1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Haben Sie eine bessere Perso…

"Haben Sie eine bessere Person?"

Translation:Do you have a better person?

January 13, 2013



Duolingo teaching us common phrases when buying slaves. Very useful, so very useful.


Except, this sentence in an HR office when they have a spot to fill.


What's the difference?


The difference is not to be killed, as authoritarian leaders like.


No... the difference is whether you have a sense of humor or not.


That was my immediate thought. These people are discussing a hiring decision.


Giving you a lingot just for making me laugh


in fact it may be useful in some countries, not that i support that.


Honestly I thought of matchmaking or job placements.


This sentence probably wouldn't have been used as slaves were thought of as less then human, although I'm probably being to literal minded. Thanks for making me laugh by the way.


It sounds like a snarky comeback for "I have it on my person."




I find it that they've influenced by hannibal lecter...


"Do they have a better person?" Why isn't that right?


In this case, I'm pretty sure we know it's you-Sie, not they-sie, because Sie has been capitalised. If it were "Do they have...", I believe the sentence would have to start with "Haben sie".


What if someone was speaking this sentence how would they know if you meant you or they?


In Duo there is no context. You forgot your own answer when you answered them. :-}


Giving you a lingot just for your profile pic XD I love Durarara!!


Eye tracking? Lol


Haha that made me actually laugh out loud


sie - they / Sie - you


Wouldn't a formal - they- be capitalized 'Sie' ?


I'm not sure what you mean. German doesn't distinguish formal vs. informal for "they"; there's only a special formal form for "you." "Sie" meaning "they" is never capitalized (except at the beginning of a sentence, of course).


Sie in capital is the polite way of sie,referring to 1 person


"Sie" is not a polite form of they for 1 person. "Sie" with a capital letter is the polite or formal "you" which can be used for 1 or more people. "sie" can be "they" and with a different verb form it can be "she"." http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang02.htm

  • 1689

But when the clue is audio-only, like it was for me, you can not tell if the Sie is sie. I agree that "Do they have a better person" is also a correct translation from the audio version.


If you were listening to the sentence, that could be a correct interpretation since Sie and sie are distinguished by capitalization


It isn't they because 'Sie' is capitalized meaning that it is he/she/it


No Capitalized "Sie" is "you" formal form.


Because it's xenophobic,German people are very sensitive on the issue since Holocaust


I agree with farmafil. Context is everything and none is provided by Duolingo.


Have you a better person? would be an acceptable phrase to use in say a recruitment discussion although "Do you have a ..." would be more usual but it depends on the context.


The "have you..." construction is more common in British English, and the "do you have..." construction would be more commonly used by American English speakers. Both are correct English.


Dui's not that smart! lol


Duolingo introducing Human 2.0


This sentence might have been used more often in the 1500 hundreds, and i thought duo wouldn't ask this, i didn't know that he had slaves... B-)


What about the better person to be considered for a job position?


i guess it could be used either way


Nowadays we'd be even more technically formal by saying, "Have you a more qualified person?"


"Do you have anyone better?" Why is this wrong?


Sounds OK to me, or "Do you have someone better"


"More qualified" would be "more better" (sic) :-)


Still thinking that both you/they should be accepted.


No, Duo only lets you do that when the Sie is at the beginning of the sentence, when it's genuinely ambiguous.


Why is it haben if 'you' is singular? It makes me think it is 'they'... :/


"Sie" can be singular or plural. It's the formal way to address people, whether you're talking to one person or multiple people. "They" would be "Haben sie" (lowercase "sie").


Sorry we don't accept returns.


"have you a better person?" why this is wrong?


I'm from the UK, and I'd definitely say "Have you got a ...". This one really got me thinking...

You might use "Have you ..." for ultra-formal situations, but you'd never use it in everyday speech: "Have you any further questions for the witness" in a court of law, but only ever "Have you got a pen" in normal conversation, or even when being very polite, like a job interview. "Have you ..." feels Victorian.

I think, although they look the same, the informal version ("Have you got a ...") is actually using "have" in another way, to indicate the past tense. So there's this form in English;

"Have you got a better person?"
"Have you seen the movie?"
"Have you understood it?"

where "got," "seen," and "understood" are the verbs, and "have" is an auxilliary verb indicating something happening in the past. It's the same in the German perfect tense;

"Hast du deine Hausaufgaben gemacht?" - "Have you done your homework?"

So, in summary, I think "Have you a better person" is just something you would not say in spoken, modern, UK English.


No, in your examples the past is indicated by the present tense verb 'have' and the addition of the verb 'seen, in past tense' as an adjective form modifying the object noun "it". etc. Let's not confuse or confound the issue.


Not wrong but in US in nearly all situations it would be considered pretentious speech.


I don't think it is wrong! In farmafil's suggestion, I can just see someone saying this? (Possibly more likely to be UK, & "Have you got. . ." might be another way of saying it. "Do you have. . ." is more likely to be US). I don't htink it's that old-fashioned in the right context - just a bit formal!


Because in contemporary English, this is not a valid construction. In the same way that one can't say 'Drink you coffee?' or 'Make you bread?', the correct construction is either 'Do you have a better person?' or Have you got a better person?'. Don't let historical English constructions fool you!


I've heard people say "Have you any ..." before, and I was born in 1990 (not ancient history, last I checked). I think we can settle on the conclusion that talking in that way with the verb "to have" is idiomatic. That doesn't make it wrong.


"Have you got a better person?" is also wrong to duolingo, for some reason.


'Do you have a better character?# why is this wrong?


Person does not mean character in English. Character would be Charakter or Persönlichkeit.


I just did too. The same thing and it was still wrong. Not sure when you reported it, but it is April 5th today.


I don't think it is; that's what I put, too.


I put the same. Reported


Why 'bessere' and not ' beßere'?


Because the e before the ss is short. The new German spelling rules specify that the ß only comes after a long vowel.

But it's not like anyone worries if you get that wrong. I gather some people think it's classier to follow the old rules, and some people think it's classier to follow the new.


This will come in handy at the brothel


So "she" is spelt with a lower case S and "you" (formal) is spelt with a capital?


"sie" = she

"sie" = they

"Sie" = You (formal)


She, lower case 'sie' is never used with verb form like 'haben', then it would mean 'they'. Due has marked 'Do you have' wrong when written "Haben Sie" when duo means 'they' contextually and formally. So, as in speaking, formal use of "Sie" is ambiguous, as German formal is always expected, until informal is agreed upon!

This avoids the occurrence, as happens in English, of the accusatory "You!" ex: You should not" vs the formal "One should not"

Ambiguity exists in most, if not all, languages. Except perhaps math, where the parentheses clarifies! ;-)


How is bessere different from besser


Adjectives must match the noun they are describing in gender, number and case and for whether the noun is preceded by a definite article (weak declension or inflection), an indefinite article or possessive pronoun (mixed declension) or no article (strong declension, as the adjective must show everything for the noun as if it were the definite article), and also change endings for comparisons. At this site, you can click on the British flag to see explanations in English. http://www.canoo.net/inflection/gut:A

Here the noun is preceded by "eine" so it is mixed inflection or declension, the noun is singular, feminine and in the Accusative case and a comparative form is needed.


why isnt it habt Sie?


"Habt" doesn't go with "Sie"; it goes with "ihr"



Wouldn't this be "Do THEY have a better person"?


Only if it were lowercase sie. Uppercase Sie has to be formal you.


Good question to ask on my next interview if things don't go too well :)


i love how her voice curls up at the end


Correct me if I'm wrong: "bessere" here gets "e" because it works as a Attributive Adjective for Person?


Do you have a superior? Is it correct?


I don't think so, superior would mean, in my point of view, a boss. So if you work for someone, that person is your superior.

In this case, the sentence just says a "better person" (note that your superior isn't necessarily a better person than you xD)


Yes, I meant a boss, a superior in range, especially since I've seen it's an option behind the word bessere.


I don't think so, a native could confirm but I'm almost sure it can't mean that.


I think you're right. Thanks!


Can't you use the negative "Don't you have a better person?"


How do you differentiate between person, leute, and menschen?


.. im reading commentd but it still doesnt make much sense to me. "Haben sie" really sounds like "they have". And if it isnt ... Then what about "irh seid" wouldnt that be the formal you? .... Im so confused


"Haben Sie" is you-formal (capital "Sie"). "Haben sie" is they (lowercase "sie"). They would be the same when spoken, but you-formal is capitalized when written, so we know here that it's "you" and not "they."

"Habt ihr" is you-plural (informal).


Danke! I see now :)


This question was spoken to me. How am I to know if it references "you" or "they" when I cannot hear that "Sie" capitalized?


You can't tell from the sentence itself. In the absence of context (which would of course usually make it obvious), "Sie" could be either. Thus Duo will accept both translations.


Only in this case they didnt, as it's not unusual for them to mess up, just to get us talking... Me thinks :-) But, I agree Formally, as in formal speaking, capitalized 'Sie' means you or they only understood in context and often means both you and they as to a group. For lower case 'sie' always look to the verb form... Always!


Capitalized "Sie" means only "you," not "they." "Sie" meaning "they" would be lowercase. Duo should not accept "they" for the written prompt; that would be wrong.


Why isnt "person" capitalised?


In German? It is: "Haben Sie eine bessere Person?"

If you mean the English sentence, English doesn't capitalize nouns like German does.


LoL, it does if one has a smart keyboard app with a European option! This allows AI like Google to distinguish nouns more quickly! Not first word in sentence and capitalized? = Formal noun!


I'm not sure what you mean by "formal noun." Nouns don't have formality. All nouns are capitalized in German.


I believe this sentence should be translated as "Are you a better person?"


No, that's not what the sentence means at all.


Salve guerreiros...


this phrase will be useful when i buy a slave


Haben Sie einen besseren person ? Shouldn't it be that way? Since accusative mixed inflection neuter singular ? Danke


No, first thing, the "ein" doesn't change ending for neuter accusative, so the adjective ending indicates the gender, thus: "ein besseres Haus."

See: http://www.canoo.net/services/Controller?input=gut&features=(Cat+A)&dispatch=inflection&lang=en

Second thing, "Person" is feminine, genders just defy logic.


A person is a man or woman . A Neuter . How come it is considered feminine ?


Gender doesn't necessarily match the concept of the word. As another example, "Mädchen" ("girl") is neuter.


It says "female" is also a translation of person? How can we use it?


The word "die Person" in German is female. You cannot tell the actual gender of the person who is talked about from the word Person.


Right! "die Person" is not "female", but the word has the feminine gender. The person could be a male or a female.


Is "haben" not plural? Is not "sie" capitalized even when it means "she" when it is the first word of the sentence?


Yes, "haben" is used for "sie" which is plural "they", for "wir" which is plural "we" and for "Sie" which is formal "you" and can be singular or plural. So, it is not always plural. When "sie" means "she", the verb would be "hat". When "sie" is not capitalized and is followed by "haben", it means "they", but you are right if "sie" is the first word of the sentence then it will be capitalized anyway. "Sie" meaning "you" is always capitalized. When you see "Sie" capitalized and it is not the first word in the sentence then you know it means "you". If it is the first word in the sentence and is followed by "haben", then Duolingo will accept "they" as well as "you" unless there is something else in the sentence that will indicate which is meant.


isn't 'person' a male noun?


Nope. Feminine.


How can I say in German :
does she have a better person?


"Hat sie eine bessere Person?" (Note no capital letter on "sie")


This is just one of the random sentences used by Duo. The context could be something like "Do you have a better person for this task that I need doing, because this person I already have will fail abysmally at it". Hope that helped :)


Well, i guess it makes sense, otherwise how would he come up with such awful and rude phrases


I thought "Haben" indicated plural. Is it also used with formal "You"?


Yes, the konjugation of "Sie" is the same as it is for "they" (sie) or "we" (wir) which is the infinitive of the verb.

wir essen - we eat

ihr esst - you (informal) eat

sie essen - they eat

Sie essen - You (formal) eat

Also, the formal version You/Sie can be used both for one person and for more people.


What's wrong with "Do THEY have a better person"?


This question has been answered several times on this page (e.g., under lapidshay's, ItsLeAshton's, and kristina.f1's comments). Please read the other comments before posting questions.


I feel right now that the qeustion has been answered many times. Go and read some comments ;)


Isn't 'haben' used for plural pronouns? Yes the formal 'you' is 'sie' but when combined with 'haben' I would think 'sie' is plural and stands for they.


"Sie" is capitalized (and not at the start of the sentence). It can only mean the formal "you".


Hath you a better person .... why not?


Hath thou a better person? ;)


Wellaway! Methinks ye both should review your grammar forthwith. It is "Hast thou a better person?" that was correct in days of yore. However, Duolingo approveth not of such forms as are grown obsolete.


Interesting - in the English of that period, "Thou" was used exactly like Modern German "Du" - so singular, and only if on familiar terms; the formal "you" was just "You" plural whether speaking to one or more than one. Does this mean we're ahead of Germany, or just that they're more polite than us?


Well, English does come from an older form of German (it's a Germanic language), so it's not really surprising.


Wow ,this is rude. Out of context

[deactivated user]

    Ugh, "eine" translates as one, but it says "a" and I get it wrong?


    Do you have a better person?.... WTHeck does that even mean?... If person translates to "character" as well (per DL) why "personality" is an incorrect translation???? I have written "Do you have a better personality" and it was not accepted. I think it should have been.


    "Personality" =/= human being. "A better person" could be someone more qualified. Literally a different human. In English, "character" can be used to mean either a person ("a character in that show") or a person's demeanor ("that upbeat guy has a good character"). In the second example, "character" is describing an abstract noun. Substituting "personality" in makes sense. In the first, it does not.

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