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"It is a man."

Translation:Es ist ein Mann.

January 24, 2013

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nel91

Can someone explain to me why it's not "einen"? I thought "Es" would be the subject, not "Mann".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

No,"Mann" is the subject. In german there is no fixed sentence structure going SPO.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpell

Thank you. (i had the same question as Nel91) Could you tell me why 'It' can't be the subject. I translated 'It is a man' into 'Es ist einen Mann.' You say that there is no fixed sentence structure, but then why can't Es be the subject? OR, is there something obvious about this sentence that makes Mann the subject? (I'm as new as you can be to German--so feel free to explain 'the obvious.') :)

EDIT: I just read bellow to Levi's comment. The state of being a man describes 'it' and doesn't take action from it. Is that why 'it' (es) isn't the subject? Just repeating what I wrote, I'm confusing the nominative with being the subject. Any clarification would be helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaptUnderpants

The problem your construction is that you used the accusative form where it is not appropriate. The verb "to be" is reflexive, so it takes the nominative case on both sides. You want "ein Mann".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpell

So you're saying that 'sien' is reflexive, and whenever I use the verb 'sein' both the subject and the object take the nominative indefinite articles?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaptUnderpants

More than that. Because that verb is reflexive, it takes no object. In a sense, both sides are subject. You should be able to reverse the order and still made sense. Thus, all adjectives, articles, etc. associated with nouns bridged by "to be" take the gender-matched nominative form.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissSpell

thanks for your help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yahav.mena

what do u mean by SPO?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

SPO is short for Subject Predicate Object. In English sentences are structured in this way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marieke1974

When it is the direct object in the sentence, you use the 4th case, for masculin "den" or "einen". "Es" is followed by "ist" and also not put in the 4th case, but in the first. I hope it is clear, because English is not my native language :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rajwardhan

Man is a Masculine and word Mann is starting with a,e,i,o,u I.e. like apple, so we must use "ein" for "a" singular Masculine noun.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ctbillings1

When using the verb sein, the case is always nominative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ianmcc1234

Difference between Es and Er?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

Es is neutral, whereas Er is masculin.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ccollalto

Es = it / Er = he


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SchnapsHexe

Shouldn't "It" in this case follow the gender of the man? "Er ist ein Mann"? I have seen the pronoun match in other sentences, but since there's no comparison to English, I'm not sure of the rule.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nel91

"Er ist ein Mann" would be "He is a man". "It is a man" doesn't really make much sense but I think it is a correct sentence in English and probably happens the same in Deutsch.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

You're right, the sentence "It is a man" doesn't really make sense in german. The only translation I could imagine would be "Das ist ein Mann". But that would be in english "this is a man". So even your translation "Er ist ein Mann" does actually belong to the sentence "he is a man".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marieke1974

I thought "das"would also suffice. I hear and read it all the time. Odd...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

This is because "das" is the correct translation of "it". But then this translation does not make any sense in this context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marieke1974

Perhaps one should not read this without a context. If you say: "Ich hörte etwas da draussen, was ist das?" and someone replies: "Das ist ein Mann" or "Es ist ein Mann" it would make sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flaviodenovaro

Er ist ein Mann it is also correct. It is not einen because it is nominative, masculin nominative you must use ein.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xpresso

"Er ist einen Mann", that isn´t right? But, if Mann is masculine and gets the action. I don´t get it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2559

@Xpresso : This is nominative, not accusative. There is no action, the man simply is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xpresso

I see. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ccollalto

This is clearly only an exercise of direct translation and a example of nominative/nominative case use. For proper understanding I would recommend not to try to put every phrase here in a specific context whatsoever. Just translate the phrase. Not every sentence in Duolingo would make sense in casual daily conversation at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pkiddy18

I thought since Mann is Der Mann that a man would be einen Mann. Now I'm confused, why isn't it einen Mann? Can someone explain this to me in simple terms?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2559

@pkiddy18 : Think of it this way: It is a man. It = man. When the "equal sign" is used then it means the nominative case is used, hence the ein for the masculine (der). Hope this helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Morris8

There is a simple rule in English and in German: "The verb 'to be' never takes an object". In other words, "I am / you are/ he, she, it is / we are / you are / they are" and "ich bin / du bist / er, sie, es ist / wir sind / ihr seid / sie sind" are always followed by a nominative case (ein Mann) and never followed by an accusative case (einen Mann). Don't ask why. That's just how it is! Languages are not always logical!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zhanglingxiao

Why it is"ein" not "einen"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2559

@zhanglingxiao : See my reply to 'pkiddy18'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zhanglingxiao

I got it, thank you~


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rationaloptimist

Do you get in trouble if you peek?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ywxiege

下面的讨论很有用(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RayRabil

Totally confused. In the sentence, man is accusative and in the pre-test material, the chart states that eine is used for accusative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

Eine is the accusative form for a female noun. man is male.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrRo

Could someone explain why Das ist ein Mann is incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ladybird

It's not wrong, just unusual. Personally, I think it should even be marked as correct...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrRo

Thank you :)

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