https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Er es and Sie.

I have a question. So Er is normally used as a synonym of he, es-it and sie-her. However I've noticed in my studies that often in inanimate objects that have no gender are sometimes called er or sie. Is this something I just have to learn like each words die, der and das? Does it have something to do with the 'the' of the work? eg. der Aunzug would be Er?

Plz explain.

8/2/2017, 11:03:11 PM

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MarcelHess
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er = he sie = she (not her, her would be "ihr" in German) es = it

Der, Die, Das are the three definite articles (like "the" in English, "la" and "le" in French and so on).

If I understood your question correctly you wanted to know why you can refer to an inanimated object with "no gender" as Er, Sie or Es, right?

First of all, EVERY noun has a specific grammatical gender.

Der Anzug (m) - the suit Die Arbeit (f) - the work Das Kleid (n) - the dress

We don't often refer to objects as er, sie, es, that was the reason why I had to think a really long time to find a proper example, but I've found one.

Example:

Q:"Wie war dein Tag?" (how was your day) A:"Er war furchtbar" (it was terrible)

But even in that situation a native speaker would just say "Furchtbar" not "Er war furchtbar"

For example :

Wo ist der Anzug? (Where's the suit)

You can answer with :

Der Anzug ist im Schrank. (The suit is in the closet)

Or

Der ist im Schrank

You can also say:

Er ist im Schrank

But be aware that it is clear what you're talking about, because everybody would think there is a person in the closet.

If you want to use : Der ist im Schrank. Die ist schön.

Etc.

Be aware that the object you're referring to has already been mentioned in some way within the conversation before

8/3/2017, 12:51:36 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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Im not sure if I am understanding your question but it would take the gender of the object. Der Aunzug would be er because it is masculine, die Tür would be Sie and Das essen would be es. It is the same for animate objects

8/2/2017, 11:52:09 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

OK. yes you did understand me. Sorry if it was a bit confusing but that's very helpful. Does this count for animals aswell? Animals have genders unlike doors or windows. So if you knew a cat was a boy would you say Er läuft or would you say sie läuft because die-sie?

8/3/2017, 12:47:31 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcelHess
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Yes and no, It has to be clear what you're talking about, if it is clear then you can say "Er läuft /im Garten/im Haus etc." if we talk about a male cat (der Kater)

If we talk about a female dog (die Hündin) it would be "Sie läuft...."

8/3/2017, 12:57:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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The idea of gendered nouns have nothing to do with gender. Das Mädchen means girl yet is netur not feminine. So with animals no matter what the gender of an animal is it will always take the grammatical gender, for example my female dog will still be Er because it is Der Hund. So to answer your question it would be sie lauft

8/3/2017, 12:52:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Hannibal-Barkas
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Das Mädchen is neuter because it is a diminutive (...chen, for little girl). Their gender is neuter

8/3/2017, 6:13:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiunnn
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The point was that grammatical gender is not related to actual gender, a door is not die because it is a feminine object and not every feminine seeming thing is die

8/3/2017, 8:34:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/InuzukaShino
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This is one of the most confusing topics in learning German and roman languages. Additionally the grammatical gender differs between the languages, i. e. cat is in German female but in Spanish male, the sun is in German female and in Spanish male and so on. There is no rule like in Polish to recognize the grammatical gender.

Ah! A 'Mädchen' may still not be a woman yet, but she is feminine!

8/4/2017, 6:44:53 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

So for a mädchen you would never say. ''Es läuft''? You would say ''Sie läuft''? Is that what you mean and said?

8/5/2017, 11:20:27 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/InuzukaShino
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@cluney2
Hmm, good question.

It depends on the situation. Gramatically correct is the use of 'es' here. But personally I wouldn't address a girl with 'es', it feels a bit weird for me. Maybe that's why I don't like this word (Mädchen) and I try to not use it. Possible is, using something like her name or 'die Kleine' or just 'sie' instead.

But this is interesting: In case of a baby, I would rather say 'Es läuft." regardless if it is male or female.

Same for 'Kind', because we use this word for both: boys and girls.

8/7/2017, 10:17:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Ok. I have run into a lot of this. I'm actually doing another course on German not in Duolingo and I'm halfway through that and now trying to communicate with Germans and Austrians more. Thanks for the help. :D

8/7/2017, 10:43:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

thankyou that makes alot of sense. This whole question arose when in my german someone asked if The suit fitted and they asked 'passt er?' The guy buying the suit said 'Ja, er passt.

8/3/2017, 1:25:27 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcelHess
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Yes in a situation like that you can use it :)

8/3/2017, 1:35:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/JaDeutsche
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"es" always translates to it. It can be used for masculine, neuter, or feminine nouns. However, you can also use "er" for masculine nouns and "sie" for feminine nouns.

8/3/2017, 1:40:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

So what your telling me is I could say. (excuse me if I get my Deutsch grammar a bit wrong) ''Es ist geschlossen'' talking about a door. Die Tür. However I could also say ''Sie ist geschlossen''. Is that what you mean when you say that?

8/4/2017, 1:29:31 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/InuzukaShino
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I think, what JaDeutsche wrote need some further explanations.

Taking your example, if you talk about the door itself, we would say: 'Sie ist geschlossen.', because 'Tür' is female in German.

But talking about a shop or business or something else in general, we would rather say: 'Es ist geschlossen.' (or here in the region: 'Es ist zu.')

In case the business itself is neuter (das Einkaufszentrum, das Geschäft, das Büro, das Amt...), there is no difference between the general expression and the specific one.

But in case the designations are m/f (der Laden, der Bäcker, die Bäckerei, der Friseur, die Pommes-Bude...), you can choose to say it in general or specific using m/f. Another possibility is to use the business designation, i. e. 'Der Friseur ist geschlossen.' (or here in the region: 'Der Friseur hat/ist zu.')

It is a question of the use of language ('Sprachgefühl') when we say something in general or when we say something more specifically using the grammatical genders.

8/4/2017, 5:52:20 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcelHess
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You can also say "Es hat geschlossen", "Das Geschäft hat geschlossen" etc.

8/4/2017, 7:35:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
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Read Mark Twain's Tale of The Fishwife and Its Sad Fate.

http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2005/03/tale_of_the_fis.html

In this tale Twain is pointing out how the use of pronouns in a German way would sound to English listeners or readers.

8/12/2017, 5:06:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Interesting. It sounds like a Bible prophecy or like some obscure story where everyone and everything has a gender. Although as you say it might sound just fine if it was said in German.

8/12/2017, 9:58:02 PM
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