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  5. "Is she her friend?"

"Is she her friend?"

Translation:Ist sie ihre Freundin?

January 27, 2013



Does "Ist sie ihre Freund?" have a different meaning?


"Ist sie ihre Freund?" is grammatically wrong. "Freund" is a masculine noun. If you want to use "Freund" instead of "Freundin", you have to use a masculine possessive article: "Ist sie ihr Freund?". However, since we're talking about a girl ("she"), using the word "Freundin" (female friend) would be better.


Oh, right, thank you! I thought "Freund" was exclusively for a friend, regardless the gender, and "Freundin" denoting the girlfriend status.

I know the reply is 3 years old but in case sm1 else with knowledge checks this, how would one say "Boyfriend"?


Still Freund! My understanding is that context is meant to help distinguish between just a friend or something more, though I'm no native speaker.

In the same way, "Freundin" can mean friend and girlfriend. I guess kind of like how "Mann" and "Frau" can be man/ husband and woman/ wife respectively


I wrote "Ist sie ihr Freund?" and Duo accepted it. But this is wrong because friend is referred to as "she". So, is it a mistake of Duo? Or is there a deeper meaning and usage of word "Freund"?


Unfortunately this is one of the cases where knowledge of the nature of the objects in the sentence only confuses and should be ignored.

Regardless of the fact that we know the Freund is a she, use of 'Freund' instead of 'Freundin' means the article has to match the fact that Freund is a masculine noun.

Consider the following lyric from the Rammstein song 'Sonne':

"Sie ist der hellste Stern von allen."

"She is the brightest star of all."

The object is a she, but the noun is Stern, which is a masculine noun, so the article must be 'der'. It doesn't matter if 'she' is a bus, a plane, a star, a cheesecake, or a friend - the article must match the noun.


I understand what you're saying about the gender of the article matching its object, but since we're specifically talking about "she", should that necessitate using "ihre Freundin" or would "ihr Freund" still be acceptable as a general term?


As far as I'm aware, 'Freundin', unlike other female mutations of nouns such as 'Lehrerin', 'Kanzlerin', etc., doesn't just mean a friend who is female, instead meaning specifically 'girlfriend'. I've quizzed a few Germans on this and they struggle to explain it, only saying that if you mean a friend who is female you use 'eine Freundin von mir' but that with Freund the opposite is true: 'Freund' by default is a friend, and to specify a boyfriend you qualify it with, for example 'fest' as the adjective, or with a possessive such as 'mein'. In either case, qualifying with 'fest' or a possessive indicates a boyfriend/girlfriend, while using 'ein(e) ... von mir' indicates just a friend.


So perhaps Duo is wrong to use "Sie ist ihre Freundin" for "She is her friend"? Maybe it's a dialect thing?


Good point. Now I must go and talk to some Germans about this and see if they can shine some light on it.


I think it's a mistake, unless you consider it in this context: "Q: Ist sie ihr Freund? A: Nein, sie ist ihre Freundin."


Duo does not use friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, Freund and Freundin consequently...:-(


"Ihre Freundin ist sie?" Isn't this another acceptable format for the question?

Like "Does she have a cat?" can be both "Hat sie eine Katze?" or "Sie hat eine Katze?" or "Eine Katze hat sie?"


The word order "Eine Katze hat sie?" is not possible for a question, only for a statement.


shouldn't it be ist sie ihre freundin? or else the subject would have changed to masculine all of the sudden


Should it not be the dative case 'ihrer' rather than 'ihre'? Thx.


Nope, when using the verb "ist", you use nominative case for both subject and object.


"sie" means "hers" too, so why isn't "ist sie sie freundin" acceptable?


When does 'sie' mean 'hers'? I don't think that's right.

If you were to say 'Is it hers?', you'd have to say 'Ist es ihres?'. You might colloquially be able to get away with 'Ist es ihrs?' but I'm not certain on that.

Regardless, 'hers' is not correct for this sentence; only 'her', which as an adjective is always 'ihrer/ihre/ihres/etc'.

Her as the direct object is 'sie', the same as the subject. In this sentence, there is only the subject, twice: once as 'she' (sie) and once as 'her friend' (ihre Freundin). In the same way, the sentence 'Er ist der Held' (He is the hero) has the subject twice: once as 'er' and once as 'der Held', which is why the case for hero is nominative: 'der Held' and not 'den Held'.


thanks, I was confused with the Accusatives, there it works: "Ich liebe sie" (I love her). Maybe for a sentence like "Is she a friend of her?" it would work - "ist sie eine freund von sie?", right?


Ah, yes. In 'Ich liebe sie', 'sie' is the direct object (accusative), whereas in this sentence we're looking for 'ihr' because we need the possessive pronoun (aka the determiner) to describe the friend.

'Ist sie eine Freund von sie' must be either 'Ist sie ein Freund von ihr' or 'Ist sie eine Freundin von ihr'. 'von' is a dative preposition, so we have to shift the accusative 'sie' into the dative 'ihr'. You can pick whichever you like between Freund and Freundin but the gender of the article must match the gender of the noun: ein Freund (m) or eine Freundin (f).

The dative/accusative status of prepositions can be referenced here: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/German/Grammar/Prepositions_and_Postpositions


Whats the difference between girlfriend and a female friend in German? Does Freundin both mean a female romantic partner and just a female friend? How do you differentiate between the 2?

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