"Liest er?"

Translation:Is he reading?

September 17, 2017

43 Comments


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

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

September 17, 2017

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

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

January 7, 2019

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

er = he. ihr = you (plural)

February 20, 2019

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.

February 21, 2019

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

March 5, 2019

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".

March 6, 2019

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

Same here

December 23, 2017

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

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

December 31, 2017

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.

January 1, 2018

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

Thanks for that explanation.

June 25, 2018

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

Danke

December 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pye20

[ He Reads? · is a sentence in « declarative question » format vice the « Does he read? » prototypical polar interrogative format to which mizinamo refers. · https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-declarative-question-1690372 ]

[ The · Liest er? · syntax remains the same for the declarative sentencce. · Er liest. · https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/107119/Er-liest · · mizinamo or other Duolingo Moderator or German linguist might assist with German declarative question and polar interrogative syntax, grammar, and composition ] https://www.thoughtco.com/declarative-sentence-grammar-1690420
http://www.ling.uni-potsdam.de/~kuegler/docs/kuegler_LIP21.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261799145_On_the_Intonation_of_German_Intonation_Questions_The_Role_of_the_Prenuclear_Region http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199202720.001.0001/acref-9780199202720-e-2596 https://journals.linguisticsociety.org/proceedings/index.php/SALT/article/viewFile/2860/2600 ]

July 28, 2018

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?

April 12, 2018

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.

April 12, 2018

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

I thought she said "Lest ihr?".

February 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George194867

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

September 5, 2018

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.

September 5, 2018

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

Why then "does he read" answer fails?

October 17, 2018

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").

October 18, 2018

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.

April 5, 2019

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

Why not is he reads?

April 16, 2019

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

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

April 16, 2019

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

Could this sentence also mean "Can he read?"

April 23, 2018

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

No.

April 23, 2018

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'

April 28, 2018

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?”

April 28, 2018

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

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

May 30, 2018

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?

June 29, 2018

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.

June 29, 2018

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 :)

June 29, 2018

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

why did "he reads?" not work?

September 29, 2018

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?”.

September 29, 2018

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?

October 17, 2018

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.

October 18, 2018

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?

February 8, 2019

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.

February 8, 2019

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

'He is reading' should also be accepted surely?

March 6, 2019

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?".

March 6, 2019

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

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

April 20, 2019

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.

April 21, 2019

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"

May 4, 2019

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.

May 4, 2019

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

Thanks!

May 4, 2019
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