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  5. "Is our grandmother cold?"

"Is our grandmother cold?"

Translation:Ist unserer Großmutter kalt?

March 15, 2013



Hmm. This can be tricky if you, like me, interpret it as a cold personality-- or probably the grandmother has been standing outside in the snow so she's cold. I realize it's "does she feel cold"?" and in the same case as "mir (dat.) ist es kalt" but I didn't immediately think that way... :-/


Watch out! To say that someone is cold in German with the nominative form (Ist unsere Großmutter kalt?) is an idiomatic expression. Unlike Engilsh, you wouldn't be asking whether she has a cold personality. It wouldn't even mean that she's cold from standing in the snow. Instead, you'd be asking, "Is our grandmother dead?"!

Using the nominative with temperature is always idiomatic in German. Using Opa as an example:

Der Opa ist kalt = The grandpa is dead.
Der Opa ist warm = The grandpa is gay (homosexual).
Der Opa ist heiß. = The grandpa is sexually aroused.

It should be "dem" in all of these cases in order to show that the environment is cold to the grandpa.


O Gott. Thanks for clarifying this and averting possible awkward situations!


Wow! I really like the selection of the phrases by the owl. This one single sentence with your additional explanation teaches more than an ordinary "mir ist kalt" would had teached.

It is a real pity that the owl does not provide similar explanations by default, though... This time we were lucky to have you around here, because without your explanation we would have probably left this test confused and irritated and with the willingness to give up because it is all so hard to understand.


It's funny because I was thinking of a dead grandmother even in English. In any language there's a slight macabre ambiguity here, so I agree that this is a bad example either way. But your argument settles it anyway. Duolingo should fix that :)


It's not a bad example, because this sentence properly puts Grandma in the dative case, meaning that she's not dead, she's just feeling a bit cold.


Yes, you're right. I completely forgot about the case :) Only in English it's slightly ambiguous.


That last one... Thank you for saving me from that.


Thank you very much for this excellent explanation.


Great comment man


My first thought was that she was dead, really. So I'm like you only to some extent.


Why ist it "ist unsereR großmutter kalt" and not "ist unserE großmutter kalt" ?


As I understand it, it is proper to say "It is cold for our grandmother" in German, which is why "unserer" takes the dative case in instances like this.


Großmutter is feminine. The dative feminine form of 'unser' is "unserer" Note: Dative Masculine Neuter = "unserem"; Dative Feminine = "unserer"; Dative Plural = "unseren"


Friert unsere Großmutter wäre eine bessere Übersetzung!


This would mean "Is our grandma freezing?" And this is already a different word, that gives a little bit another meaning of the sentence. If I am freezing, I will definitely not say that I am cold.


"Ist unsere Großmutter kalt?" got accepted... I don't get it, why? It's dativ, so it should be wrong, shouldn't it?


I had "Ist es unserer Großmutter kalt?" and it was rejected. "Ist unsere Großmutter kalt?" was the correct answer. However, that doesn't make sense because 1. it's not dative and 2. as Lana1204 said above, that would refer to her cold personality, not the state of her being physically cold.

[deactivated user]

    Hmm maybe they've fixed it. I also just got rejected on "Ist es unserer Großmutter kalt?" but it now says the correct answer is "Ist unserer Großmutter kalt?" meaning it is dative but I was meant to leave the "es" as implied (damn it).


    I don't think "es" is implied, I think that "kalt" is already the nominativ/subject of the sentence and therefore by using "es" you might be putting two subjects in one sentence.

    Are you getting confused by the "es gehet mir gut" constructions?


    That's exactly what happened to me. I just couldn't stop laughing at "is our grandmother dead?" the other implication of "ist unswerer Grossmutter kalt" might be "is our grandmother fridged ?" (sexually). That's what I was told by a German speaking friend.


    Why should we use dativ in this case? (no pun intended)


    agree, I also got trapped


    Question: Why can't we say: "Sind unserer Großmutter kalt?"


    When deciding on which verb form to use, sometimes it helps to replace the noun with an appropriate pronounced. Here "unserer Großmutter" would be replaced by ihr, which is the dative 3rd person singular. Hence, we use ist instead of sie


    Normally when I would say this I use es. Like: Es ist mir kalt. But Ist es unserer Großmutter kalt? Was not accepted


    I think it's technically correct, but I've never heard a native say it and it sounds strange to my ears. Instead of "Es ist mir kalt," most Germans would say "Mir ist kalt." The "es" is implied, and although "mir" is dative, it is treated as a subject. Hope that helps.


    Ist unserer Großmutter kalt. Ist is in the first position. But it shoyld be in the second. Please explain this!


    Wouldn't "Ist es unserer Großmutter kalt?" work?


    Can somebody explain me why "Ist unsere Großmutter kalt?" is listed in the correct answers?

    Wouldn't "unsere Großmutter" be a nominativ?

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