"Is she drinking?"
I'm having a hard time telling when to use a capitalized "Sie" for "she". Because i know "sie" can also be used for "they". But isn't one form supposed to be capitalized at all times or something?
The polite form for "you" is always capitalised: Sie. (Including its various case forms and the associated possessives for "your".)
The words "she" and "they" are lowercase sie. (Unless they come at the beginning of a sentence, since the first word of a sentence is always capitalised.)
This means that a sentence such as Ich liebe sie. is ambiguous -- it could mean "I love her" or "I love them".
If sie is the subject, though, you can tell the difference between "she" and "they" because of the verb ending -- here, for example, trinkt can only be for "she", not for "they": that would be Trinken sie?.
Correct, it wouldn't be -- it would be Ich liebe sie with the verb form liebe to match the subject ich.
No because "sie" is "she" no?
So to say Ich lieben sie would surely translate as I love she?
sie is both the nominative (subject) and the accusative (direct object) form, so it can be both “sie” or “her”. It can also mean “they” (as a subject) or “them” (as a direct object in accusative case).
In “Ich liebe sie” we know that sie can only be the object because ich is definitly nominative, so that has to be the subject. But whether it’s her or them depends on the context.
so sie can mean she, but also as you said it can mean they But there are two "types" of "they sie" One-which you capitalised you use when you are talking to someone older than you- it's a respect form Other one is not capitalised And yeah sometimes it gets kind of hard to recognise them but to recognise them you need to know the meaning of other words in the sentence
Because yes–no questions start with the verb.
(English does this, too! We say "Is she drinking?" with the verb first and not usually "She is drinking?" with the word order of statement.)
that would be she drinks, I guess, I find it odd that it is drink she
Can anyone explain why "es sie trinkt?" is not the right translation for the above
Perhaps it would be easier to explain if you said why you think it is correct.
Es = it. That's not even in the English sentence.
sie = she. So far so good.
trinkt = drinks / is drinking
Yes-no questions in German, as in English, start with a verb.
But what about "Ist sie trinkt?" for "Is she drinking?" vs "Trinkt sie?"? Wouldn't that be "she drinks?"?
Ist sie trinkt makes no sense in German.
Trinkt sie? (German present tense) can be translated as either "Is she drinking?" (English present continuous tense) or "Does she drink?" (English present simple tense) -- German does not make this distinction.
Try figuring out what exactly you are having issues with by starting from the very beginning and advancing step by step. The minute you find something you can't seem to understand, ask a specific question on the corresponding forum and someone should respond with an explanation. Note that it is also very important to hover over the words in each question, especially if you are a beginner. This way, you can easily begin understanding each word and the appropriate grammar. Sometimes when learning a new language, one must step back from the obstacle and even backtrack.
German is a difficult language, you can ask me if you have recurring questions :)
Have we even learned about sentence structure yet? Because I don't think I have yet I get this question...
Basically if you want to form a question that requires “yes” or “no” as an answer, you move the verb to the beginning (if the verb consists of multiple parts, then move only the inflected part). You do this regardless of the verb; you never need to worry about whether or not to add in “do” like you have to in English.
Have you checked the light bulb icons on mobile and whatever the equivalent is on pc? There are explanations for each lesson
whatever the equivalent is on pc?
Also a lightbulb:
Note that the lightbulb is (unfortunately!) not available to all mobile users -- some have it, some don't.
Thanks, I was only using the app and haven't used browser Duolingo for literal years, so I wasn't sure if it looked the same.
But now I'm just confused as to why some users wouldn't have those text explanations available. No wonder they're getting so confused about word order or continous tenses...
But now I'm just confused as to why some users wouldn't have those text explanations available.
I have no idea what guided that decision, either.
I heard a rumour once that they thought the tips and notes (which often use tables) wouldn't format well or look good on smaller screens. No idea whether that influenced the decision or not.
No wonder they're getting so confused about word order or continous tenses...
And instead of having the answer in one place in the tips and notes, there are questions scattered over dozens of sentence discussions, with more or less correct answers....
I wish that those users who do not have access to the tips and notes would also be denied access to the sentence discussions. (Like with the iOS app, at least when I used it.)
Because "Is she drinks?" makes no sense.
The present tense (sie) trinkt can be translated into English either as "(she) drinks" or "(she) is drinking".
German does not have a continuous aspect formed with "to be" like English does. Trying to put "to be" into a sentence like that will just produce nonsense in German -- just like you can say "She drinks milk every day" but you can't say "She is drinks milk right now" with an "is" in there -- "is drinks" doesn't work and neither does ist trinkt.
Just use the simple present tense in German, even for things that are happening right now.
How do you keep up with remembering which to use and which not to :( im understanding what your saying about not disecting it word for word but i just dont know how to keep track, or even know which to use so that you dont sound like utter nonsense in front of a german person :(
- Sie trinkt. = She is drinking. (Statement.)
- Trinkt sie? = Is she drinking? (Question.)
As in English, the verb comes first in the question.
(Though in English questions, the verb that comes at the beginning is often some form of the helping verb do which German does not need.)
I guess the problem is, English has
She drinks! (Statement)
She drinks? (Question) Verb does not come first.
"She drinks?" is not neutral question word order, though.
It's what I call a "surprise/confirmation" question, where you heard something surprising and you want to confirm that you heard it correctly. It's a rather specialised type of question.
In German, Sie trinkt? (with statement word order but question intonation) can be a similar surprise/confirmation question.
Sie trinkt. can mean either "She drinks" (habitually, regularly) or "She is drinking" (right now).
Because you can't translate word for word -- you have to translate the meaning and the grammar.
"is" in this sentence is part of "is drinking" which is the present continuous tense in English.
German doesn't have a present continuous tense so you have to map that to the German present tense, so the two-word phrase "is drinking" turns into the one word trinkt.
Can anyone tell me why you say Trinkt sie versus ist sie Trinkt....like Drinks she dosent sound right versus is she drinking?
You cannot expect to exact word for word translations to turn out correct because even beween which are as closely related as English and German, there are significant grammar differences.
In this case the problem is that German doesn’t have a progressive form (an equivalent to the English “to be …ing”). We just use normal present text and decide from context.
And the reason why “*drinks she” doesn’t sound right to you in English is because (modern) English can only pull a small subset of verbs to the front to make a question (including “to be” and ”to have”). For all others you need to add a dummy “to do”: “do you drink”. German didn’t develop such a restriction; you simply pull the conjugated verb to the front, regardless of what type of verb it is.
German verb conjugation works differently than English and German also has fewer tenses than English.
German does not have continuous tenses. You are fully dependent on context to know the meaning. If it's in the presence, you use the present tense. "Sie trinkt." means both "She drinks." and "She is drinking".
Verb endings. We have trink-en, where trink is the root (simplified), -en is the ending. German verb endings for singular are -e (Ich trink-e), -st (du trink-st), -t (es/sie/es trink-t).
German word order has very strict rules. For a statement, it's subject-verb-object. Sie trinkt Wasser. In some cases, it can be object-verb-subject when you're putting emphasis on the object, such as "Wasser trinkt sie nicht" ("She does not drink water", emphasis on water, so she probably prefers something else. You cannot always do this though.) For now, let's stick to SVO for declarative sentences - Sie trinkt Wasser. For questions, however, it is verb-subject-object. Same as in English, but German needs no auxiliary verb for the present tense. In English, the question made from "She drinks." would be "DOES she drink?" where "does" is an auxiliary verb. German doesn't need that, so the question is simply "Trinkt sie?" Since German has no continuous tense, both "Sie ist trinkt" and "Ist sie trinkt?" are grammatically incorrect and make no sense in German.
Capitalization. German capitalizes nouns, beginnings of sentences and the formal you (Sie, used as plural). So even if German did have a continuous tense, it could not be "ist sie Trinkt", it'd be "Ist sie trinkt?". But since German does NOT have continous tenses, let's not go there.
Is that understandable now?
For questions, however, it is verb-subject-object.
True for yes–no questions, but not for WH questions, which have the verb in the second position and the WH word or phrase at the beginning. (As in English.)
So I never covered questions in the basics. Not sure why it's showing up in a strengthen exercise
Duolingo adds in extra sentences in the strengthening exercises. Repeating exactly the same sentences isn't the only way to strengthen your language skills.
Yes, but his confusion was that it added a whole new concept (the different ordering of question sentences) that isn't covered in the lower level basics at all; it's brand new and not covered in the basic notes.
Because "Is she drinks?" makes no sense in either language.
trinkt does not mean "drinking".
German does not have a continuous aspect formed with the verb "to be".
So you can't translate "Is she drinking" word for word into German. You also have to translate the English grammar into German grammar.
When translating a sentence from German to English for example, the grammar would not be correct in English. This requires yet another "translation" to allow the meaning of the sentence to make sense in English. This is often the case in languages that have different rules where grammar is concerned, like German.
For example, "Trinkt sie?" means "Is she drinking?" Directly translated, you would have "drinking she?" However, you must account for the grammar and "translate" it to understandable English, which would be "Is she drinking." In order to comprehend this, you must pay close attention to the grammar rules.
Translating isn't an exercise that simply involves replacing words. German has a different grammar from English and so translation will often involve doing things with grammar as well.
"is" isn't a full verb with a meaning of its own in this sentence; it's a helping verb used to make the present continuous tense of "drink", as in "is drinking".
German doesn't have a continuous aspect in its verbs; the equivalent of the English present continuous and the English present simple is usually simply the present tense in German.
So you will translate the present continuous form "is drinking" of the verb "to drink" into the equivalent German present form trinkt of trinken.
Because "is she drink?" makes no sense in either language.
Also, German doesn't have a continuous aspect formed with "to be" -- so English present continuous "she is drinking" and English present simple "she drinks" (for repeated actions) both translate to the German present tense sie trinkt.
You can't add ist to that and expect it to make any sense.
Also, trinke is the verb form for ich (I) -- ich trinke "I drink; I am drinking". You can't use it for sie. (At least not in a simple sentence like this one.)
I appreciate that you keep reiterating the same response each time this question pops up. And that it's not a copy paste response (unless i missed that it is lol).
You are really trying, keep it up. I wish I could have a person like you to help me out in my German.
This is explained in the tips and notes for the very first lesson - https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-1 . See the section "No continuous aspect", please.
Please always read the tips and notes before starting a new unit. Note that the tips and notes are currently only available on the website, not in the mobile apps, so the mobile apps are not very good for learning new material.
Im sorry...how would I know this at this point in the lesson? I am completely new to the language and they never showed me the word sie and how to use it. :(
In every question where you are given a sentence in German, you can hover over each word to see the meanings. It is more than likely you already encountered the word, but never understood the meaning and correct grammar associated with the word. Be sure to pay close attention to every question and refer to the forums if you have any questions.
You are not always expected to know the answers, but you may find that you do if you go with your first instinct.
It's not like anyone cares how many times you fail in order to succeed!
English does this, too, with some verbs -- e.g. "He can swim." (statement) versus "Can he swim?" (question).
With most verbs, English needs "do" to form a question (e.g. "He swims." versus "Does he swim?"), but German simply puts the verb first for all verbs, not just "to be" or modal verbs such as "can".
Yes–no questions start with a verb.
Statements have the verb in the second position of the sentence.
Why isn't it "ist sie trinkt? " Sorry I'm just like really confused aren't both ways saying the same thing?
Think about it this way, the verb trinken translates to 'is drinking' or 'drinks' therefore, you do not use the word ist because the verb already includes that! :)
I see... so it is grammatically correct then in the German form. Ill be sure to keep that in mind, th thought hadn't occured to me
It depends on the subject. In English you only add a suffix if the subject is a third person (a “he/she/it”). In German there are suffixes for all six grammatical persons:
- ich trink-e
- du trink-st
- er/sie/es trink-t
- wir trink-en
- ihr trink-t
- sie trink-en
Do these endings hold good for all verbs, please. I note that Sie is not on the list but ihr is.
These are the present tense endings for almost all verbs – with certain caveats:
- If the stem ends in -t-, an e is inserted before the endings that don’t already have one. For example arbeiten “to work”: du arbeitest, ihr arbeitet etc. (because *arbeitt would be difficult to pronounce)
- Some verbs also feature a small stem change (typically a vowel change) in the second and third person singular (the du and er/sie/es forms), e.g. geben “to give”: ich geb-e, du gib-st, er/sie/es gib-t, wir geb-en…
- A couple of verbs show greater irregularities. These are only a handful, but they tend to be rather common, most importantly sein and the modals (“want, must, can…”), both of which tend to be wacky in many Indo-European languages (in English for example, to be is the only verb with three different present and two past forms, while modals don’t take the third person -s (“*he cans”) and don’t have an infinitive (“*to can”)).
Right, fooled by the long /i:/… (in my defense, Rilke wrote “giebt” as well :D )
Thanks for notifying; I corrected the blunder.
Thank you for explaining the verb endings. It is very much appreciated. The English grammar part is very helpful, too. I was in the Government's 'Freedom of expression instead of English grammar' experiment. We all ended up loving poetry but it was not so great for learning languages, etc!
It depends on the subject. In English, you have to add an “-s” whenever the subject is a third person singular (“he/she/it”). In German there is an ending for every grammatical person:
- ich trink-e
- du trink-st
- er/sie/es trink-t
- wir trink-en
- ihr trink-t
- sie trink-en
In fact as you can see, the verb ending is the only thing that differentiates between sie “she” and sie “they”.
Just stumbled across this sentence pattern. Hopefully there's more practice because i haven't been taught how to word questions just yet
Q1. Does she drink? , Is it the same translation as 'Trinkt sie?' Or is it the translation only for 'is she drinking?', because there is no present and present continuous tenses separately. Q2. Is there any other way to ask 'is she drinking?'
1 - Trinkt sie? could translate to either “Does she drink?” Or “Is she drinking?”.
2 - if you want to talk about something that is happening right now, you can add an adverb: Trinkt sie gerade? “Is she drinking right now?”
Hey, unrelated to the question itself. . . what's the difference between "ein" and "eine" I thought one was masculin and one was feminine. Then I got stumped on "A girl, a woman" because the sentence I was supposed to write was "Ein Madchen, Eine frau" or something
You are correct, eine is for feminine nouns, ein for masculine or neuter ones (in nominative case at least). The problem is, grammatical gender is its own thing and doesn’t necessarily have to match biological sex. For people (and animals with personal names) it usually does but there are certain exceptions – one of them being that any word with the diminuitive (“little”) suffix -chen is always neuter. And since the word Mädchen was originally formed with this suffix (it comes from an earlier Maid-chen “little maiden”), that makes it grammatically neuter.
And for non-living things (as well as generic animal species names like “dog, cat” etc) it’s for the most part completely random: There is nothing inherently feminine about things like Tür “door”, Lampe “lamp” etc, and nothing inherently masculine about a Tisch “table” or Stuhl “chair”, and yet those are the genders assigned to those words. This is why you should always learn a noun together with its definite article der, die or das – because you can immediately tell the gender from that.
So the question structure in German for such questions is verb+subject? Like in English it'd be either do/does+subject+verb or am/is/are+subject+verb+ing but it seems different here.
Yes, generally when asking a question you start with the verb and then the subject c:
German doesn’t have a dedicated progressive (“to be x-ing”) form; we just use the plain present tense and infer from context if we’re talking about something that is happening in this very moment or just generally. Or in those rare cases where we really need to stress that it happens in this very moment, we add an adverb such as gerade “right now”.
You make a yes–no question by putting the verb first.
Statement: Sie trinkt. “She drinks. She is drinking.”
Yes–no question: Trinkt sie? “Does she drink? Is she drinking?”
Note that German does not need helping verbs to form questions.
Because German doesn’t have a progressive (an equivalent to the English “to be …-ing” form). We just use plain present tense.
Also, please at least have a quick scan over the existing questions and see whether somebody asked it before. In this case it has been, for example WTFTROLLKI and MutasimFua among many others.
“sie trinkt” is a statement “she drinks/is drinking” rather than a question “does she drink/is she drinking”.
Questions (at least those which are answered with “yes” or “no”) are formed by moving the verb to the beginning, yes.
es means “it” and there is no “it” in the sentence.
If you meant ist: (Standard) German doesn’t have a progressive (an equivalent to the English “to be x-ing” form). We just use simple present tense, regardless of whether the action is happening at that very moment or regularly.
Because this is a yes-no question, not a statement.
Yes-no questions start with the verb.
Yes-no questions start with the verb.
Just as in English, where “is she drinking?” starts with the verb “is”, the German translation trinkt sie? starts with the verb.
As a statement, the verb is in the second position: “she is drinking”, sie trinkt.
Im so confused how does is she drinking translat to trinkt sie wouldn't that be drinking you ?
It wouldn't. You can never translate word for word, languages don't all work the same. "Drinking you" makes no sense in English, and a literal translation of "does she drink" probably wouldn't make any sense in German.
"Trinkt" does not mean "drinking". The infinitive ends with -en (trink-en = to drink), then the endings go as follows: -e, -(e)st, -(e)t, -en, -(e)t, -en. Ich trink-e, du trink-st, er/sie/es trink-t, wir trink-en, ihr trink-t, sie/Sie trink-en. I drink, you drink, he/she/it drinks, we drink, you drink (informal, plural), they/You drink. The capitalized Sie is formal and can also only address one person. I capitalized it in English for clarity, though English obviously doesn't have that.
"Sie" can mean a lot of things. In singular, it means "she". "Sie trinkt" = "she drinks" or "she is drinking" (German has no continuous tenses). That is the case in this sentence. In plural, the verb ending would be -en and "sie" would mean either they (if not capitalized) or (formal) you (if capitalized). If it's at the beginning of the sentence, it's always capitalized and you need context. When unclear, in sentences such as "Sie trinken.", Duolingo accepts both you and they in the English translation. Here, however, it's clear. We're moving from English. From "is", we know the sentence is singular, and "she" is "sie". If the sentence were "Do you drink water?", it could be a) Trinkst du Wasser? (Informal, singular you) b) Trinkt ihr Wasser? (Informal, plural you) c) Trinken Sie Wasser? (formal you) All 3 would be correct and you'd need context. Duolingo should accept all three if such an exercise ever comes up.
The word order. I will not go into detail, so please know that I'm only covering the basics and there's a bit more to it, you will learn that later, it'd confuse you now. German has pretty strict word order rules. The verb is second in a declarative sentence. It usually goes subject-verb-object (Ich trinke Wasser). I could say "Wasser trinke ich nicht", I'd be emphasizing water, probably strongly implying that I prefer something else to water. The verb would come second, then the subject, then the rest. For yes-no questions, German and English are almost the same! First the conjugated verb, then the subject. English, however, uses an auxiliary verb. If you rephrase "She drinks." into a question, you'll get "DOES she drink?", where does is an auxiliary verb, notice the -s in "she drinkS" is gone in the question, "does" is the conjugated verb. German does not use those here, so you only need to move the conjugated verb. "Sie trinkt." then becomes "Trinkt sie?", but translates to "Does she drink?" or "Is she drinking?", depending on context.
So "trinkt sie" wouldn't be "drinking you" because: 1. There is no "you" in the German sentence. 2. You cannot copy word for word, sooner or later you'll get nonsense due to differences in grammar.
Would you mind telling what exactly you’re confused about (ideally after checking if your question was already answer – for this short sentence there’s a good chance). Otherwise it’s a bit difficult to guess ;)
It’s the third person singular, i.e. the form you use if the subject is a “he/she/it” – equivalent to English “drinks/is drinking”.
Because that makes no sense German. It's like saying "Is she drink?".
See the other comments on this page about no continuous aspect in German.
No. Hat sie trinken? makes no sense in German.
Hat sie Trinken? with capitalised Trinken means "Does she have (some) drink?" i.e. does she have something to drink.
English needs "do" with most verbs in order to ask a question, but German does not.
To ask, "Does she drink?", you simply ask, "Trinkt sie?"
To ask, "Is she drinking?", it's also "Trinkt sie?" -- in German, you don't have to worry about whether something is present simple or present continuous; it's just present tense.
No, it's not correct, technically or otherwise.
No more than, say, "Is she drinks" would be.
That is wrong because the verb trinken translates to 'is drinking'. Since the verb already includes 'is', then we don't add ist to the question c:
Because the "is" is not a main verb in the English sentence -- it's just a helping verb to form the present continuous tense of the verb "drink".
So you have to translate not "is" by itself, but the whole verb form "is drinking" -- which is trinkt in German, because German doesn't have a present continuous tense, so you translate with the German present tense.
No, it could not.
German doesn't have a continuous aspect formed with "to be" and an -ing form of the verb like English does.
Translate the present continuous form "is drinking" into the German present tense trinkt.
I am confused. The question in English is "Is she drinking" but in German, the "is" goes away and its just "she drinking". Im sorry i really don't understand
You can't translate word for word, because the grammars of the two languages are different.
"is" doesn't have a meaning of its own in this sentence -- it's just a helping verb to form the present continuous tense of "drink", "is drinking".
It's the entire verb form "is drinking" that you have to translate into German.
German doesn't have separate present continuous and present simple tenses -- it just has one present tense.
So the translation of "(she) is drinking" and "(she) drink" are the same: (sie) trinkt.
And to make it a question, you put the verb first -- thus Trinkt sie? can mean "Does she drink?" or "Is she drinking?".
I feel like that last example, the interchangeability of "does she drink" and "is she drinking", would lead to some confusion with the intent of the question though, wouldnt it? Thats where my personal confusion is rooted.
In practice, there is no confusion, as usually only one of those will make sense in any real situation.
No. German doesn’t have a dedicated progressive form (one which corresponds to English “to be …-ing”). We just use normal present tense and let context determine whether the action happens right now or regularly.
Because German (Standard German at least) doesn’t have an equivalent to the English progressive (the “to be …-ing” form). We just use normal present tense. If you really really need to stress that something is happening in that very moment, you can add an adverb such as gerade “right now”. But in many cases that’s not necessary.
Confer multiple answers to earlier questions (such as my own to MutasimFua’s and Frodo38267’s questions).
Why is "Is she drinking?" "Trinkt sie?" not "Es sie trinkt?" It's very confusing.
German does not need a helping verb such as “is” in the present tense.
“Is drinking” translates to trinkt.
"drinking" isn't even a German word.
And German doesn't need a helping verb like "ist" to form the present tense.
In yes-no questions, the verb goes first.
She is drinking. = Sie trinkt. (Statement. Verb in second position.)
Is she drinking? = Trinkt sie? (Question. Verb goes first.)
I'm so confused. Please someone explain why it is "Trinkt sie?". Doesn't that just translate to "Is drinking she"? Shouldn't it be "Ist Sie trinkt?". Ist=is, Sie=she, trinkt=drinking.
No, you can’t always translate word for word – in fact for all but the most basic sentences you usually can’t. In this case, the problem is that German doesn’t have a dedicated progressive (“to be x-ing”) form. We just use plain present tense and judge by context whether the action is happening right now or habitually. In other words “Sie trinkt” could be either “she drinks” or “she is drinking”.
Also, please have a quick scan over the discussion section to see if your question has already been answered to help reduce cluttering.
No. German doesn't need a helping verb for the present tense. Just Trinkt sie? is enough.
Why is it when it say "she is drinking" it put's it as trinkt sie ? It confuses me when it flips the words
“She is drinking” is “Sie trinkt”. It’s the question “is she drinking” where the verb gets moved to the beginning (as it is in English, only in German every verb can move there, not just auxiliaries).