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  5. "Sie sind sehr individuell."

"Sie sind sehr individuell."

Translation:They are very unique.

March 12, 2013

91 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/beaker606

Ok. Why is distinct not correct?


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

it accepted "they are very distinct"


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

I'm not sure, but can "individual" be used to describe a person in English this way? I always thought it was "individualistic" or "an individual". They/you are very individual just sounds wrong to me.


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

Individualistic would mean a political or social outlook that favors the individual over the group. Individual would mean more like unique or non-conformist. Saying ''they are individualistic'' would describe say, a right-wing political party, and saying ''they are very individual'' would describe the Breakfast Club.

As a native speaker I have to say I've never really heard that, but it could definitely be said. I think "individualistic" is probably a mistranslation unless the German word has the two above meanings.


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

Du hast recht. It is not an expression I have heard in the U.S. Individualistic has a wider meaning than just 'unique' or 'distinct' (distinctly + adjective). I believe it implies an attitude of wanting to be different, sometimes just for the sake of having some identifying trait that separates one from the rest. I don't suppose it could ever describe a left-wing political group.


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

DL accepts, "They are very individualistic." ☺


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

Is this not the same as saying, "they are very unique."


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

How can you be "very unique"? Either you are one-of-a-kind, or you aren't!


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

Isn't that the point of the previous comment? You are either individual or you aren't. How can you be "very individual"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

There are shades in how individual you can be, I would say - unlike unique.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siobhn282219

Not in English you can't.


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

Lots of people say that, but there's room for debate. Also, people tend to forget about the "of a kind" part. If I have a red car, and that brand of car wasn't made in red, some people might say that my car is unique. But the kind of thing it is would be a specific model of car. There might be plenty of its kind, with differences that don't change the kind of item that it is.

On the other hand, if I shift my definition of "kind" to a narrower category, such as "cars of that model in a given color" then I might be able to say that it's unique.

It makes perfect sense to think of something as more unique when less needs to be done to narrow the scope of its category. An otherwise identical car with a one inch scratch could be considered unique if we really broaden the scope that defines its kind, assuming that none other has an identical scratch. But it's arguably less unique than one that resembles no other.

If you broaden the scope enough, then everything in existence is unique. But 100,000 cars that differ only by VIN are less unique than a concept car at an auto show, where there wasn't another like it ever made.

Saying that something can't be more unique than something else means that you give equal weight to whatever establishes the "kind" of thing, and that makes no sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StridingDream17

"Very" can be a comparative word. Something is more unique compared to something else, that's why it's "very" unique.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robin.knip

No sorry, uniqueness is absolute, like perfection - you either are our you aren't - as Alex said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew773033

Fully agree! I hate "very unique", why not say "very distinct"or "very unusual" and leave "unique" meaning "one of a kind". It may leave the user in the position of having to define the extent of "a kind", but that's his problem!


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

it's not absolute. people say "very unique" etc all the time. Usage trumps etymology.


[deactivated user]

    But is wrong, it is a misuse of language.


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

    @PeterStockwell
    Nope. It is not wrong. It is not recognized as an error by most speakers, and that's what makes a thing "wrong" in language.


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

    Very unique can mean rare, or it can mean "containing a lot of unique elements".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bmwx11

    I don't think this usage of individual makes sense in English. Not sure why, but I think individual might always need to modify something. It is not a stand-alone adjective. I am going to interpret it to mean unique.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

    I have found a learning method (wish I could give credit the one who told me) while stuggling to get through level 9 and losing all my hearts too fast I read this: Go back to the first levels, there you can practice the basics (which I had been careless about) while still improving vocab. It works like a charm. All those: meinems and dieses I kept tripping over. Now I alternate one basic, whcih goes quickly, with one higher level and feel real improvement. So if you have learners "block" as I did give this a try. My thanks to the person who posted this. There really should be some kind of introductory manual.

    Edit Can't remember when I wrote the above but I stand by it. Since then I've completed the German tree and I'm reworking it but from the bottom up. That way I get the hard stuff under my belt. Then do the light stuff. Have found the Italian and Greek much easier perhaps it's being more accustomed to the Duo methods. And continuing to have a good time.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertRick1

    I do this too, though I usually go to the strengthen skills section on the menu, since it gives you a mix of all the stuff youve seen before


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

    Although the SS way works, i'm leaning more towards the first way because you are more thoroughly tested in specific topics that way, and end up learning better. I need to get back to this approach as its been too long since i've gone thru the old stuff.


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

    Another option is using Memrise.


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

    Another technique is to do the English for German speakers course,


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

    Thanks for sharing this!


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

    Heh. "We are all individuals." "I'm not." "Shhh!"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenYoung84

    The computer writing these lessons is definitely a Monty Python fan.


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

    Why 'independent' is wrong?


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

    Because 'individuell' does not mean 'independent'. If you wanted to say 'independent' in German, you'd need to use a word like 'unabhängig'.


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

    Actually, I got it wrong for misspelling independent...still gives me "They are very independent" as being the correct answer, even though independent is not listed as a correct translation for individuell...


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

    It's actually wrong to say independent (which is Duo's fault), because, like dirron said, you would have to use unabhängig.


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

    Does "individuell" really mean "individualistic"? Can it be used this way? According to my dictionary, the correct word would be "individualistich".


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

    DL accepts unique, distinct or individualistic as a translation for individuell. I hope that helps. ☺


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

    when to use zu instead of sehr!


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

    zu (adjective) = too (adjective)

    sehr (adjective) = very (adjective)

    Insert whatever adjective you like within the parenthesis.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sean563791

    Couldn't you say 'they are very induvidual' or 'she is very induvidual'


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

    Dieses Wort ist nutzlos...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo.Kreuz

    why in "individuell" the v is not pronounced as "f" but rather as an english v? there are exceptions?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenYoung84

    Just like English, German has succumbed to the occasional loanword keeping its original pronunciation. individuell comes from French. Fortunately, this comes up a lot less in German than in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo.Kreuz

    thanks for explaining!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/F4yY9kZj

    Again "very unique"? Please, no!


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

    Since unique means "one of a kind" the word unique is never correct with a comparative qualifier.


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

    Wrong. That's BS that some English teachers have put forth, but it goes against established usage. You are forgetting about the "OF A KIND" part. For example, a car is a kind of thing. If I have a car, and you have a different car that's unlike any other, it's not unique if the kind of things is cars. There are many other cars so it's not the only thing of that kind. It has a lot in common with other cars, or it wouldn't be considered a car. It's not one of a kind.

    But there are different levels of "kind." For example, it could also be a sports car. If you decide that "sports car" is the "kind" and what makes something unique is that this particular sports car has a different license plate, then what separates it from other sports cars is minor. If you decide it's unique because it was hand built, isn't the "kind" from a given company, or a give brand within the company, or any other "kinds" that are more restrictive, it's certainly more unique. What sets it apart from others in a larger group is far more.

    We can say that each license plate is unique, and none can be more unique than others, or we can say that one without any numbers is more unique than others if all others in the state have numbers. While the license plate is unique, calling a car unique because it has a given license plate is a level of uniqueness, but one that does less to make it unique as a car. It's one of a restrictive kind but one of many of a less restrictive kind.

    Everything is more than one kind of thing. Kinds are subsets and supersets of other kinds of things. If the kind in question is very restrictive, but it's relatively common for there to be many instances of a broader kind, then it's less unique.

    You literally can't call something unique without saying the kind. I can say that something is a unique watch. That makes the kind of thing a watch. If only one watch existed in the world, it would be more unique. If it's the only one that a given watch company made, it's less unique because it's still one of many of a broader category.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenYoung84

    Going off on tangents about categorisation doesn't change the fact that Emil is correct. "one of a kind" is an expression, you can't pick it apart literally to glean extra meanings. Uniqueness is a true/false condition. There are no degrees or levels of uniqueness. Uniqueness is not dependent on the object's type/kind, it's absolute.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian865680

    You can't say 'very unique'. Something is either unique (one of a kind; the only) or it's not...it can't be 'very', 'quite', etc. You can say very distinctive, for instance and DL I think accepts that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick289993

    Uniqueness is absolutely subject to contextual gradation as expressed by words like "more" and "very." In a room of 10 people, the one and only German present there may be unique. In a room full of ten thousand people, if he's still the only German, he's even more unique in comparison to the first scenario.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew773033

    "They" can't be "unique" unless they, as a pair or a group are a one-of-a-kind pair or group. No one can be very unique, you are either unique or not!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianeDavid12

    You can't be "very unique." The word "unique" means only one, and you can't modify it with "very."


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

    hello - why 'Thye are so individual' is not correct? so can be very, no? thx


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

    There is some rigidity to Duolingo's way to evaluate our responses, which I hope is abandoned. I tried "You all are very distinct", and it was rejected. It seems trivial, but it can be frustrating at times.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

    You will discover that there is a great deal of rigidity. This is due to the fact that Duo is computer generated and a certain number of translations have been programmed. All others will be rejected. There has been, indeed, a great improvement and you can help by reporting any rejected but correct responses. See here for how, along with other ideas you may find helpful:

    https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4821654


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/erebus53

    I think in English I would express this idea using the terms "non-conformist", " free-thinking" or "original"... though I realise that there is inferred meaning in those English terms that doesn't quite equate.


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

    why can't you say "they are very original"


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

    A person or object cannot be very individualistic, very original or very unique. They/it can be individualistic, original or unique. Adding 'very' is redundant, as in 'that person is very dead' or 'she is very pregnant'. I have reported it.


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

    I definitely disagree with this.

    At least in English, adding a very to any of the words you listed would be idiomatic but valid. You're pregnant at a month, but you're very pregnant at 8 months. You're individualistic if you join the Republican party, but you're very individualistic if you're a Rand follower.


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

    Politely, I would disagree with you. Individualistic does not come in degrees. You are pregnant or you're not. At eight months some women might be heavily pregnant, which relates to the weight they are carrying. If you join the Republican party you are a Republican, if you are are a Rand follower you are Selfish [assuming you mean Ayn Rand].


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

    It's colloquial, in English.

    "Did you hear that Mary is having twins?" "Yeah, she looked REALLY pregnant!"

    If you join the Republican party you're a Republican, if you're an activist for the Republican party, flyer and leaflet for them, volunteer at events, etc., you're VERY Republican. "I'm a republican, but you know, not super republican like Todd is."

    I don't think this is documented anywhere, but as a native english speaker I think I can say what is or isn't colloquial english.


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

    Yes. Colloquial meaning not formal. I did enjoy your use of 'flyer' and 'leaflet' as verbs. Very colloquial.


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

    I wouldn't say it's excessively informal, and it's certainly not grammatically correct, and it has common usage, so I'm not sure what your issue with it is at this point.

    Flyer and leaflet are also very common English verbs related to activism.


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

    Es tut mir lied. I have looked for proof of this but have not been unable to find any. I must agree with you that sehr/very is acceptable. However I will maintain that its use is redundant.


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

    I translated it "You are particularly distinct." Should that be accepted?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hassanselim0

    Individuell sounds very French to me


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rose173982

    Independent? Maybe


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rose173982

    Not very English


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

    Accepted: They are quite unique.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/F4yY9kZj

    I wonder if 'very unusual' is accepted; that, at least, is an unobjectionable phrase, unlike 'very unique'.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sue987642

    I would just like to say in english you cannot say something is 'very unique'. Unique means only one exists. Therefore something can be 'almost unique' there might be another one, but not 'very unique'.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flyings0lo

    There is no such thing as something which is "very unique". It's either unique or it's not. Like pregnant, you either are or you're not.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick289993

    Languages change over time. Unless you refer to October as the eighth month of the year, you really shouldn't be using etymologies to claim that a particular usage of a word is incorrect.


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

    Absolutely. Some people who have been pregnant for a short time have fewer physiological changes and their bodies are less likely to carry a fetus to term. Other women who are near term have profound signs of pregnancy and a viable fetus. When people say "very pregnant," it's clear what's meant.

    Unique is a relative term. People tend to forget the "of a kind" part. If I have the only car of a given color, then my car isn't unique if the kind of thing we are discussing is cars. It's still a car and there are others of the same kind, namely cars. It is unique if the "kind" is cars of a particular color. In common speech, we recognize that the less restrictive the category is, the more unique something is. Calling 1000 almost identical cars unique because of a single change in one character in the VIN compared to the one next to it gives very little differentiation from anything else. What makes it unique is a minor difference. Some things are unique for a minor reason and others are unique for a major reason. That's unquestionably a matter of degree. "More" and "less" are words used with respect to matters of degree.

    People who argue that you are either pregnant or not, and something is either unique or not, won't argue that a person is either late or not despite its obvious truth. Yet even though you are either late or not late, we recognize that people can be very late. Arguably, it's the amount of time being late that has a matter of degree, not the act of being late itself, but almost nobody would make such an argument given that it's obvious what people mean by "very late."

    The same is true for "very pregnant." Any person fluent in English and of normal intelligence would understand what's meant. Pregnancy changes a woman's body to varying degrees. The more profoundly it's changed, the more pregnant she will come across.

    You are either sick or not. You are either late or not. You are either happy or not. But if my happiness affects me more than yours affects you, I'm happier. If the degree to which my sickness affects me is greater than the degree to which yours affects you, I am more sick. And if the degree to which my pregnancy affects me is greater than the degree to which yours affects you, I am more pregnant. People who argue against the way language is commonly used even when that use makes perfect sense are missing the point.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenYoung84

    Not this nonsense again...


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

    Unfortunately, the nonsense that "very unique" is wrong has been drilled into the heads of students for so many generations that it took me many decades to accept that what I was taught in school was wrong. It went against the way it's used in ordinary language, and the way it's used in ordinary language makes sense and gives meaningful information. If "very" didn't belong, it would be impossible to change the meaning of the sentence by saying "more unique" or "very unique." But it does change the meaning of the sentence in a way that's obvious to the reader or listener.


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

    very unique is an oxymoron.Unique is one of a kind so does not work with very.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick289993

    No, it's not. An oxymoron is a term that contradicts itself, or at least appears to-- something like "commonly unique." "Very unique" is more like "very dead." It has a modifying adjective which, if you insist on thinking about it a pedantic, black-and-white way, might sound unnecessary or funny: you're either dead or you're not. But I'd argue that one can see a meaningful distinction between someone who quietly passed in his sleep (dead) someone whose head was blown clean off in an orgy of violence (very dead). Or similarly, someone who died yesterday is dead, whereas Plato is very dead, by virtue of being dead for some 2500 years or so.

    Uniqueness is subject to the same kinds of distinctions. The "of a kind" part is just as important as the "one." If it's a big group, your uniqueness has a lower statistical prevalence than it has in a small group. One out of a million is far more unique than one out of five.


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

    Yes, it's a commonly used expression to indicate that what makes something unique is less common than what makes other things unique. Every dollar bill is unique in the sense that it has a different serial number. But a Picasso painting of my Aunt Martha would be more unique. The broader the kind, the greater the uniqueness. Remember, unique doesn't mean it's the only one. It means it's the only one with a specific attribute. Some things with specific attributes are rarer than others. If you have a 1949 Chrysler, it's not unique in the sense that it's a car, and there are plenty of things of that kind.

    Likewise, things can be unique in multiple ways. Something unique in more ways than something else can be thought of as more unique.

    Since the phrase is used commonly, people know what it means, and it's not redundant if it gives more information, then the argument that things can't be "very unique" falls apart.


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

    lol, I got hung up by putting an e on the end of Individuell. thanks for that, French that I learned the other day!


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

    In English it's enough to say 'You are very individual'


    [deactivated user]

      DL seems to have it wrong here. Individuell from what I understand means unique.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

      Not in my idiolect.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JK-Quinn

      Really??? Literally every single other time "individuell" was used in this lesson, it told me it meant "distinct". Now I use that and it tells me its wrong. IF A WORD HAS MORE THAN ONE TRANSLATION, THEN PLEASE FRACKING TELL ME, DUO.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianeDavid12

      NOT "very unique" - that's not English.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dalbert77

      How about "they are very particular" I got it wrong but it seems like it could be right


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

      Particular, to me, is like "fussy".


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

      Wow...I'm gonna have to get used to spelling "individuell". :P


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strobro3

      how can someone / thing be more or less individual? you either are or aren't.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strobro3

      How can you be more or less individual?

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