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  5. "Der Käse ist gut, obwohl er …

"Der Käse ist gut, obwohl er alt ist."

Translation:The cheese is good although it is old.

December 13, 2013

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Why, in this sentence referring to cheese, is it "obwohl er alt ist" and not "obwohl es alt ist"?

December 13, 2013


"Er" is used in the second part because "Käse" is masculine. "Es" would be for a neuter noun, z.B "Das Pferd ist schnell, obwohl es alt ist."

December 13, 2013


And is "sie" used for feminine nouns?

December 17, 2013


Yes, "Die Katze ist schnell, obwohl sie alt ist."

December 17, 2013


Could you use "er" if the cat is male?

January 19, 2014


German doesn't work that way.

January 23, 2014


Yes you can, but than you should say: Der Kater ist schnell obwohl er alt ist

May 1, 2014


I think, if you want to personify it. It would be similar to "George, my dog, is smart. He is also fast" and "George, my dog, is smart. It is also fast". Can anyone verify this?

February 11, 2014


Is there a word in German for a male cat? I know that professions have male and female versions, but are there fe/male words for animals in german?

February 2, 2014


Yes the word is Kater and refers to a tomcat (Der Kater).

February 5, 2014


Why not "es ist alt"?

March 28, 2014


When you use a subordinating conjunction (AKA a verb scarer) like 'weil' (because) or 'obwohl' (although), the verb in that clause is moved to the end of the clause. Because of this, you can't write '..., obwohl es IST alt' and instead you have to write '..., obwohl es alt IST'. I hope that helped and didn't confuse you!

May 3, 2014


Verb scarer, i'll remember that forever.

May 3, 2014


Do you know of a list of "verb scarers" that you can link? That would be useful!

June 7, 2014


Here's a list from the BBC Bitesize website, although I'm not sure if it's complete list; there are bound to be some that are more rare and don't feature on a list. Enjoy! http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/german/grammar/conjunctionsrev2.shtml

October 27, 2014


I think they were asking why not use "es" instead of "er".

January 31, 2016


    In any case, that was already answered in the first comment's reply.

    January 31, 2016


    The top explanation is not a full one. If you've gotten this point in the Duolingo Journey, you may remember (though I can't remember between my college class and this sometimes) that ihn, es, and sie could also be possibilities, in addition to, "er", "es", and, "sie". First, ask yourself, "Is this "it" a direct object or is it the subject. The verb "ist" is more like an equalizing verb saying that one thing equals or possesses a certain quality or state of being. So in this case, "er" is not the direct object, but is still talking about the subject. So we go with "er" instead of "ihn."

    February 9, 2015


    Sorry i don't get it. So the er doesn't refer to he so much as any masculine noun?

    December 21, 2015


      Basically, yes. If the noun has already been mentioned and is referred to thereafter as 'it', then use the matching gender (er/sie/es) for "it".

      December 21, 2015


      The best cheeses are always the oldest ;)

      March 20, 2014


      yeah, the sentence should be "The cheese is good BECAUSE it is old"

      October 18, 2014


      Why is it "obwohl er alt ist" instead of "obwohl er ist alt/obwohl alt ist er"? Would the alternative options I've wrote work? Because I thought that in German the verb has to be in the second place... Thanks for helping!

      December 26, 2013


      You're right that verbs usually go in the second position of a sentence, but that rule doesn't apply all the time. In this sentence, the verb goes to the end of the clause ("obwohl er alt ist") because "obwohl" is a subordinating conjunction. This page explains subordinating conjunctions in more detail: http://goo.gl/v1Rq1T I hope this helps!

      December 26, 2013


      Hi, guys I didn't get why is it \er alt ist instead of \es alt ist. as i know es uses for all kind of things not for masculine or feminine. er ans sind can be used for creatures. if someone know why here they have used er, i am waiting for answer.

      May 11, 2016


        If a noun has already been mentioned, and you want to say "it" to refer to that noun, you should use the gendered pronoun that matches.

        May 11, 2016


        Ok I understand when using these conjunctions the verb goes at the end... What happens if you are negating the verb, where would "nicht" for example go?

        May 24, 2015


        If speaking and I use es(it) instead of er, will I still be understood, but it will just sound a bit "off"?

        February 19, 2016


        You will be asked, what is old. If you have already, in the same sentence, identified the gender of a word, it will be expected that you stay true to this gender. You could say:

        Der Käse ist gut, obwohl es alt ist. Das Käsestück, meine ich.

        I hope I could be of help.

        February 19, 2016


        But why can't it be "the cheese is good although 'he' is old"? Does it work grammatically? And I think it make sense too.

        March 17, 2016


          Good question... I thought about this a bit and came up with the following series of examples to illustrate my answer:

          "I have a machine that previously made cheese. The cheese is good, although it is old."

          In that example, we are left uncertain: Although what is old? The machine or the cheese? Grammatically, without further clarification, I think it should be "the cheese", because "it" refers to the previously-mentioned noun. But it's open to ambiguity and should be reworded.

          "The farmer makes cheese. The cheese is good, although he is old."

          Here, there is no ambiguity. In English, "he" can only refer to the farmer. But what if we remove that context?

          "The cheese is good, although he is old."

          Although who is old? This just doesn't make sense, out of context.

          "The cheese is good, although it is old."

          Without anything else to distract us, the meaning is clear - we must be talking about the cheese being old.

          It is the last example that best fits the German sentence - although it might sound strange to us English-speakers to use er to refer to der Käse, this is perfectly natural to a German. They would read this German sentence and have the same feeling that we have when reading that last sentence. It would feel weird to a German to read ...obwohl es alt ist, just like it feels weird for us to read the third example.

          And so, without any further context, the meaning must be referring to the cheese being old. And so, if we are to translate that meaning accurately to English, we must translate it as "although it is old".

          April 5, 2016


          I just switched around the sentence, I said although the cheese is old it is good...would that still be understood the same way?

          May 26, 2014


          In german, yes. The two could be interchangeable, like in english. But on here, no, because that wasn't the word order it asked for. Just remember that, when you use it in german, the use of the subordinating conjunction (AKA 'verb scarer') 'obwohl' changes the word order in the second clause of the sentence. Instead of 'Der Käse ist gut, obwohl er alt ist' you have 'Obwohl er alt ist, ist der Käse gut'. I hope that's helpful and makes sense :)

          May 26, 2014


          Can it be rephrased like this: "Obwohl er alt ist, ist der Käse gut." ? I am trying to make some sense of this word order and I need to be sure.

          June 5, 2014


          I don't see a question in that wording. It looks good, see above.

          June 5, 2014


          Why is "This cheese, although old, is good." wrong? It means the exact same thing, and is grammatically right!

          August 8, 2014


          Because you have rearranged the words in the sentence. You can't expect the owl to know every combination of words. Best stick to the sequence given.

          February 3, 2015


          I think the english word "albeit" could be used as a translation of the german word "obwohl". any thoughts?

          August 29, 2015


            I disagree that it can be translated word-for-word, because "albeit" would replace "obwohl er ist" rather than just "obwohl". I don't know if there's a single word that better translates as "albeit".

            November 17, 2015


            So if the conjuction is in the depending clause, the verb comes first in the indy clause, but if the conjunction is in the independent clause, the verb goes to the end in that clause?

            January 20, 2016


              In the independent clause (Der Käse ist gut) the verb is in the second position as usual.

              In the dependent clause (obwohl er alt ist) the verb is at the end.

              Does that answer your question? There are also some good explanations at the top of this discussion page. If not, can you give another example of what you're asking about?

              January 21, 2016


              God, why are you writing "er", if you want answer "it"????

              November 22, 2015


                German works that way - if you know the gender of what you're talking about, er/sie/es can all mean "it". This happens in many languages, and is kind of why some people learning English seem to cutely apply genders to inanimate objects when talking about them.

                If I say "It is green" I would say Es ist grün, because it isn't established what I'm talking about. But if I say "That is my door. It is green" I would say Das ist meine Tür. Sie ist grün because it's now established that we're talking about the door, which has a female grammatical gender.

                While it might be tempting to just say es for everything, consider how someone would sound speaking English and using "it" to refer to your pets, relatives, etc.

                Also, this was literally the first question on the discussion page... you will go further in Duolingo if your first instinct upon getting frustrated with something is to read the comments :)

                November 22, 2015
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