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Bären vs Bär

Guten tag Duolingers! What's the difference between Bären and Bär, fellow Duolingers, because both of the words are different but still they have a same meaning (bears) and I am confused of when to use them. So please help me friends, and pull me out of this pit. If they really share the same translation of 'bears', are they interchangeable? Thanks in advance!

June 20, 2018


  • 1139

It would be helpful to know your specific sentence.

Bären can not only be plural (all cases), but also accusative, dative and genitive singular:

Accusative (direct object) - ich sehe den Bären (I see the bear) Plural: Ich sehe die Bären

Dative (indirect object) - er hilft dem Bären (he helps the bear). Plural: Er hilft den Bären

Genitive - die Höhle des Bären (the cave of the bear). Plural: Die Höhle der Bären

That means, the uninflected form Bär is only nominative singular, every other form in singular and plural is Bären.

Nominative (subject) - Der Bär lebt im Wald (the bear lives in the forest). Plural: Die Bären leben im Wald.


After further thinking, you are right. Geht alles nach Plan, werden wir den Bären vermutlich gar nicht sehen. I feel so arrogant :p

Have a lingot


What about the translation Duolingo gave in Plurals, that bãr can be translated as bears. What does Duolingo mean by that?


It is a bit off topic here but I just remembered there is a nice phrase: "Jemanden einen Bären aufbinden" which means that somebody is telling a lie and is so convincing that the other people actually believe it.. ;-))))


interesting :)
I expected aufbinden to mean tie up, but when i looked, it seemed to mean both untie and tie something on... practically opposites. So the question is: when you use this phrase, are you imagining a bear being let loose, or something being tied to a bear? (I'm hoping it's the latter because of the accusative jemanden, and also because it's such a nice image.)

  • 1139

because of the accusative jemanden

There’s a typo in Birgit’s post. It should be “jemandem einen Bären aufbinden”.

There are a few exceptions (e.g. with time expressions), but generally a sentence cannot have 2 accusative objects. If you have two objects, one generally is the direct accusative, the other the indircet dative object. The dative object is the recipient of the action, on our case, the person, who gets the bear tied to him.

I imagine a person with a bear tied to his back as a burden he has to carry (there are etymylogic links to the verb to bear (to carry a burden, to bring as in bearer of good news) also in German: gebären (give birth).


thank you, Jileha. Interesting and informative.


facepalm Thank you, Jileha.. This was the second time you had to to clean up behind me.. I hope I will learn from it.. Have a lingot.. :-))

  • 1139

Been there, done that, needed a clean-up crew myself plenty of times! :)

Forum discussions are team work!


Good to know, I am not the only one.., hopefully, I will manage to take a second look before posting the next time.. Thank you.. I appreciate it.. :-))


Nice to see someone else using etymology to explain vocabulary. IMHO, etymology is one of the most useful things in learning a language. It can even enhance the understanding of one's mother tongue.


Nice to see someone else using etymology

I agree, a bit of etymology is nice. Funnily enough, i read today that nice comes from two Indo-European roots meaning cut and not.... not sure how helpful that is though :)


Aye sire, thanks for this bit of knowledge too.I can imagine how cool the Indonesians feel, when they hear a European saying 'nice'! Well, if only they knew the origin of that word :》


A wise man once said that one of the hardest things to do in life is to paint a mustache on a bear, but afterwards it almost never seems worthwhile.


Bär is a weak noun. Weak nouns always receive an -(e)n ending if they're not the subject of the sentence (nominative case) and singular in number. All weak nouns are masculine and can normally be spotted by ending in -ant, -ast, -ent, -et, -ist, etc. But there are a handful of other masculine nouns like Herr, Mensch, Bär, Prinz, Bauer, Christ, etc. that just have to be memorized.


Duolingo often create sentences properly and logically. But now, I see the limitations of Duolingo by this sentence which I found in a post of the same title "Der Bär trinkt Bier" (The bear drinks beer). And now I just can't stop laughing over it! :- )

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