"He is eating."

Translation:Er isst.

February 23, 2013



How do I know to omit 'ist' ?

May 25, 2013


I had this same problem, I guess that "He is eating" and "He eats" are the same so you just go from there.

June 2, 2013


German has no present progressive tense (-ing endings). So "er isst" is both "he eats" or "he is eating," depending on context.

June 12, 2013


if i just want to emphasize "he is eating"?

August 17, 2013


It all means the same thing, there is no emphasis needed. Think like a native tongue, my friend. That might help.

November 26, 2013



January 22, 2014


If you want to make emphasize you can say "Er isst gerade." (= He is eating [now].)

January 5, 2014


Reply to the question below from StefanoV1:

First things first: The words "jetzt" and "gerade" are used as adverbs in a sentence like "Er isst gerade." or "Er isst jetzt." (They describe the word "essen".)

The word "gerade" (adverb) has a few other meanings aside from being synonymous with "jetzt". This is the list of the Duden:

  • right now, at the moment (Er telefoniert gerade. - He is on the phone right now.)
  • [coll.] a bit (Kannst du mir gerade helfen? - Can you lend me a hand here?/ lit. = Can you help me a bit?)
  • directly (Er wohnt gerade um die Ecke. - He lives just around the corner.)
  • just barely (Er war kam gerade noch rechtzeitig. - He just barely arrived in time.)

But if you use it as an adjective it means things like straight (a straight line - eine gerade Linie) and even (an even number - eine gerade Zahl).

There are also a number of uses for gerade as a particle, but all of them are colloquial.

June 6, 2014


It is the second time I see this adjective ("gerade"=now). I didn't know it before; but I know "jetz" (=now). Which is the difference between the two words? Or are they simply sinonimous?

June 5, 2014


Danke !

June 19, 2017



June 7, 2014


Thank you

January 12, 2019


Thank you!! helps!

June 20, 2014


"Er ißt." is also correct.

February 15, 2014


"Er ißt" was the correct spelling before the German orthography reform of 1996. This spelling is now dated and according to the new spelling rules, "Er isst" is the correct form today.

February 15, 2014


Yes, bur it's not really usually in use. ß is actually ss. isst=ißt

August 13, 2014


The letter "ß" is still used in all German-speaking countries apart from Switzerland and Liechtenstein. According to the spelling rules in e.g. Germany and Austria, you can use an "ss" instead of an "ß" if you are abroad and have absolutely no access to this special character, but that is a makeshift solution for emergencies and not the way things are normally done.

The only thing that has changed since the spelling reform is when the "ß" is used. It's no longer used after short vowels, so it's "er isst" (he eats) and "ich muss" (I must) now, for example. There are still numerous other words that contain an "ß", e.g. "Straße" (street), "Fußball" (football/soccer) or "Gruß" (greeting).

August 13, 2014


Makes sense

September 20, 2014


docent this mean 'he eats' ?

February 13, 2014


"Er isst" means both "He is eating" and "He eats". Standard German doesn't distinguish between the simple and the progressive aspects - there is just one form for both. See also the comments above.

February 13, 2014


Not that i am confused. I understand but when dou you use ist?

April 22, 2019


How do I know when to use "der" and when I can omit it? The software didn't say I was wrong for using "der", but I'd still like to know

February 23, 2013


Normally, he = er and she = sie. In contrast to some other languages like Italian or Spanish, personal pronouns like "he", "she" or "I" can normally not be omitted, except in colloquial speech when the context is clear, e.g. "I had a long day. Got up, took a shower, spent 12 hours reading in the library, went home, fell asleep at once."

In colloquial speech, you can also sometimes use "der" instead of "er" and "die" instead of "sie": "Was macht Herr Meier? - Der liest." (What is Mr Meier doing? - He is reading.). However, this can sound a bit impolite.

February 23, 2013


I got a feeling that you'll become a moderator soon :)

September 20, 2014


what is the difference of isst and esse?

March 17, 2014


"Isst" is used with "he/she/it", e.g. "er isst" (he eats/he is eating)

"Esse" is used with "I": "ich esse" (I eat/I am eating)

March 17, 2014


ahhh thank you!!

July 20, 2014


Esse and isst have me confused i thought esse was for "ing" words and isst was for things like "Isst Junge"

April 3, 2014


Standard German doesn't distinguish between the simple and the progressive aspects - there is just one form for both. So depending on the context, "er isst" can be translated either as "he eats" or as "he is eating.

Which form of the verb you have to use depends on which person you're talking about.

essen (to eat)

ich esse (I eat; I am eating)

du isst (you [singular familiar] eat; you [singular familiar] are eating)

er/sie/es isst (he/she/it eats; he/she/it is eating)

wir essen (we eat; we are eating)

ihr esst (you [plural familiar] eat; you [plural familiar] are eating)

sie/Sie essen (they/you [singular and plural formal] eat; they/you [singular and plural formal] are eating]

April 3, 2014


Why it's not er esse?

April 6, 2014


Because the form of the verb depends on the person (I, you, he/she/it, etc.) who is doing something. It's ich esse (I eat/I am eating), but er isst (he eats/he is eating). See also my two posts immediately above yours.

PS: Having said that, the form "er esse" exists. It's the so-called subjunctive I (Konjunktiv I) used in reported speech in formal writing. "Peter sagt, er esse" (Peter says he eats/is eating). But I don't think you need to worry about the subjunctive at the moment.

April 6, 2014


how come the verb is essen and the conjugation is isst

April 8, 2014


It's a so-called strong verb, i.e. it's irregular. Strong verbs have a vowel shift in the past tense and sometimes also in the past participle. Strong verbs exist both in English and in German, e.g.

I eat - I ate - I have eaten (ich esse-ich -ich habe gegessen)

I sing - I sang - I have sung (ich singe-ich sang-ich habe gesungen)

In addition, in German some strong verbs such as "essen" also have a vowel shift in the present tense that affects the 2nd (du) and 3rd (er/sie/es) person singular: ich esse, du isst, er/sie/es isst, wir essen, ihr esst, sie/Sie essen. The vowel shifts of strong verbs unfortunately have to be learnt by heart. English and German verbs do not always have the same vowel shifts.

PS: The man who coined the term "strong verb" was one of the Grimm brothers, BTW. They are famous for their collection of fairy tales including such stories as "Little Red Riding Hood", "Rapunzel" or "Hänsel and Gretel".

April 8, 2014


Hey, this question has nothing to do with this exercice but I wanted to ask: What is the correct form 'Tschüß' or 'Tschüss'?

July 23, 2014


"Tschüs" and "Tschüss" are currently both considered correct :)

August 5, 2014


Wow, I see you learn many languages :) And thanks.♥

September 6, 2014


so this may sound like a dumb questions but when do you use esse?

September 2, 2014


There are no dumb questions :).

You use "esse" with "ich" (= I):

ich esse = I eat/I am eating

But with "er/sie/es" (= he/she/it), you use "isst":

er isst = he eats/he is eating.

See also my previous comment above.

September 2, 2014


Thank you :)

September 4, 2014


Why not he esst instead if Er isst

September 16, 2018


Esse,esst,isst or essen. I am really struggling between these. Any one with some advice please

September 30, 2018


I did not see a question about the change of e to i in conjugating essen. Can someone elaborate or point me somewhere?

November 1, 2018
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.