"These are a dog and a cat."
Translation:Das sind ein Hund und eine Katze.
I went with 'Diese sind ein Hund und eine Katze'. But - there's a slight problem - in the course up to now, you've never been introduced to 'These' - Diese. It's always 'This/That' - Das. I know it from school so I wrote it down as it should be.
To introduce new things or people, German always uses singular neuter, dies/das/es. Dies sind meine Eltern. Das ist meine Frau. Es ist mein Hund. Only if the reference of the pronoun was already given before or is directly given after a demonstrative pronoun, the pronoun agrees in number and gender. Diese Frau ist meine Mutter. Ich habe viele Haustiere, dieses ist meine Katze Elfriede. Das ist meine Frau, ich habe sie vor 20 Jahren kennengelernt.
Dies ist used to refer to something new, regardless of number and gender. To refer to something introduced before that is singular neuter, you can't use dies, but only dieses.
Dies das and es are also used to refer to entire sentences and ideas that have not been named with a specific word, e.g. Ein Hund ist keine Katze. Das weißt du.
Thanks for you answer! I really, really do appreciate it. I have another question though... In the sentence 'These are a dog and a cat' we use plural for this- "these". Shouldn't it be this way in German too? I mean - we introduce them with 'Diese'? In the sentence 'Dies sind meine Eltern' - it's one word that describes both of the parents at the same time- just like in English. But in 'These are a dog and a cat.' - we have 2 objects to introduce - the dog, and the cat. So shouldn't we use in fact 'Diese' just like in English we use 'These' and not 'This is a cat and a dog'?
P.S. What i am trying to say is that in English we use 'These' so that we know that there is more than 1 object. And after that we clarify it further by saying that the one object is a dog, and the other is a cat. Isn't it the same in German too?
In the introduction we use the words dies, das and es, which are all singular neuter, but used for any gender and number. So I could as well have said "Das/Es sind meine Eltern" ("Es" in case that someone would ask me who is at the door, or who is calling me). Only after the introduction we switch to the correct number and gender pronouns, unlike in English.
PS: As I tried to explain above, this applies only to pronomial use, when a noun is replaced by the pronoun. Attributively used demonstratives always agree with the noun to which they are attributed, i.e. I would say "Dies sind ...", but "Diese Tiere sind ..." or "Diese Beiden sind ..."
Now I got it. Thank you so much for taking your time to explain this to me. :)
It's also correct, it just sounds a bit more formal using dies instead of das. Das I'd use in everyday language, while in a formal context dies ist better.
I guess the question I have is: why would the folks running the show here at Duolingo pose a translation question like this before introducing the concept of "these"? I'm a relative newcomer to German, and there's simply no way for me to have known. Besides, "der, die, das" so far as has been used in the course have only been used as "the/that". One presupposes (and I would think rightly) that the forms in German for "these" should be as different as they are in English.
I feel that this is an example of how basically duoLingo is not a teaching platform. It certainly didn't teach anything here in this instance.
Why is it sometimes "ein Hund" and other times "einen Hund"? How can I know which one to use and when?
Ein Hund is nominative (subject or after werden, sein), einen Hund is an accusative object (~ direct object).
The answer is right above; in fact, you've posted in response to the answer rather than the question. If something is still unclear, please specify what you're having troubles with :)
Because it's not a direct object (nor an indirect object, for that matter). ‘Dog’ here is a subject predicative: a qualifier for the subject linked to it by a copula (aka ‘linking verb’), like ‘to be’, ‘to become’, ‘to feel’ (as in ‘I feel tired’), ‘to resemble’. Subject predicatives take the same case as subject—namely, the nominative.
I think "Das ist ein Hund und eine Katze" ist the correct translation for this sentence.
"ein Hund und eine Katze" is a list or enumeration, so it's a plural and you have to use sind. Of course you can split it in two clauses and say "das ist ein Hund und das ist eine Katze", then you have two clauses with a singular in each. Das ist ein Hund und eine Katze would mean that "it" is a dog and a cat at the same time, not two animals....
I would not call your sentence wrong from the meaning since itmay be a semicommon ellipsis, but if you translate word by word, it is wrong.
Das ist ein Hund und (das ist) eine Katze. = That is a dog and (that is) a cat.
The english sentence uses the plural verb and so you should do the same in german.
Still sounds broken to me; "These are a dog and a cat"? It makes more sense if I'm saying 'these are dogs and cats', but if I'm pointing out two things I'd just say this is/that is.
Technically, ‘these are a dog and a cat’ is correct and using ‘this is’ is prescriptively ungrammatical; but, descriptively, existential phrases like these do tend to be used more commonly in the singular irrespective of number (especially when the first term of a list is singular), although that's more common with ‘there is/are’ (the commonly accepted ‘there's a dog and a cat’ as opposed to the technically correct ‘there are a dog and a cat’). I think calling ‘these are a dog and a cat’ broken English is ill-advised though, at best, it's obsolescent.
Maybe broken is the wrong term. Just trying to offer some insight as a Native English speaker that it sounds off to my commoner ears. If someone asked me "What are those?" while pointing to a singular dog and a singular cat next to me, I'd reply "This is a dog and a cat" instead of "These are a dog and a cat". Not to say either statement is technically incorrect, but to me using 'these' implies to me that you're addressing more than one of the same thing verses two different singular things. I understand using 'these' better if I phrase it like "These are animals; a dog and a cat" because I am referring to two animals, but they're different. But English is weird, so what do I know. Haha It doesn't sound terribly off and is probably more proper to use 'these' but my ears were shocked enough to chime into the conversation.
Your contribution is definitely appreciated (and, as a native speaker, your opinion on common usage is invaluable). I just wanted to point out that it's a more complicated issue than just ‘a is wrong, b is right’ (not that that's what you were implying, I was just providing a counterargument so that both sides could be evaluated by users).
But this is German isn't it? It's wrong to compare the grammar of two languages. Each language has its own properties.
I thought it's supposed to be Dog=Hund, not Hündin. Why should it say that i was wrong by writing Hund????
I don't know. Did you write "eine Hund"? In that case Duo might propose you "eine Hündin" because you used a female article with a masculine noun (=> ein Hund). Otherwise I have no idea.
Das würde „there are a dog and a cat“ bedeuten. Auch dann, müsste „Hund“ im Akkusativ stehen, also „es gibt einen Hund“.
Bitte merken Sie auch, dass bei einer Frage auf Deutsch der Verb an der zweiten Stelle stehen muss, also: „warum ist […] falsch?*“.
Ich korrigiere Sie, nur weil ich glaube, es sei für eine/n Lerner/in nützlich; außerdem bin ich auch Lerner und mache allemal Fehler, wahrscheinlich auch bei diesem Kommentar :)
How do I know when to use Das, Dies, Diese, Dieses, etc (if there are more)? Too many confusion...