regular verb)
ich mache
du machst
er macht
wir machen
ihr macht
sie machen

lesen (to read, slightly irregular strong verb)
ich lese
du liest
er liest
wir lesen
ihr lest
sie lesen



liese is not a word. But when conjugating the verb lesen, he reads and you read are the same except for the pronoun.


It definitely sounds like ihr liest which is wrong


Why it's not Du lest ?


Some verbs change their vowel in the du and er, sie, es forms -- this is simply something that has to be learned.

For example, lesen has du liest, geben has du gibst, and sehen has du siehst.

It doesn't depend on the shape of the word -- for example, leben has du lebst, not du libst.

So it's just something to remember for any given word.

I imagine that there are historical reasons for these changes, but from the point of view of today's language, those verbs are simply irregular.


So I thought "lest," "liest," and "lesen," were kinda similar as to how "esst," "isst," and "essen" work? So how do the plural/singular, first/second/third person work for someone reading compared to someone eating?


So I thought "lest," "liest," and "lesen," were kinda similar as to how "esst," "isst," and "essen" work?

That's right.

So how do the plural/singular, first/second/third person work for someone reading compared to someone eating?

  • ich lese
  • du liest
  • er, sie, es liest
  • wir lesen
  • ihr lest
  • sie lesen; Sie lesen


  • ich esse
  • du isst
  • er, sie, es isst
  • wir essen
  • ihr esst
  • sie essen; Sie essen


I was thinking that "liese" is the core of word so you add "-st" to the end because of "Du" to obtain "liesst". What I missed?


The core word is 'lesen', actually. What you missed is the 'strong verb' here. Those are verbs which change the core vowel in conjunctions. Hence it's ich lese, du liest, er/sie/es liest, wir lesen, ihr lest, sie lesen in present. In the past term, the core changes to 'las'.


In the quick version it is easily confused with "Du liegst" or "You are lying"


Same kind of conjugation, too. Legen, ich lege, du liegst, er/sie/es liegt, wir liegen, ihr liegt, sie liegen. It's really just the difference of s vs g.


No, you're mixing up two verbs.

There is legen (to lay) which is ich lege, du legst and there is liegen (to lie) which is ich liege, du liegst.

Neither of those verbs changes the vowel in the du and er forms compared to the other forms.

And with lesen, the -ie- is only in those two forms; there is no *wir liesen, for example.


Correct. If others are still confused just go and learn about weak and strong verbs


This seems to translate to both "You read" and "You are reading", so is there no present participle in German?


Not really. you could say "ich bin lesend", but we don't use such forms but in very, VERY rare cases where you really have to stress the present continous. Normally it would sound extremely odd.


No. English has present and past continuous--German doesn't.


Du - trinkst. Er/Sie/Es - trinkt But why 'liest' is same for Du and Er/Sie/Es.


Usually the second person singular is "trunk of the infinitive" (trink for trinken, les for lesen) plus st. But "lesen" has already the s. And you can't put a second s there, because that would make the vowel a short one. The more, there are strong and weak verbs. Weak ones don't change the vowel of the trunk, strong ones do. Lesen is strong, trinken is weak. We also distinguish between regular and irregular verbs, but that's another story. Yeah, German is complicated. (And to avoid complete frustration I won't even mention that some verbs are both regular and irregular, weak and strong or mixed.)


du ließt is an alternative form of du ließest "you let, you left", the past tense of the verb lassen (to let, to leave).


O my god. I wouldn't have thought of that. Can't remember ever having it heard. Maybe read in old books. In normal speech everyone would take the past perfect, as we are quite sloppy in distinguishing simple past, present past and past perfect or just find another way to express the circumstances. "Du ließt das Rauchen"? No way anyone would say that. We would say: "Du hast mit dem Rauchen aufgehört." And maybe also because ließt and liest is pronounced exactly the same.


I had to check canoo to see whether it was possible -- I thought it might be a variant of ließest but wasn't sure.

As you say, it's not used a lot, and if I did use the simple past, I'd go for the clearer ließest (Warum ließest du sie zurück, o Unhold!)


yeah, it was used up to the end of the 19th century, but as so many words just died out more or less.


I heard 'er' or 'ihr', but it was nothing like 'du' at all. My face was a picture when it told me that I had translated it wrongly... Seriously, this guy's audio clips are terrible; they need re-recording.


Fast: er liest. Slow: du liest. FEHLER


I thought he said "er liest", normal speed on this one cuts off the first half second of the phrase


I think this sounds more like "Er liest". Duolingo should change it for a better sound file.


I translated Du lest, and it tells me I used the Ihr form, from which I deduce there is a plural form for the verb lese? :=/


So far I understood it is only one verb "lesen". Actually, the conjugation "lest" is used for "You" in the plural (i. e. Ihr). I think for English native users is a little more difficult because in many cases you can use the same word for both singular and plural. But you will get used to it. The "lesen" conjugation in the Present Tense is:

Ich lese

Du liest

Er/sie/es liest

Wir lesen

Ihr lest

Sie lesen


Would "Sie lesen" be for you formal and they?


Yes. If it isn't the start of the sentence you can distinguish it by the capital letter for the formal you. Gestern haben Sie gelesen - Yesterday you read. Gestern haben sie gelesen - yesterday they read.


Du liest it same like "du isst" :-/


I am a little confused - a 't' is added to the root verb for he/she/it (er/sie/es) and you plural (ihr), but for 'lesen' the conjugate verb for er/sie/es is 'liest' and for ihr it is 'lest'... why does this difference occur?


No specific reason. One just has to learn the conjugations. Check out Quizlet.com, as there are sure to be German verbs flashcard sets you can use.


What is the difference between "Du." and "Sie."? Do both mean "You."?


Du is informal and Sie is formal. You would use Du with your friends and family, and Sie with your boss or with a person you just have met.


Du is informal and singular, Sie is formal amd can be singular and bbn plural


In this case would it be alright to say "Du kinder liest"?


kinder (lowercase) is not a German word. And I have no idea what you are trying to say.


Are you trying to say „Ihr Kinder lest”? „Du kinder liest” doesn't make sense at all.



When do i use "liest" or "lesen" in a sentence. Is is based on singular and plural noun ?

  • ich lese
  • du liest
  • er liest, sie liest, es liest; singular nouns: der Mann liest, die Frau liest, das Kind liest
  • wir lesen
  • ihr lest
  • sie lesen; Sie lesen; plural nouns: die Menschen lesen


Du liest? Er ("der Junge" or "der Mann" for example) liest? Es ("die Katze" for example) liest? sie ("das Mädchen" or "die Frau" for example) liest?

I wonder if all of them are true.


du liest; er liest; es liest; sie liest are all grammatically correct. (Not: "true". We don't know whether anyone is actually reading, so we can't talk about truth of the statement.)

But since das Mädchen is grammatically neuter, you would refer back to it with the neuter es, while you would use the feminine sie to refer back to the grammatically feminine die Katze.

Was macht das Mädchen? Es liest. Was macht die Katze? Sie liest.


Is there any way to find difference in sentence if the sentence is in present tense or present continuous . Like he reads and he is reading. Would there be any difference in German translation


Is there any way to find difference in sentence if the sentence is in present tense or present continuous . Like he reads and he is reading. Would there be any difference in German translation

No, not in standard German.

Sometimes, there is a time expression which requires a particular English case (e.g. "every day" --> present simple, "right now" --> present continuous), but without such a time expression, both tenses are usually reasonable translations.


How do I know when it's Du liest, you read or Du liest, you are reading


How do I know when it's Du liest, you read or Du liest, you are reading

Without context (as in single sentences on Duolingo), it could often be either -- and so both translations should be accepted.

If there is a time expression, then that may tell you that only one tense is appropriate.

For example, Du liest jeden Tag ein Buch. can only be "You read a book every day" and Du liest gerade ein Buch. can only be "You are reading a book right now."


Thanks for the help!


explain please

Can you be a bit more precide about where your confusion lies?

What is it that you do not understand? What sentence are you talking about?

Is there a part of it where you would have expected something else? If so, what, and why?


Audio ist falsch! Der Mann sagt: ER liest - aber die korrekte Antwort ist: DU liest?!


Why is it reads and not are reading


Why is it reads

Eh? Where do you see "reads"? "You reads" would be completely wrong English.

Du liest. can translate to "You read" or to "You are reading".


Its like he is saying "der liest"


The voice of the speaker is very bad. I am german. I don't understand it too.


For me, You read was shown as wrong answer. Donno why!


I don't know, either. Do you have a screenshot that shows that answer being rejected? Please upload it to a website (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL.

First, though, check that you had a translation exercise and not a listening exercise ("type what you hear", i.e. write in German what the voice says in German).


His voice is very unclear here.


Im going crazy, first i have question "You are reading" i said 'Du liest' . Correct. Then this question i have "Du liest" and answer is 'You read'. Its so stupid.


first i have question "You are reading" i said 'Du liest' . Correct. Then this question i have "Du liest" and answer is 'You read'.

Standard German does not distinguish between "you are reading" and "you read" -- both will be du liest in German.


I'm hearing "Er liest"...


I hear "bill east"


why not "you are picking"?


I got caught on this one too. The hints when you hover over the word even says "(You) pick/are picking". Duolingo should accept this if they're going to suggest it.


"Picking" actually is a correct translation for "lesen", albeit an old-fashioned one. I guess Duolingo isn't accepting it here because these are very basic lessons that don't deal with such words like that. This is why it only accepts the much more common sense of the word, which is "reading". The hint for "picking" shouldn't be in the dictionary, though, that's quite confusing.


how do you know all of dat stuff and be on basics 2... lol


Maybe she just searched for it and it's explaining what she found. A good way to fix these tricks.


The same reason as I am here. Revising my basic skills to strengthen my skill bars.


It's not old fashioned. It's still used especially with regard to wine (picking the wine berrys), but also with other berries or fruits or vegetables. Of course, as a beginner you won't easily get into a situation where you talk about making wine.


Because I just stumbled over it: "Lies doch mal deine Klamotten auf!" (Pick up your clothes!) is not uncommon in Germany. (The joke went: "Du liest doch so gerne, oder?" (You love to read, don't you?) "Ja, ich studiere Literatur." (Yes, I study literature.) "Dann lies doch mal deine Klamotten auf."


Sounds southern to me :)

I don't think you'd hear that in Hamburg, for example.


That's funny, because to me it sounds northern. But then, as an Austrian I'm quite at the southern end of the german speaking area.


Are there any rules for changing verbes ?


Plenty. Look up conjugation charts for German - those are pretty helpful.


What is the difference between "du" and "Sie"?both mean "you"?


'Sie' is more polite than 'Du'. E.g- you might say to a stranger 'Sie' but to your friend 'Du'. Hope that is helpful.


I dislike how when you make a typo it won't let you re-do the word... ex. I put "ReD" instead of "read".


Yes I agree the Du does sound like a Bu, I actually highlighted this a couple of lessons back.


Hope next tiem they record proper DU


very true i am native speaker of german and i didnt hear the "Du" but slow down the words and you will be okay


I still do not understand the difference between simple present and present continious in german language


that is because there isn't one!


German doesn't have present continuous.


I really have problem with verbs. They make congused Ich liese Du liest Er/Sie liest Wir liesen Ihr liest Sie liesen


Sorry, it's: Ich lese, du liest, er/sie/es liest, wir lesen, ihr lest, sie lesen.


Isn't it "Du list." not "Du liest."?


No. Du liest is correct. Du list is not correct.


I thought she said was du bist


what is the difference between du and ihr?


du is singular, ihr is plural. In english both is "you".


So if Sie liest is formal and it means you read for more respecting... how could we differentiate between she reads ... and ..you read ...if they are both ( Sie liest) ?


Formal Sie is plural: "Sie lesen". Sie liest is always "she reads". The difference between "sie lesen" (they read) and "Sie lesen" (you read) is in written form by the capital S or generally by context.


Why isn't is du lest?


Some verbs change -e- to -i- or -ie- in the du and er, sie, es forms; this is one of them.

So we say du liest and er liest.

Two other common verbs that do this are geben "to give" and essen "to eat": we say du gibst and er gibt, du isst and er isst.

But the ihr form has the regular vowel -e-: ihr lest; ihr gebt; ihr esst.


'You reads' . . . . is this right? Du lesen 'You are reading' is right, surely?


No, "you reads" is not a correct translation of "du liest".

"You read" and "you are reading" are the possible translations.

"Du lesen" is not correct, either, since "lesen" is either the infinitive or the form used for "wir" (we) or "sie" (they) or "Sie" (formal you) but not for "du" (informal you for one person).


Liest sounds like list


Why do you use du instead of ihr ?


Use du when speaking to one person whom you know well.

Use ihr when speaking to several people whom you know well.


Please what is the difference from liest and lessen


liest and lesen are different forms of the same verb, lesen:

  • ich lese
  • du liest
  • er liest, sie liest, es liest
  • wir lesen
  • ihr lest
  • sie lesen, Sie lesen


Is there different in German when saying " you are reading " & " you read " ? Is both translated into " Du liest"?


"You are reading" and "You read" both translate into Du liest, yes.

It's simpler in German - you don't have to worry about whether the action is repeated, habitual, currently happening, etc. :)


why is it liest and not lest


It just is.

Some verbs in German change the vowel in the du and the er, sie, es forms, from e to i or ie, or from a to ä or au to äu.

For example: essen: er isst; lesen: er liest; fangen: er fängt; laufen: er läuft.

Just something you have to learn. It's not really predictable; for example, kaufen has er kauft and not er käuft.


I was also able to select "you are reading" as my answer. Is that an example of no direct "-Ing" Translation from English to German? I thought that german didnt use -ing verb endings?

Thanks, Robert


German doesn't have a continuous aspect formed with an -ing form -- so a continuous form such as "you are reading" would be translated to du liest just like a simple form such as "you read".


"Sie leist" how would i know if its "she is reading" or "they are reading"


You look at the verb: sie liest means "she is reading", sie lesen means "they are reading".

"she" verbs usually end in -t, "they" verbs usually end in -en.


Liest has been used for du and er or sie.. is it an exceptinal verb?


Only a little bit.

The vowel change from -e- to -ie- is a bit of an exception but is shared with some other verbs, e.g. sehen: du siehst).

The simplification of -s-st to -s-t is regular -- lesen: du liest; essen: du isst; lassen: du lässt; rasen: du rast etc. We don't write du liesst, du issst, du lässst, du rasst etc., and so for verbs whose stem ends in -s -ß -x -z, the du and the er, sie, es forms will look the same.


Isn't "you read" and "you are reading" translated as "du liest". It keeps correcting for "you are reading"


Why "liest" and not "lest" ?


Some verbs change the vowel in the du and er, sie, es forms, typically from e to i or ie or from a, au to ä, äu. This is unpredictable and simply has to be lerned.

lesen is one such verb -- it has du liest, er liest with ie instead of e.


Y its 'du liest' n not "ihr liest" Since, du=ihr=you...!?



That's not correct. You might as well say that "I=we" in English.

du is when you speak to one person.

ihr is when you speak to several people at once.

They're not interchangeable.

When you speak to one person, you say du liest.

When you speak to several people, you say ihr lest.

You can never say du lest or ihr liest -- just as you can't say "I are reading" or "we am reading".

Does your native language make no difference between the verb forms for "you (one person)" and "you (several people)"?


Couldn't hear the "Du"!


The D in "Du Leist" isn't pronounced when the man says it, yet it is pronounced when in slow mode


Cant hear "Du" in normal speed


Why is it liest not lest?


Why is it liest not lest?

Some German verbs change their vowel in the du and the er/sie/es forms:

  • from e to i
  • from e to ie
  • from a to ä
  • from au to äu

This is unpredictable and you simply have to learn which verbs do this. (For example, leben has er lebt without change but the nearly identical-looking verb geben has er gibt with a change.)

lesen is one of these verbs and it changes the e to ie in the du and er/sie/es forms: ich lese, du liest, er/sie/es liest, wir lesen, ihr lest, sie lesen.

(Since this change applies only do the two forms for du and er/sie/es, this means that for such verbs, the er/sie/es and ihr forms will be different: both add a -t but only one of them changes the vowel. er liest, ihr lest.)


The "d" at normal speed is inaudible...


It says to finish this question but on my screen the only word is "Du". There is no option to select and it won't let me finish this lesson. I can skip it but it just repeats.


It tells me to pick the correct word but there is nothing there to pick. Then it just keeps going back to it and you are going in circles because there are no words to pick.


why is it not "du lest" like the chart says in the notes?


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

Which verbs do this has to be learned -- it can't be predicted.

Some common verbs that do this are lesen, geben, sehen, which have du liest, du gibst, du siehst, respectively.

So you not only have to add the -st ending but also change the vowel for the du form for such verbs.


Whats the difference between Du and Ihr? Dont they both me "you"?


Whats the difference between Du and Ihr? Dont they both me "you"?

English lost the singular "thou" and started using the plural "you" indiscriminately, whether talking to one person or to several people.

German still distinguishes between du (you = one person) and ihr (you = several people).

Mixing them up would be like mixing up "I" and "we", or "she" and "they".


How would you tranlate "you are reading"? And what would the difference to "you reda" be


How would you tranlate "you are reading"?

Du liest.

And what would the difference to "you reda" be

No difference in standard German.


Why is liest the same word for both du and er/sie?


Why is liest the same word for both du and er/sie?

Because the stem les- of lesen ends in an -s.

After s ß z x (all /s/-like sounds), the -st ending for du is simplified to -t.

Thus we have du liest, du heißt, du tanzt, du boxt and not du liesst, du heißst, du tanzst, du boxst.

And in such verbs, the du and the er/sie/sie forms will be the same.


no turtle button here...


Why "you reads" is wrong answer?


Why "you reads" is wrong answer?

Because "you reads" is not correct English.

Aji-san: this course is for teaching German to English speakers.

Knowing when to say "read" and when to say "reads" in English is not something this course is set up to teach; if you still have difficulties with this, I strongly recommend that you take an English course first. This is something very basic, and if you have not mastered it yet, trying to learn German through English will be very difficult.


Fast: er liest, slow: du liest. FEHLER


bad audio. sounds like "er liest"


He says it waaay to fast.


I simply cant get it ! Duolingo keeps rejecting my pronuncition of such simple phrases, like * Bis Bald or * Du liest although I say them exactly as I heard them !


He said ihr lest


Sometimes Duolingo pronounces words wrong. At a normal speech rate, say Er instead of Du. Ier instead of Er.


First consonant is missing


Question. Would it technically be "you are reading, or you read"?


Both sentences are perfectly fine translations of du liest.

Which one you would choose depends on the context (are we talking about something that's happening right now, or something that occurs habitually or repeatedly?).

In the absense of context, both are equally valid.


Speaking very fast...can listen what he speaks..and its every time


I thought liest is reads/reading while lest is read,can some help out?


If the stem of a verb (without the -en ending of the infinitive) ends in a "s" sound (spelled s ss ß z x), then the du form, which usually ends in -st, just has a -t.

Thus lesen, with the stem les-, has the same form for du liest (you [one person]·read, you are reading) and er liest (he reads, he is reading).

ihr lest (you [several people] read, you are reading) looks different, because verbs that change their vowel only do so in the du and er, sie, es forms. Thus ihr lest has the same -e- as the base form lesen.


what do lingots do


Really unclear this one


This is really unclear at normal speed.


Is 'liest' in present or past in this case?


Is 'liest' in present or past in this case?

du liest is present tense = you read / you are reading


There seems to be a technical issue -- Of _


There seems to be a technical issue

Please provide more detail:

  • Show us a screenshot of what you are referring to: upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL
  • What on the screenshot went wrong?
  • Why is it wrong?
  • What would you have expected instead?


I find that "Ihr" and "er, sie, es" share the same verb spelling as in "trinkt". How come they don't share in lesen and esse? Example: Ihr trinkt, same verb spelling in sie/er/es trinkt but Ihr esst, different verb spelling in sie/es/er isst. Instead it is du isst sharing the same with sie/es/er isst


Some verbs change their vowel (from e to i or ie, from a to ä, or from au to äu).

Those that do so, do so only in the du and er/sie/es forms.

For those verbs, er/sie/es and ihr will have different forms, since er/sie/es will have the changed vowel while ihr will have the original vowel.

For example, kaufen (buy) has er kauft and ihr kauft while laufen (run) has er läuft but ihr lauft.

Similarly, leben (live) has er lebt and ihr lebt while geben (give) has er gibt but ihr gebt.

Which verbs do this is unpredictable -- just something you have to memorise.

lesen and essen are two such verbs.


I just missed an "e" !


I just missed an "e" !

And so you produced a completely different word.

List (guile) and liest (read, reads, are reading, is reading) are completely different words.

Using the wrong one is a mistake.

Just like reading "You road the book" instead of "you read the book" would be completely wrong, because roads are for driving and not something you do with books.


Uhhh it's confusing the hell out of me ! I've learnt that lesen means are reading so i chose it and they r showing its a wrong choice so yth is it wrong?


"You read" and "You are reading" are both correct.


No, I shalln't read


Is du lese same as du liest?


Is du lese same as du liest?

No. du liest is correct. du lese is not correct.

du takes verb forms ending in -st.

The verb ending -e is for ich, e.g. ich lese.

And leist is from a completely different verb (it's the command form of leisten "afford, achieve").

Pay careful attention to ei versus ie in German words!

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.