"She reads a newspaper."

Translation:Sie liest eine Zeitung.

January 9, 2013

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"Du trinkst" and "Sie trinkt" I understand this but why "Sie liest" and "Du liest"? The endings do not follow the same pattern...


Normally, the marker for the second person singular is -st (e.g. du trink-st). However, if the verb stem (= infinitive minus "-en", e.g. trink-, les-) ends in s, ss, ß or z, only a "t" is used in the second person singular (du lies-t and not *du lies-st).

Also note that the vowel changes in the second and third person singular present tense (e->ie). That's because "lesen" is an irregular ("strong") verb.

lesen (to read): ich lese, du liest, er/sie/es liest, wir lesen, ihr lest, sie lesen


Dear Katherle, pls explain what is a "strong" verb. //That's because "lesen" is an irregular ("strong") verb.


An irregular verb is a verb that does not behave in the manner we would expect it to behave. E.g. "to be" - knowing English, it would be logical to expect "I be, you be, he bes" in the present tense, but instead we have the totally unexpected and abnormal "I am, you are, he is".

The most important group of irregular verbs in German is called "strong verbs". (As a matter of interest, the man who coined this term was Jacob Grimm, who also published the fairy tales). "Strong verbs" exist in English, too. Their vowel changes in the past tense and often also in the past participle:

Ex. English: "to sing - he sang - he has sung" (instead of the expected: to sing - he singed - he has singed)

Ex. German: "singen - er sang - er hat gesungen" (instead of the expected: singen - er singte - er hat gesingt). In German, the vowel of some strong verbs changes not only in the past tense/past participle, but also in the second and third person singular present tense, e.g. it is "lesen - ich lese, du LIEST, er LIEST, wir lesen, ihr lest, sie lesen)" (to read - I read, you read, he reads, etc.).

The vowel changes are not always identical in German and in English. Since you can't really predict the vowel changes, they have to be learnt by heart when you learn the verb. That's incidentally the same for non-native speakers who learn English as a foreign language. Fortunately, the number of strong verbs (and irregular verbs in general) is limited.


For the sake of completeness: There are fixed schemes according to which the vowel changes occur. They are called 'Ablautreihen'. But strong verbs are so rare and the Ablautreihen so complicated that I wouldn't bother memorizing them. I'd recommend to just memorize the conjugation of the most important strong verbs and ignore the rest. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablaut#Ablaute_bei_den_deutschen_Verben http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_starker_Verben_(deutsche_Sprache)


I was wondering whether to mention the "Ablautreihen", but in the end I decided against it because as you said, they overcomplicate matters and are not really that helpful, IMO :). One could also question whether strong verbs really are a subcategory of irregular verbs, but I decided to keep it as simple as possible.


@Katherle: as they follow the old Germanic conjugation rules, I think linguists prefer to view them as a special class of regular verbs. (Christian will correct me if I'm wrong) But for all practical purposes I completely agree with you.


This is really useful. Most of the information I've found on the characteristics of strong verbs hasn't referred to any similarities in English. Good stuff.


Dear Katherle, i got it, thanks for your instant reply..


Katherle... Can you explain me 1. when to use Ein and Einen 2. Why die Zeitung but not Das Zeitung ??


because "zeitung" is a female word.


That is much of a help, thank you.


How will i know which noun is feminine and which is masculine???


Still cannot understand between ein eine einen


See my explanation above.


All of this is so confusing but I love it XD XD XD


When a noun is acted upon eine turns to einen. But nit in this case. I remember , eat apple turns to einen Afple. Why the same rule does not apply here? Any guidance?


See my explanation below.


If all nouns are supposed to be capitalized and it gives us choices with both options then why doesn't say it's incorrect if i pick lower case?


So "eine" is used because newspaper is a feminine noun, or because it's "Sie"?


Eine is used because Zeitung is feminine. Eine would be used even if it we "er" instead of "sie."


How can one differentiate between "she reads" and "she is reading", when they both translate to "sie liest"?


Is anyone else getting sick of typing "Zeitung?" Lol


why it isn't "einen zeitung"?


See my explanation below.

[deactivated user]

    Well, it's hard to understand. Can you explain a little more clearly?


    'Zeitung' is being read. Why dont we use 'einen'?! Like when we want to say she eats an apple, we use 'einen Apfel'.


    Because "Apfel" is masculine, and "Zeitung" is feminine. (All nouns ending in the suffix "-ung" are feminine).

    Masculine: ein (nominative case) --> einen (accusative case)

    Feminine: eine (nominative and accusative cases)

    Neuter: ein (nominative and accusative cases)

    See this table: https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/ein#ein_.28Deutsch.29


    how do you differ the "she" sie than the "they" sie? Is it by saying liest for she and lesen for they?


    I put, "Eine Zeitung sie liest.", and was marked wrong. So, a little help here?


    Grammatically, your version does not work, unless, perhaps yoda were speaking auf Deutsch. Eine Zeitung liest sie is grammatically acceptable, but I am not sure if Duo would accept it as correct for this


    Why is in this case correct only "Sie liest eine Zeitung". It could be "Sie liest die Zeitung". And in other solutions "die Zeitung" also appears, hence we don't know wich newspaper.


    Sie liest eine Zeitung. = She reads a newspaper.

    Sie liest die Zeitung. = She reads the newspaper.

    Since the English sentence in the exercise uses the indefinite article "a" ("She reads a newspaper"), you have to do the same in German and use "eine".


    What the difference between eine and ein?


    Yes, eine is feminine


    Could someone tell me why it is feminine "eine" Zeitung but it is masculine for "die" Zeitung? Thanks!


    die Zeitung is not masculine, it is either feminine or plural. see: http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum.htm


    Why is duolingo focusing on the verb "read" more than all the other verbs?


    It is not focusing on "read". I think you are at the beginning and Duo introduces only basic verbs like "read" at this stage. Gradually the number of verbs will increase. You will see "read" only occasionally.


    Why are both "Sie liest Zeitung" and "Sie liest eine Zeitung" acceptable?


    for me it is not acceptable.


    why isnt "She reads the newspaper." correct?? And they have a different translation here than they do in the actual practice. in the practice its "She reads one newspaper" which isn't grammatically correct and on here the translation is "She reads a newspaper." thoroughly confused teen.


    So, "Sie liest eine Zeitung" can also mean, "she reads a newspaper" and also "she is reading a newspaper" Correct?


    Why does "Zeitung" have to start with a capital letter in the sentence, "Sie liest eine Zeitung" ?


    "Zeitung" starts with a capital letter because it is a noun. In German all nouns start with a capital letter irrespective of their place.


    So is the present simple the same as the present continues in german? I'm confused


    Why eine instead of einen?

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