1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "It is only four degrees."

"It is only four degrees."

Translation:Es sind nur vier Grad.

April 5, 2013

86 Comments


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

Why is it "sind"? Is it also possible to say "Es ist nur vier Grad (aus)"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

"Es ist nur vier Grad" was accepted for me.


[deactivated user]

    But it is wrong.

    Correct sentences are:

    "Es ist nur vier Grad warm."

    "Es ist nur vier Grad kalt."

    "Es sind vier Grad."


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

    Warum es ist falsch?


    [deactivated user]

      It is incomplete. A typical ambiguous short form. When you talk about the weather it might be ok when you have agreed on the unit to measure in, but in general it is wrong because it could be:

      grad: Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, Rankine, Delisle, Reaumur. My teacher would have said, "Four degrees of what?"


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

      That doesn't answer the question. Sind doesn't clarify which degrees you are talking about


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G.mack

      And what that has to do with using singular or plural?


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

      If I were to say this in the USA, we would assume that Fahrenheit is the unit; in Deutschland, Celsius. It helps to use the full set of words. It isn't necessary.


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

      What about: Es hat vier Grad? Duolingo says its wrong


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

      Imho it should be accepted, too. I'm from Bavaria and here this is perfectly fine to say.


      [deactivated user]

        "Es hat vier Grad" Is Swiss German or Schweitzerdeutsch. You may hear that in Germany or some derivatives in South Germany but it is not German. Duo is right, it is not correct German.


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

        We say it so in Austria too. Here 'es sind vie Grad' sounds strange.


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

        Ja, absolut Umgangssprache in De. Sollte akzeptiert werden.


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

        Oh brother! That's confusing. Are there reasons for it or just because???


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sergio64747

        to my understanding: being 'four degrees' a plural, 'es sind' is used. If one would say 'there is one degree', then 'es ist ein Grad' should be used


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Herbstzeitlose-

        There are multiple degrees, so plural it is.


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

        Would "Grade" ever be used when referring to temperature?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Herbstzeitlose-

        No. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen "Grad" in plural form.


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

        The only example that comes to my mind is when you use it as a synonym for temperature: 'Die Grade steigen' meaning it becomes hotter. But this usage is a) rare and b) even somewhat poetic. So, apart from rare exceptions, it's virtually always used in singular.


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

        I'm more puzzled now. If Grad is singular, then why is sind?

        BTW, I wrote Es ist nur 4 Grad and DL accepted it. So both ist and sind are OK?


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

        @BettyJJ: Yes, both are possible. You can use "Grad" as a counting operator: "Es sind vier Grad", this usage is analogous to the use of "Bier" in "Wir hätten gerne drei Bier".


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

        @Hohenems: you wouldn't use the word 'Grad' in that situation, rather 'Skala' or 'Einheit'


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

        Would you say "Es ist Bier Uhr" or "Es sind Bier Uhr"? In Australia we say "It's Beer O'clock" meaning it's time for a beer.


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

        Thanks for pointing out the dative...

        What about in use like Bier/Biere. If you said something like "temperature is shown in one of two degrees: Fahrenheit or Celcius." Awkward, but would it be plural?


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

        @pellucidon: No, that doesn't work in German. (Or rather: The pun may work but it's not a common thing to say)


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

        Thanks. I've been looking up Grad and Grade, but the only time I can find "Grade" is in example sentences like this "bis zu einem gewissen Grad[e]" that show both singular and plural are acceptable, but I can't find use of Grade when talking about temperatures. Thanks again for the confirmation!


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

        In your example, 'Grade' is not a plural form but an alternative dative declension. (German declension is... - you know)


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johann-kokos

        I found "Grade" used in Thomas Mann's novel "Magic Mountain".

        "in hohem Grade" means "to a large extent"


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

        "in hohem Grade" means "to a large extent"

        That's the old-fashioned form of the dative singular, not plural.


        [deactivated user]

          But surely the subject of the verb is 'es', so the singular of the verb should be used. I do not see why the object of the verb changes it from the singular to plural.


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

          There is no object here. "Vier Grad" is a subject predicative. In a predicative nominative, "es" and "das" can refer to nouns of all gender and number. If they refer to plural nouns (here disguised by use of the singular counting operator as pointed out above), the verb has to agree with the predicative.


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

          Both of those links are dead.


          [deactivated user]

            Thanks, I hope that I can remember that.


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

            One source of confusion: in English, the pronoun "it" is always singular. We always say "it is only four degrees" (and never "it are four degrees.")

            In German, "es" is a stand-in for the subject, and is singular or plural depending on what the subject is. (It behaves more like English "there is /there are.")

            So English speakers are puzzled about "es sind" -- can "es" be combined with a plural verb? Really?

            But the German speakers, for whom "es sind" and "es ist" are both natural, are wondering whether "Grad" is singular or plural.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katberry4

            That's right!


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P.Loewe

            Klingt für mich als Deutschsprecherin etwas holprig- wie wenn noch ein Wort fehlen würde. Würde "Es hat nur vier Grad" bevorzugen (österreichische Wortwahl?! gg)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
            Mod

              Both should work, I guess (after conferring with a German from BW). Report it?


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Renate79

              why not "es gibt nur 4 Grad"?


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

              that would be "there are only four degrees"


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

              I guess depending on the context it could be correct


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

              I can't think of a context where "es gibt nur 4 Grad" could be possible.

              On the other hand, "es gibt nur 4 Grade" (Grade being plural) is possible, if you speak about degrees of something, for example "es gibt 3 Grade von Verbrennungen".


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/think.green

              "Es sind nur vier Grad." can be a description of the current situation and "Es gibt nur vier Grad." can be a forecast for tomorrow. Both sentences are about the temperature outside, not about academic titles, school grades or the severity of skin burns.

              I think "Es gibt nur vier Grad." should not be translated as "It is only four degrees.", because the first sentence is a forecast. Perhaps "It will be only four degrees." might be a proper translation of "Es gibt nur vier Grad.".

              Here in the south of Germany everybody says "Es hat vier Grad." instead of "Es sind vier Grad.". The discussions here already revealed, that this is not correct German. The same way it is possible that "Es gibt nur vier Grad." is also understood only here in the south of Germany. I think "Morgen wird es vier Grad kalt." or "Morgen wird es nur vier Grad warm." is better German than "Morgen gibt es nur vier Grad.".


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

              The same way it is possible that "Es gibt nur vier Grad." is also understood only here in the south of Germany.

              Quite likely.

              To me, from the north, it simply sounds wrong -- a sentence with no understandable meaning at all.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/think.green

              Thanks for your clarification. :-)

              Wir können alles!

              Außer Hochdeutsch.

              https://www.bw-jetzt.de/


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

              So, i just said this sentence but my microphone picked it up as "Es ist bloß vier Grad", and apparently that is correct as well. What in the world does that sentence mean and how is it used? : /


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
              Mod

                bloß = "merely"

                "Merely" is like saying "...and that is very little".


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

                Bonus word lol thanks for posting


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

                'es hat nur..' so why not have a little schwaebisch?


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

                Beides klingt für mich falsch, aber das liegt wohl am "southern regionalism", also mindestens Niederbayern und Oberösterreich ;-) Wie wäre es, mit "Es ist nur vier Grad warm" als Lösung, dann stellt sich doch die Frage nach Plural oder Singular gar nicht erst. Oder auch "Draussen sind (es) nur 4 Grad", dann sollte es doch immer Plurarl sein, oder? Ja und dann gibt es da noch "Draussen herrschen 4 Grad". - oder ist das auch wieder "regionalsim"? Und wenn wir schon dabei sind, ab wann ist etwas "regionalism" und ab wann eine akzeptierte Variante?


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

                I went through all the comments and I am still confused about the singular Grad used instead of the plural form. Is it something related to degrees only or to all of the measurement units or is it an overall rule? Are the following correct?

                • es sind nur drei Kilogramm;
                • es sind nur zehn Meter;
                • es sind nur fünf Tassen;
                • es sind nur drei Männer.

                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P.Loewe

                Hi, die Beispiele sind korrekt. Anmerkung: Großschreibung im Deutschen beachten: Meter und Kilogramm ;)

                Im Deutschen gibt es einige sogenannte "Singulariatantum". Das sind Verben ohne neu gebildetes Plural. Grad-Grad, Geld-Geld, Kilogramm-Kilogramm, etc.. Entgegen dazu: Tasse-Tassen, Mann-Männer.


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

                Thanks, the Kilogramm and Meter are now capitalized :)


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

                Yes, measurement seems to use a singular after numbers in general -- this includes currency (drei Euro, vier Pfund, sechs Dollar) but also applies to drei Kilogramm, zehn Meter, vier Grad etc.

                Note that with Meter, you can't tell the difference anyway; the plural would be die Meter.

                I would say eine Entfernung von zehn Metern, though, which looks like dative plural. But ein Gewicht von drei Kilogramm.


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertoM.O

                Es ist einfach vier Grad?


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/think.green

                "Vier Grad" ist ungemütlich kalt. Deswegen halte ich es für viel wahrscheinlicher, dass der Sprecher ausdrücken will: "Es sind nur vier Grad."

                Die Übersetzung "Es sind einfach vier Grad." könnte natürlich in ganz speziellen Kontexten auch zutreffen:
                Er: "Vier Grad plus, Wind um Nordost, Stärke 7 bis 8, 1025 Hektopascal, Heiter bis Wolkig, 62% Luftfeuchte, gefühlte Temperatur minus zwei Grad." Sie: "Nee, mach's doch nicht so kompliziert, das kann sich doch kein Mensch merken. Es sind einfach vier Grad. Basta!"


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                Mod

                  English interpretation: "It is only four degrees" is emphasising that it is cold. This would even work if talking in degrees Fahrenheit, where "It is only 35 degrees" is still cold, even though the 'number of degrees' is higher.

                  The only time you would say "it is simply (einfach) four degrees" is when you are literally wanting to simplify someone's description of the weather that was otherwise too complicated. In the example given by 'think.green', a guy is giving sooo many unneccesary details about the weather, when someone just wanted to know the temperature. She says "No, don't make it so complicated - it's simply four degrees!". In saying this, there is no emphasis on it being cold anymore.


                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/think.green

                  Thank you very much for your translation! :-)


                  [deactivated user]

                    Why not 'Grade'? As a plural.


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Herbstzeitlose-

                    Yes, you'd use the plural there ("in einem von zwei Graden") — but the proper term is "scales".


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

                    You and wataya both said that "Grad" wouldn't be used in this sentence, so I'll drop it. Thanks!


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kash.manchan

                    What about Abschlüsse, instead of Grad?


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/esgerman12

                    In the end of the school you get "Abschluss"


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

                    In college I was taught "es betragt" for temperatures by native German speakers. Is this right or am I remembering incorrectly?


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/esgerman12

                    No, "beträgt is used where a sum of numbers or prices.


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

                    Yes, you can say that but it sounds very formal. On TV a weather presenter might say "Die Temperatur in Wien beträgt 20 Grad". In Austria, colloquial is: "Es hat 20 Grad".


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

                    Why not either "It's only four degrees Celsius" or "It's only four degrees centigrade"?


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                    Mod

                      Nothing in the original sentence says "Celsius/Centigrade". It could be degrees Fahrenheit, angular, or mathematical.


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

                      Doch, dies ist der Abschnitt des Wetters!


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

                      One year later, I respectfully disagree. I translated it as "It is only 4 degrees Centigrade." and was marked wrong. Should have been "It is only 4 degrees." However, as a citizen of the U.S. who has visited relatives in Germany and India, has lived in the Middle East, and friends from all over the world, I have found it very necessary to always specify whether I am speaking Centigrade or Fahrenheit. This is especially true as I live in an are where the weather is extremely volatile. We can start off with a temperature of 85 in the morning and 30 at night. My Scottish friend would be under the impression that I am still in the Middle East, or perhaps in Death Valley or the Gobi desert. C or F is crucial to me, and I suspect to many others.


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

                      And so if you were speaking German, you would specify "Grad Celsius" or "Grad Fahrenheit".

                      But just "Grad" by itself does not refer to any particular scale.


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gary54437

                      Doesn't "es" refer to the implied "temperatur", Which is singular? So I just can't understand why "sind" and not "ist"? ?


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

                      Okay, I understand that 'vier Grad' is plural and 'sind' is for plural things, but doesn't the verb agree with the number of the nominative subject not the predicate?? I didn't think you could use 'sind' with 'es', just like you can't say 'it are' in English.

                      So... Why is 'es sind' accepted?


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cyph0r
                      • 1832

                      You are completely right, my mother tongue is kind of crazy. Perhaps this explanation by canoo.net provides first aid in such cases of using "es": http://t1p.de/opm9
                      But there are still a lot of other crazy kinds "es" is used in German as you can see on this overview page: http://t1p.de/0vhv
                      HTH :-)


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

                      Ah okay! Die Links sind sehr hilfreich! Vielen Dank! :-)


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PushythePirate1

                      I put down "Ist nur vier Grad." and it said it was wrong and that the correct solution is "Es ist nur vier Grad." I get it that I didn't put in the 'it' but in German is the 'it' always necessary? I am pretty sure that in Spanish (which I'm better at), you can put 'Es solamente..." without putting in the 'it'. I keep on messing this up in German.


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

                      Yes, it's necessary in German, just like in English - you can't say "is only 4 degrees" either. Spanish is not similar to German; it's more like Italian, where you can also leave out the pronoun.


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

                      Isn't this precisely like saying "It are four degrees?" German and English grammar are similar enough that this shouldn't be right, yes?


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

                      Es sind vier Grad is correct in German, with plural verb sind agreeing with vier Grad.

                      "It are four degrees" is incorrect in English, I would say.

                      Compare also things such as "Those are horses" = Das sind Pferde.

                      German uses neuter singular for some introductory subjects but the verb may still agree in number with a following plural noun.


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

                      This sentence sounds weird for me. The plural of Grad is Grade. The verb is plural because vier Grade is the subject here. https://de.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Grad


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

                      The plural of Grad is not very relevant here, because German usually uses the singular in measurements such as weights, currency, temperature, etc.

                      vier Grade would mean "four individual degrees" (e.g. academic degrees, or four intervals of one degree in temperature), but not the measurement "4°".


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

                      I have learned something new today. I have been using German for years, even been in interview with Süd Deutscher Rundfunk once. They complimented my language, but I'm Norwegian. Thanx for your comment


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seamus-42

                      I had learned "Es gibt nur vier Grad". Is that now archaic, or was I just taught wrong?


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

                      "Es hat nur vier Grad" needs to be accepted!!

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