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  5. "This girl is me."

"This girl is me."

Translation:Dieses Mädchen bin ich.

November 16, 2017



Why must it be 'bin ich'. Can we not use 'ist mich', or am i missing a rule?


It's a predicate phrase, that means, behind the verbs sein/werden/bleiben nouns and pronouns are used in nominative case. It's like an equation, so a = b also means b = a - there is no direction of "sein". I recently learned that the same rule is also applied in formal English: This is I....


So, in formal English, should it be "This girl is I"?


Yes, the formal and correct English is "This girl is I." "This girl is me" is bad grammar because "to be" is a copulative (linking) verb and has no direct or indirect object. It's used casually, but a better way to say it is "I'm that girl."

The first way sounds pretentious to some, and the second sounds ungrammatical, so it's best to avoid both.

When I was growing up, a huge advantage of learning a foreign language was that grammar was covered extensively and it forced people to learn the counterpart in English. When software uses an incorrect translation, not only does it reinforce bad habits, it also confuses people. If they used "I" then it would be obvious why to use "Ich."


I can't make sense of this... Shouldn't it be "This girl am I"? Or else "Dieses Mädchen ist ich"?


In English, we say "is" in your example because "that's the way that people say it in real life." Apparently not all of us know the same people, but even those who use the colloquial "me" at the end still use "is" as the verb. German uses the same rules as English for the pronoun but not for the verb.

Edit: I've researched it a bit more, and as Early Modern English was replacing Middle English, there was a switch from "this girl am I" to "this girl is I."


Another way to look at it is the German would say "this girl am I" == "I am this girl" Think of the first as Yoda-speak, and the second form as "what's actually being said" and that might help. Works for me, at least.


As Max.Em explained, “ist mich” is out of the question because then “me” would be accusative when it isn't a direct object. The interesting question is why “ist ich” isn't allowed, and you have to resort to a rearranged version of the sentence “I am this girl – ich bin dieses Mädchen” instead. But I guess that's just how languages work. In my experience first and second person have “precedence” over third person, so, for example, even something like “it's me“ or “it's you” would be translated as “ich bin's” and “du bist es”. It would be interesting to know whether this kind of “hierarchy” extends further, if, for example, “I'm you” can only be said as “ich bin du” or “du bist ich” (I don't know why, but the latter sounds really awful, although I'm a learner too, so what do I know?).


It can't be "ist ich" because that would be incorrect conjugation of sein; the correct form there would be "bin ich" for 1st person singular. All that has happened here is reverse word order rather than normal word order. So you are right to re-arrange the sentence to make sense of it.

I am not sure what you mean by "precedence." But I'll think about it a bit and get back to you...


But what if the conjugation of sein is taken from „dieses Mädchen“ (and therefore becomes „ist“) instead of from „ich“, and that no word order reversal happened at all? Kind of like „dieses Mädchen ist ein Kind„ for example but replacing „ein Kind“ (or whatever takes that place) with „ich“ so that it becomes „dieses Mädchen ist ich“... Why would that not be possible/allowed? Yes, as a learner, after hearing some German I do feel like it sounds a bit wrong, but from a grammatical point of view I'm not really sure why...


Does anyone have a link or something to a different explanation of this? I still don't understand after everyone's explaining...


This is how I’m trying to explain it to myself:

In English, you can say “This girl am I” and people would look at you funny because of the weird word order, but you could get away with it. It’s poetic, but it’s not ungrammatical. In that sentence, “I” is the subject even though it comes at the end, which is why “am” agrees with “I” instead of “girl.”

In German, “Dieses Mädchen bin ich” is the same thing, only it’s not weird at all, because German is less rigid about word order.

The other question is why German requires “Dieses Mädchen bin ich” and forbids “Dieses Mädchen ist ich,” and I think there may not be a good answer to that aside from “because that’s how German works.”


"ist ich" would be improper conjugation. First person singular conjugation of sein is "ich bin," not "ich ist," so "ist ich" would be wrong.

Now, as to the problem on the English side... whoooo boy. Yeah. I find myself doing that "me" thing also. And it is wrong, actually. To say "It is me" is incorrect, because one cannot say "me is it." When using sein or any linking verb, the subject and predicate must be nominative case. And that is true in both German and English I'm afraid.

(Actually, I should point out that "me" is objective case in English, whereas we need to use nominative in both subject and predicate with forms of "to be." The same applies to German, but that language has 2 objective cases, dative and accusative.)

"It am I" is correct, even though that really does sound... well, frankly: utterly ridiculous! The problem is that "I" must be with "am," never "is." However, English speakers do not speak that way in real life, as you know. And why we usually say, "It is me," even though many a grammar cop would have us in cuffs immediately.

(Same reason for your last example with Maedchen.)

It also occurs to me that when we form questions, we reverse the subject and verb (usually). So it may be a fact, e.g., that "You are here." The question would become "Are you here?" By analogy, then, if it is a fact that "I am here," I might ask "Am I here?" and not something like "Is I here?" or the like.

Again, "It am I" would make any English speaker sound like we just stepped off the boat! (But, we assure you non-native English speakers, we will not shame you if you say it that way, OK?)


It depends on which of the two you are declaring to be the subject of the sentence. If "This girl" is the subject, then "is" is the proper verb. If "I" is the subject, then "am" is the proper verb. Subject-verb agreement, and in this case, one could conceivably claim either one to be the subject. Same works for Deutsch; the verb will depend on what the subject is. I do not think Duolingo got this correct.


This is a very nice explanation. Thank you!


That's because in English, it's either "This girl is I" or "I am this girl." It's hard to give a reason aside from convention since neither is an object, but "This girl am I" is incorrect.


Mich is an akkusative you cant use it in here...you should use ich or du or er/es/sie or wir or ihr or sie


Because Mädchen is neuter, and dies- is right before the noun (demonstrative determiner, not demonstrative pronoun).

dieses is the more common form in that case.


Why not DAS MÄDCHEN BIN ICH? What is wrong with das?


What would be the less common form then?

I have a feeling like I saw dies used before a noun. Is it used like that or only on its own, without a noun following it?


I'm also confused about why the verb becomes "bin" when it's the "Dieses Mädchen" (aka "she") who is being someone. Putting it as "bin" feels like I'm writing "This girl am me."


In fact it's more like "This girl am I".


Which is also strange English!


Since you can invert the order in German, it's a perfect German sentence. For us, "I am this girl" and "This girl am I" would be totally the same. Another point is that known stuff tends be mentioned first in the sentence, but please don't ask me why it's not "Dieses Mädchen ist ich" in German ;-). It's just natural to talk about yourself in the first person....


English relies on so-called "subject-verb-object," or SVO, word ordering. The only exceptions would be questions, poetry, and some sordid other situations.

Playing with English word ordering should be left to only the finest word smiths.


True except there's no object when a copulative (linking) verb is used, so both are subject pronouns.

Verbs like "to be," "to smell," "to taste," etc. are linking verbs (most of the time), which is why you'd "it tastes good" and not "it tastes well" because "good" goes with "it." You could say "he smells well" if he has a good sense of smell, but not if you are describing his scent. There's no object, except in the last case.

With "to be" you have the same situation. You'd say "he is good" or "he is happy" and "he is happily" makes no sense. Likewise, you'd say "It is I" but I'd personally say something such as "I am," and avoid it.

German seems not to have picked up the common misuse of many words so it would be easier to translate if the proper English grammar were used, rather than what Duo considers common usage.


Or to be really poetic, perhaps "This girl I am." (Sounds like the name of a music album.)


Surely the difficulty comes because the sentence mixes first person and third person? There can be no doubt that "This girl" is 3rd person and so should therefore require "ist", rather than "bin". Presumably, the sense is that perhaps there has been a discussion of what "this girl" has done or said and so that is clearly the subject of the sentence. She then relates that discussion back to herself. The verb "to be" takes nominative, so there is some logic to argue for "Dieses Maedchen ist ich". Okay, you can't then logically then turn it around and still have it "correct", but surely its as logically correct as "Dieses Maedchen bin ich.", where the "Dieses Maedchen bin" part of the sentence is logically wrong? The Germans have chosen the latter of the two and we just have to get used to it, I suppose. I don't see that there's any more "logic" to it than that....


I have chosen "Ich bin dieses madchen" and it worked also. But the question is, can we use: Dies madchen ist mich?


Good question. I'll be much interested in the answer! :) Just off hand, seems reasonable to me (logically), but the question is, is the reasonable to a German (not-logic, but custom and use).


I tried "Diese madchen ist mich", another time, and it seems to be incorrect. I am not sure if I should have used "Dieses", with madchen, if this was the problem, or the whole syntax doesn't exist in German.


The correct sentence is "Dieses Mädchen bin ich."

You do need "dieses," because "Mädchen" is neuter gender. You also need "ich" instead of "mich," because "ist" is a so-called "linking verb" and so requires that the object be in the nominative like the subject is. And finally "bin" rather than "ist," because German treats "ich" as the subject here.


@Copernicus: Thank you for your prompt and useful reply; especially regarding the interpretation related to "sein". I did not know that with this verb, both the subject and object need to be in the nominative form.


"Diese" would be the wrong gender/case. Das Mädchen becomes Dieses Mädchen. If it was "die Mädchen (as you might expect in a rationally designed language that still had such mind-bending concepts as "gender for words), then, yes, Diese... alas. Nein. Es ist Deutsch. Nearly as silly a language as English, gosh!


Take a look of what Copernicus answered; he gave a good argument regarding the effect of verb to be, on the subject and object.


Why not DAS MÄDCHEN BIN ICH? What is wrong with das?


That would be a valid thought, but it's not what the lesson is aiming at, is my guess.


I do not even understand what this is trying to say in English. What is the context here?

Is it someone pointing to a photo saying "that is me" - "das bin ich", or in the case of a group of girls and the girl uttering this problematic sentence is pointing to herself saying that that is her?


Duolingo isn't always big on explaining their "weird" sentences, or on giving us a conversational context. (Except in "conversations.")

Look at these as general exercises. In this case "this [noun] is [personal pronoun]" kind of thing, and make it into a general situation. Play with it. Say more silly things: this coffee cup is me. This coffee cup is not you. This charger is her dog. Play with it, and you'll start seeing various contexts yourself. None of them for general use, but we're not memorizing sentences, like for travelling through Germany for a two week trip; we're learning how to actually use the language.

Perhaps the real point of this lesson is that it's "das bin ich" and not "das bin mich" that is the real take-away.

Just a thought.


What are the different types of "Dieses" like masculine or feminine


It conjugates just like any adjective. Here's the full conjugation. (Note that in that neuter column, it's always "dieses," not "dies," before a noun. "Dies" is for a standalone pronoun as in "Dies ist ein Mädchen.")


why dieses and not dies?

my logic being that Mädchen is neutral in german, why the extra -es?


We add the "-es" to indicate neuter gender, as in most adjectives and determiners. "Dies" is simply the stem; the fact that it already happens to end in the letters "-es" doesn't really matter, since that "-es" isn't an ending and doesn't even sound like the "-es" ending anyway.


I'm still confused about the different forms of dies(e, er, es). Could someone explain it in simple terms please?


All adjectives and articles in German add endings ("conjugate") based on the case and gender of the noun they're attached to. Case is how the noun is used in the sentence (either of nominative/accusative/dative/genitive), and gender is a somewhat randomly-assigned property of the noun itself (labeled either of masculine/feminine/neuter, but not always clearly associated with actual masculinity/femininity or lack thereof). So each combination of case and gender (e.g., "masculine dative," "neuter nominative") will get its own ending (one of the five endings "-er/-e/-es/-en/-em").

You can find charts here on which endings go with which case and gender; you'll just have to memorize them; there's not entirely clear intuition to them. For "dies-," we'll look at the "Definite Articles" chart, since "dies-" happens to be a definite article. (The chart uses "der/die/das" instead of "dies-," but the same endings are still going to show up.)

"Mädchen" is neuter gender (which isn't what you'd expect, but most nouns don't have an intuitive gender anyway), and it's nominative case (because it's the subject of the sentence), and we see that the neuter nominative ending is "-(e)s," so we need "dieses."

Suppose the sentence were "Das Mädchen isst dies... Apfel." "Apfel" is a masculine noun, and it's the direct object of the sentence and so accusative. We see that the masculine accusative ending is "-(e)n," so correct is "diesen Apfel."

Or suppose we had "Das Mädchen isst dies... Äpfel." Now "Äpfel" is plural "gender." Plural gets treated as sort of a fourth gender because it has its own separate conjugation but is the same for all three real genders. Still accusative, so we need the plural accusative form "diese."

And to be a little trickier, we'll try "Das Mädchen ein... Ei." "Ei" is neuter and accusative. But now we're going to look at the "Indefinite Articles" chart because we're dealing with "ein-," which is indefinite. We see on that chart that we actually need no ending for neuter accusative, so we just say "ein Ei."


Sometimes das is used to denote this..and sometimes diese...i am confused? Can anyone help?


Correct English = "This girl is I" - sounds odd perhaps, but nominative case (predicate nominative) = "I"


What does "nominative" mean


It's the case of nouns used for subjects.


Crazy language... so that fits. :)


Why girl is in the dative form as an indirect object and me become the subject? Why Diese madchen ist mich is not correct?


Ich als Deutsche übersetze es so: Dieses Mädchen ist mir. Möglich ist auch: Dieses Mädchen gehört mir. Oder auch: Dieses Mädchen ist mein. Umgekehrt von Deutsch in Englisch finde ich in Google die Übersetzung von Duo. Aber das sind dann zwei verschiedene Aussagen: Dieses Mädchen bin ich/I am this girl. Das Madchen gehört mir/this girl is me = this girl belongs to me. Das ist sehr verwirrend ...???


"This girl am I" is correct and my logic was to say "This girl is me".


Please correct me if I am wrong: "Dieses Madchen" means "these girls", right? Madchen with umlaut means it is plural. Right?


"Mädchen" always has an umlaut, whether singular or plural. (The forms are identical.)

"Dieses Mädchen" is the neuter singular conjugation, so that's singular "this girl"; "diese Mädchen" is the plural conjugation, so that's plural "these girls."


Mädchen is the singular and plural for this word.


Ich bin dieses Mädchen


Why is ' dieses' and not 'diese'?


"Mädchen" is (counterintuitively) neuter gender, so we use the neuter nominative form "dieses." Note that all nouns ending in that "-chen" suffix are neuter, even if (as with "Mädchen") they're obviously physically masculine or feminine.


Am I that girl?


So, which one ist right? "Ich bin du" oder "Ich bist du"?


Dieses or dieser? Please can someone tell me the difference. Thanks

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