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When to use "bin"

I had to translate "I am drinking tea". The correct answer was: "Ich trinke Tee". What is the difference between that and "Ich bin trinke Tee" (which is the wrong answer)?

June 30, 2012



"I am" is "Ich bin", but German does not have present continuous. You say "Ich trinke Tee." to express present continuous (and also simple present). "Ich bin trinke Tee" is nonsensical in German.


In German you say ""Ich trinke Tee" both for "I am drinking tea" and "I drink tea". There is no separate verb form like in English.


There is a construction 'Ich bin am Teetrinken' or 'Ich bin dabei, Tee zu trinken' which captures somewhat the English present progressive.


Ok interesting. I was a little confused because I had written down in my notes that "I am" is "Ich bin", but it sounds like that is wrong? And if that is not wrong I am still seeking the answer to WHY using it in the answer of my original post is wrong.


Ahh. Thank you for that clarification!


"Ich trinke Tee" is used to represent both present tense (I drink Tea) and present continuous tense (I am drinking Tea). If u say "Ich bin trinke Tee", it'll translate to something like "I am drink Tee". However, if u want perfect tense, it'll be "Ich habe Tee getrunken" (I have drunk/have been drinking Tee).


The English present progressive. that Watya describes of the intent of this sentence which should often have to understand even if there is a mistake in the original so as to translate it into an understanding state. the question would be do you translate the mistake or to you correct it and then translate. Now there is a dilemma was the writer intended the mistake as a point to be made. Where stands the translator in all of this?

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