"It is only four degrees."
Translation:Es sind nur vier Grad.
But it is wrong.
Correct sentences are:
"Es ist nur vier Grad warm."
"Es ist nur vier Grad kalt."
"Es sind vier Grad."
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?"
"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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
"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.".
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?
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.
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.
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.
"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!"
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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°".