1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "He is a good boy."

"He is a good boy."

Translation:Er ist ein guter Junge.

March 29, 2013

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carokhan

Why it is "guter" and not "gut" ??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

To put it simply, when the article does not give enough information to determine gender and case you must add the appropriate ending to the attributive adjective.

In this example, Junge is in the nominative case. Since both Masculine and Neuter Nouns take the indefinite article "ein" in the nominative, a case ending is required on the attributive adjective to help distinguish the gender and case of the noun. (Here are two examples to illustrate: "Er ist ein guter Junge." Masculine in Nominative case, and "Es ist ein gutes M├Ądchen." Neuter in Nominative case. This is different than with definite articles in the Nominative case, since they clearly differentiate the genders of the noun and as result all take definite article + "gute".)

(Why this is so I cannot say, as I was simply told that this is the way that it is done in German. My guess is that at some point it mattered more when word order was less standard and as a result the cases were more critical to the understanding of sentences.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laylamou

Thank you. This was very helpful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vincent183001

Shouldn't it be accusative case? er is the subject and boy is the direct object, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

No, the "to be" verb (sein) uses the nominative case both before and after the verb with both nouns being treated like the subject (nominative case).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Agrionemys

But shouldn't the "Er", and the "Junge" give the information? Maybe you're right about the word order mattering more a different time... Have to remember German is old as dirt lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

They do give that information, but in German you are required to decline attributive adjectives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonVBlack

Any chance at a simpler explanation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adolf618982

Can someone sau this in 2 sentences or pess with normal language?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hohenems

It is in the nominative case, Junge = masculine, ein = indefinite article. All of this together should help you find your answer in this mixed inflection chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_declension#Mixed_inflection.5B6.5D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMehdi

Why guter Sohn is not correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

because "Sohn" means "son" and not "boy".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMehdi

I got it, I speak Persian and in that language son and boy share same word so I had confused them in both English and German. Thanks for the trigger!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

This might be a little off topic; but does that mean that in Persian you add a possessive to make "the boy" into "his/her son".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMehdi

Yes exactly. If I want to say "son" I would say "my boy". The words for girl/daughter and son/boy are the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

That's why I like this program/website (duolingo); Full sentences/complete concepts are far more important than word-specific word-for-word translations.

That's why I think the lists of words other languages don't have a "word" for are funny. The real question should be, "Do they have a way to express the concept?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMehdi

And have a Lingot since I enjoyed this simple answer a lot!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CheesyPie3

Not all dogs are good boys....

Some are good girls.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dickruz

Why can't we say Er ist einen guten Junge?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathan.potter

Since "ist" (sein) is the "to be" verb, both "er" and "ein guter Junge" must be in the nominative case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/genoskill

He dindu nuffin.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.