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"Liest er?"

Translation:Is he reading?

September 17, 2017

63 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jay291391

The robo-pronounciation makes this near impossible to tell the difference! Anyone else?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

What kind of difference? "Liest er?" or "Lest ihr?"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/richardc316

er = he. ihr = you (plural)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

Yes, I know. I think we hear another voice than 4 years ago. It is a pity that in the app you can not see when someone has posted something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fntouch

Ihr for someone in front of u er for someone away u talk about him but anyway this program does hav mistakes in english and german


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

"Ihr" is the plural "you", more than one person. When you talk to one person and you know that person well, you can say "du", but otherwise it is "Sie". Please write "you" instead of "u" from now on to reduce the number of mistakes in English. Moreover, the Dutch "u" is the equivalent of the German "Sie".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Clembruh

So does that mean "Ihr" is like "y'all"????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

Yes, as I said before ihr is the plural you. I don't use "y'all"; I've never been taught that, I've never heard it, and I'm never going to say it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/liasanford

can anyone tell me why "he reads?" wouldn't be correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Because that's not the correct word order for a (neutral) question in English.

Most verbs in English need "do-support" for questions and negative sentences, meaning that you have to add a helping verb "do" in order to create such sentences.

So to turn "He reads." into a question, it will become "Does he read?".


It is also possible to ask questions using statement word order and just indicating that they are a question by the tone or (in writing) by a question mark at the end, as in "He reads?".

But those are not neutral questions. I'm not sure what the proper grammatical name for them is, but I call them "surprise/confirmation" questions -- you would use that form of question when you hear something surprising and you want to confirm that you heard it correctly.

For example:

  • What does Tom do when he visits you at the weekend?
  • He sits on the couch and reads.
  • He reads? But he never does that at home!

German does this similarly, so you could use statement word order with question intonation:

  • Was macht Tom eigentlich immer, wenn er euch am Wochenende besucht?
  • Er sitzt auf der Couch und liest.
  • Er liest? Zu Hause macht er das nie!

But since the question you are asked to translate is not this "surprise/confirmation" type Er liest?, but instead a regular question Liest er?, you are expected to translate it into a regular question in English, not a "surprise/confirmation" question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Go1rish

Thanks for that explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mercrules

Would "reading, is he" not qualify since the word order indicates a question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

I doubt it, because of the odd word order. "Is he reading?" is a question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rozieland

I am guessing I can use this order for any verb then. For example: Trinkt er? OR Isst er?

But can I also say: Was trinkt er?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I am guessing I can use this order for any verb then. For example: Trinkt er? OR Isst er?

That's right. Such yes–no questions will have the verb at the beginning.

But can I also say: Was trinkt er?

Yes, you can. That's not a yes–no question but rather a WH question, and those have the verb in second place -- in this case, after the WH word was.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/The_Georgey9011

Are "Does he read?" and "Is he reading?" interchangeable? i.e. do they translate the same or is there a difference?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Are "Does he read?" and "Is he reading?" interchangeable?

In English, no -- they are not interchangeable.

i.e. do they translate the same or is there a difference?

They both translate to the same sentence in German. German does not make this distinction between present simple and present continuous tenses and has only a single present tense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter291542

Why then "does he read" answer fails?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

That's one of the accepted answers for a translation exercise, so without any further information, I can't answer your question.

Can you upload a screenshot of the error message somewhere and post a link to it?

First, though, please check that you had a translation exercise and not a listening exercise ("type what you hear").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheoDavid

It is not one of the accepted answers to this question, even though it should be because "Does he read?" would be said "Liest er?" in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IAmCrazyHope

I also put down 'Does he read' and got it correct. I found that usually when I'm sure I got it right and its telling me I'm wrong, its almost always because of a spelling error. Once in a while it's from putting the words in the wrong order. Now when I get something wrong, if it looks right at first glance, I slowly go over the spelling and find a mistake that seemed hidden but then becomes glaringly obvious.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LoganRichey

I thought she said "Lest ihr?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yamesiver

Could this sentence also mean "Can he read?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Triunn_Maegin

How would you say "Did he read?" vs the answer to this which is 'Does he read?'

I got this wrong because I answered 'Did he read'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

You would use the past tense in German, i.e. “Las er?” or, probably more commonly, “Hat er gelesen?”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete915002

Ihr and Er are very difficult to distinguish with the Robo-pronaunciation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minji958848

I've tripped over word order before when translating into English for a Duolingo question, and I had the feeling it was likely to not accept my answer, but I tried "He is reading?" without success. Maybe someone can offer some guidance on the difference between this and the correct answer of "Is he reading?" for future use?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

A yes–no question in English starts with a verb.

Sometimes this is the main verb of the sentence, as with "to be"; sometimes it is a helping verb "to do" which has no meaning in this case but is simply grammatically required to form a correct question.

Using the word order of a statement but with a question mark is usually reserved for "surprise/confirmation" questions, where you are surprised about something that you heard and want to make sure that you understood it correctly.

So "He is reading??" would be a reaction to having heard that someone is reading but you have trouble believing it; while "Is he reading?" is the usual word order for a regular question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minji958848

Thank you, that clarifies it well! I'll remember to simply use the form that starts with the verb for Duolingo :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roger148126

Not convinced. Take, for example, this dialogue:

Person 1: "Where is Fred?" Person 2: "With his books." Person 1: "He is reading?" Person 2: "Yes."

Would "Liest er?" not be appropriate for this context, for example?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

At least in my English, Person 1 would only say "He is reading???" (= Er liest???) if he is surprised.

The neutral question would be "Is he reading?" (= Liest er?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Denis43405

why did "he reads?" not work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Because a normal yes-no question starts with “do” or some other verb in Standard Written English: “Does he read?”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter291542

Why "does he read?" is not accepted as a correct answer as far as German doesn't have a distinct difference in translation between "does he..." and "is he..."? Is there anyone from the staff? Do you actually read the comments?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why "does he read?" is not accepted as a correct answer

It's one of the accepted answers.

Did you have a listening exercise, perhaps, rather than a translation exercise?

as far as German doesn't have a distinct difference in translation between "does he..." and "is he..."?

That's true.

Is there anyone from the staff? Do you actually read the comments?

No. Duolingo developers/programmers don't read the forums, as far as I know.

Volunteer course contributors, who create and maintain the sentences, sometimes do.

But it's not guaranteed -- we're not automatically alerted to new comments, and since we're all just volunteers doing this in our spare time (and we're only a couple who are sort of active), we may not see them.

If you want a guaranteed response, then a paid teacher might be better.

With Duolingo, responses by course contributors are on a best-effort basis.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jo9Kms

Why not is he reads?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Because "Is he reads?" is not correct English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SayddePaints

Would there be a difference in "Is he reading?" and "he is reading?"? In the same tone, should "he's reading?" count?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Would there be a difference in "Is he reading?" and "he is reading?"?

Yes: only the first is considered grammatical standard written English on this course.

In the same tone, should "he's reading?" count?

Not on this course.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertHJMa

'He is reading' should also be accepted surely?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

I suppose not, because that is not a question but an observation. "Liest er?" is clearly a question - note the question mark - and that is why the translation must also be a question: "Is he reading?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andreea1984.

Beside "Is he reading?" it should be also accepted as a correct answer "Does he read?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

"Does he read?" is already one of the accepted alternatives. Please read the other comments for what you can do if that answer was not accepted for you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maggie_yee

What is the difference between "she is reading" and "she reads" in german? Seems like it's all "sie liest"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

What is the difference between "she is reading" and "she reads" in german? Seems like it's all "sie liest"

That's right. (Standard) German does not make this distinction.

On the other hand, there are distinctions that German makes but English doesn't....

The grammars of the two languages are not identical, though they are similar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ishmaelzivan

Why is it wrong if I ask if "he reads?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why is it wrong if I ask if "he reads?"

Because in standard written English, almost all yes-no questions need the helping verb "do"; we would ask "Does he read?"

"He reads???" would be a special kind of "surprise/confirmation" question, where you heard something surprising and want to confirm that you heard it correctly. It's not a normal yes-no question in standard English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin496801

When do you use the word lest?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

When do you use the word lest?

When the subject is ihr (you - several people).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dhivya.G

'Er' means he. Why does it tell that 'er' means he or it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

I think that's because in English sometimes it says "it" while German does use er. I can't give you examples, but I do know that in English for animals "it" is used while German probably uses er (he) or sie (she).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iamTvisha

I thought it was does he read? Wont that be correct? If not, what would be the correct german translation of the sentence i wrote?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I thought it was does he read? Wont that be correct?

That's another correct translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NazneenAhm3

Why can't it be 'he reads?'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseeV64

That's a statement with a question mark, not a question. Duo asks a question and expects a question in proper word order.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jrgen792736

Why is "Read he?" totally false?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why is "Read he?" totally false?

Since you are taking this course (German for English speakers), you must be an English speaker. So you should know the answer.

If you are not an English speaker (yet), then this is a question you should ask your English teacher.

What is the verb endings for "he"?

How do you form yes-no questions in English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emma506024

Why is "He is reading?" not correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Because your sentence uses statement word order.

Duolingo expects questions to use question word order, i.e. to start with a verb (which is often "do"), e.g. "Does he read often?" and not "He reads often?", and "Is he reading?" rather than "He is reading?".

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