"Is she drinking?"

Translation:Trinkt sie?

August 28, 2017

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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?.


I have so many questions I can't even start...


Start from somewhere dear,we all learning.ask and it shall be given


So "I love them" wouldn't be "Ich lieben sie"?


Correct, it wouldn't be -- it would be Ich liebe sie with the verb form liebe to match the subject ich.


I heard context can explain a lot about a situation in German. Some words are similar, but if you know the context, things can be a lot easier!


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


My teacher told me that "sie" is used for her and "Sie" is a way to say you/them in a formal way with respect


Yes, formal Sie is always capitalised, while sie “she” and sie “they” are not (unless they start the sentence of course).


why not sie Trinkt ?


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.)

  • 1187

That's a really good way to frame it in conversational English, very helpful!


It condused me too


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.


This statement you made is very important. As English speakers trying to learn German it's important we don't try to learn according to the English language logic.


I totally understand you :)


Thank you so much! That was super helpful!


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.


This was most helpful thank you for your insightful comment.


I m having so much trouble


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 :)


what is the difference between "sie trinkt" and "trinkt sie"

  • 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.


Are you like a professor or something


For English learners:- It is quite common for us to write She drinks?! when,as described, it is a surprise/confirmation question remark. In speech there would be a lot of emphasis on the activity, as if you were saying She DRINKS?! Luckily in German we can turn the two around, Trinkt sie?


Drinks she.......... Should I think of this in my head as Drinks she? I'm trying to figure out a way to remember this. You say the verb comes first 'As in English' but this looks NOTHING like English to me!


"Sie trinkt"→why doesn't it mean "She drinks"?


It does.

Sie trinkt. can mean either "She drinks" (habitually, regularly) or "She is drinking" (right now).


Hallo. Can anyone explain when to use trink-st, trink-en or trink-t ?


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”)).


du gibst, not du giebst.


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!


I don't understand this translation? Can some please explain it


If your problem is either with the word order (verb before subject) or with there being no equivalent of “is” (or both at once), please have a quick scan over the thread. Both questions have already been answered multiple times already.

If your problem is a different one, what exactly is it you have trouble understanding?


Why is "sie" after the verb "trinkt"? Does that order matter?


It does; it’s what makes this sentence a question. Please have a quick scan over the thread; your question has literally been answered dozens of times before.


Can someone explain difference in Trinkt and trinkt?


Can someone explain difference in Trinkt and trinkt?

The first word of a sentence is always capitalised in German (like in English).

So the verb trinkt becomes Trinkt when it is the first word of the sentence. There is no difference in meaning.


The interpretation is upside down


I’m guessing you’re talking about how the verb comes at the beginning? That’s how yes-no questions are formed in German – by moving the verb to the front.


What is the difference between "sie trinkt" and "trinkt sie" as both seen to be asking the same question of "is she drinking?"


What is the difference between "sie trinkt" and "trinkt sie"

Sie trinkt. is a statement: "She is drinking.". It has the verb in the second position.

Trinkt sie? is a yes-no question: "Is she drinking?". It has the verb at the beginning of the sentence.


Why is it "trinkt sie" instead of "ist sie trinkt"?


Why is it "trinkt sie"

Because that is the correct way to say it in German: the verb comes first in a yes-no question.

instead of "ist sie trinkt"?

Because that's nonsense in German. German does not need a helping verb ist in the present tense.


It hadn't taught me the grammar would change with this sentence


The interrogative sentences giving me a hardtime, alot of languages including my native (urdu) seems to have different positions of subjects and verbs. In case of german i dont understand how to form interrogatives.


Basically you simply move the conjugated verb (which is normally in 2nd position for declarative sentences) to the front. So the declarative sentence “Sie trinkt Tee” becomes the question: “Trinkt sie Tee?”

If there is a phrase with a question word (who, what, where etc), that phrase is put even before the verb, just like in English: “Was trinkt sie?” Careful, sometimes the question word may be part of a longer phrase, in which case you have to move the whole thing, not just the question word (again, you should be used to that from English): “Mit wem trinkt sie?” (With whom is she drinking?) “Wessen Hund sieht sie?” (Whose dog does she see?)

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