"Obst, Gemüse, Eier"

Translation:Fruit, vegetables, eggs

January 21, 2013

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It's amazing how much learning another language teaches you about your native one as well... My first thought was that fruit is simply fruit... until I started reading comments and the complaints about plural fruit. Then the more I read and thought about it, English has several food items that work like this: fish, meat, fruit, cereal. Basically any word that refers to both an item that you eat multiple pieces of and is a category of food.


Great catch, VickiWonder! A partial explanation for this in English is the concept of "countable nouns" (1 chicken, 2 cows, 3 piggies) vs "mass nouns" (some chicken, some beef, some pork).

Plurals (typically or always, depending on how you think about them and how strongly you feel about it) only work on countable nouns.


Does the clear pluralisation of the egg part of the list at the end, imply that everything else in the list before it is also plural? If so is this just the way that this sentence reads or is it a general rule for lists?

  • "Obst" does already mean "fruit" in the plural sense.
  • "Gemüse" can be both plural or singular but it would need an article in singular, so here it clearly is plural

So, yes they are plural but not for the reason you suspected.


"Das Obst" is a singular term (look at the article) it has no plural even though it used like one in everyday speech.

It is a mass noun like butter, blood, wine or water, for example. A part of water is still water but a part of a table isn't a table (as a whole). The same goes for the term "Obst". A piece of "Obst" is still "Obst".

Most mass nouns don't have a plural form but in case they have those don't refer to the mass noun itself but to the brand. Take " der Wein" (wine), for example. A part of the wine you have in your glass is still wine, right? Right. But "Wein" has a plural called "die Weine". That is because in the case of "Wein" the plural doesn't refer to the general term of wine but to different brands. So if you say "die Weine" you mean different brands like white wine, red wine, Riesling etc.

Mass nouns also aren't countable. You can't say one "Obst" or fifty "Obst". If you want to make it countable you need a word to help with that: "Ein Stück Obst" (one piece of fruit) or "fünfzig Stück Obst" (fifty pieces of fruit).

"Das Gemüse" is similar to "Obst", it has a plural (die Gemüse) though, which I never heard used by anyone btw. People use "Gemüse" the same way they use "Obst" in everyday speech. I'm unsure if it is actually a mass noun. I even looked it up but couldn't find anything specific. I think it is if you want an opinon.


Thanks for the explanation


What if I want to express two (or more than two types) of fruits? Assume I am at fruit shop. I seperate out 2 mangoes, 3 bananas. Then I tell the vendor (by pointing at seperated fruits) "I want to buy these fruits." How do I say this in German?


You can say "die Früchte". Obst is the collective form of fruit, but Frucht is an individual piece.


We do not usually emphasize the "O" and the "bs(t)" in "Obst, in this way. If anything, rather the "O" than the "bs(t)".


How can I decide in this sentence, whether Gemüse refers to singular or plural form of vegetable?


From context, mostly. "Das Gemüse' can refer to a single vegetable or to vegetables collectively. 'Ein Gemüse' means 'a vegetable', so it would be singular.


Yes, KatTancock. You're absolutely right.

In India I've rarely heard "fruit" used as a plural - it's almost always "fruits". And it's not necessarily while talking about different species / varieties.

"I've bought fruits from the supermarket" - could mean multiple quantities of the same fruit, or different species / varieties.


I like the new oldtime newscaster voice


Is it obst or früchte


So, the word Egg is an exception? Because according to Duolingo grammar it suppose to be Eis, cause it finishes in vowel... , or that rule just apply for feminine... Omg, german is so confusing but I love it


First, there is no definable algorithm to create plurals in German, so words only really count as an exception when they don’t end in -e, -en, -ln, -er, or -s (there might be a few others that are less common). Second, there are many other words ending in a vowel that don’t have a plural ending in -s (in fact, I don’t know of any that do). Examples are “die Orange, die Orangen”, “die Katze, die Katzen”, “die Schule, die Schulen”. Third, what is “Duolingo grammar”? Duolingo is an app, not a language. If you mean a grammar rule taught under the tips section of a lesson, then either you misunderstood it or it is wrong. And if it is an assumption based on a few examples that you encountered while doing Duolingo, then nice try, but please don’t assume that some patterns apply to everything or even most things. Fourth, I totally agree that there are some confusing parts to it, but I also love learning German.


Well I don't know the rules all that well, but I can tell you if the plural of Ei was Eis it would be a little confusing since "Eis" means ice cream


why Gemuse is not - "vegetables" (in plural)?


I think 'Gemüse' is 'vegetables' but 'ein Gemüse' is 'a vegetable'. I am sure native speakers will correct me if I am wrong.


Do all plural words have "die" in front of them?(except "Bucher")


In the nominative and accusative cases, yes. In the adaptive it's Der and in the generative it's den.


All plural forms have die, "die" Bücher as well. Unless you use ein eine (a, an) then similarly to English there is no plural form hence Bücher without an article but as mentioned this works for any other word in plural form. Correct me if I am wrong.


what is the difference between Frucht and Obst?


Gemuse is 'vegetable' and 'vegetables'? Or is there something else for a singular version of vegetables?


Gemuese can refer to a singular vegetable or a group of vegetables. It's a mass noun, like Obst or Zucker.



How do i know these are plural or singular?


If you tap or mouse over each one, a translation appears.


I wish there was 'und' before Eier. My sound was not great even on slow and for a moment I thought there was a verb in there.


I guess Gemüse, Obst, Wasser, Brot are uncountable nouns, aren't they?


For some reason even though i typed exactly the correct answer, it still marked it as wrong. This was kind of annoying as i dont have pro so now only have 2 hearts left. Anyone know why this happened?

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