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  5. "Ihr lest ihre Zeitung."

"Ihr lest ihre Zeitung."

Translation:You all are reading her newspaper.

September 28, 2017



Why can't I say "she is reading her newspaper"? The answer given was "you all are reading her newspaper"


    ihr is a rather annoying little word - it turns up in a few different places, but there are ways to tell it apart quite clearly. Don't get confused!

    It can be a (2nd-person) personal pronoun:
    That's what it is here. It means "you (all)", and is the way to talk to a group of people you are on informal terms with. You can tell that it has this meaning, because it will conjugate with a usually-unique form of the verb: here it is ihr lest (as opposed to, for example, er liest or sie lesen). Like the other personal pronouns, it changes with case. It is only ihr in nominative case, i.e. when it is the subject, so that makes the trick of identifying the verb conjugation quite a good one. In the other cases it becomes euch.

    It can be a (3rd-person) personal pronoun:
    That might have been what you got it confused with. It means "her" in dative case only. Personal pronouns in dative case do not conjugate with the verb, because they're not the subject. Note that this is distinct from "she", which is nominative case (sie). See the table linked to earlier if you need a reminder of how it all fits together.

    It can be a possessive determiner:
    This is maybe the most ambiguous function of it. Possessive determiners come in front of a noun and are used to say who the noun belongs to. Words like "his" and "their" are possessive determiners. Don't be caught out by the fact that English recycles words sometimes too! "Her" is both a personal pronoun and a possessive determiner ("that is her apple"). Be aware that this is basically just a coincidence - the male equivalent uses different words ("that is his apple", not 'him apple'). The other confusing thing about it is that, like sie/Sie can mean either "she", "they" or "you (formal)" - ihr can mean "her [apple]", "their [apple]" or "your [apple] (formal)" if it's capitalised (Ihr). But in each of these usages, you will know that it's being used to show possession because a noun will come after it and for many combinations of gender and case there will even be an ending on it (das ist ihre Zeitung).

    So basically:
    Does it conjugate the verb? - it means "you (all)"
    Does it have a noun after it? - it shows possession
    None of the above? - it means "her" in dative case


    "She is reading her nespaper." is another sentence. It would be: Sie liest ihre Zeitung. --> The verb has another form and the personal pronoun is another one.


    I'm trying to think of.... How would you say 'I'm reading her the newspaper' (As in, reading it TO her?)


    "Ich lese ihr die Zeitung vor." (=I'm reading her the newspaper.) The verb is: "vorlesen", the best translation for "vorlesen" is "read aloud")


    If you don't speak the "y'all" variety of English, "you" (plural) and "you all" have different meanings.

    • "You are reading her newspaper" - One or more of you are reading her newspaper
    • "You all are reading her newspaper" - All of you are reading her newspaper

    [deactivated user]

      Could lt be their newspaper?


      Yes. That's not currently an accepted answer but it's a possible meaning.

      Report it and perhaps it will be accepted.

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