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  5. "Du liest ein Buch."

"Du liest ein Buch."

Translation:You read a book.

April 9, 2013



why is ti ein and not einen?


"Buch" is neuter (Das Buch) and "einen" is the accusative case which only affects masculine nouns.


i thought einen was for feminine nouns? ö correct me if i'm wrong, please!


No. Einen belongs to masculine nouns. It is the indefinite article when the noun is used as an direct object (called Akkusativ in German).

Ein Mann liest ein Buch (Mann is subject (Nominativ) hence ein)

Sie hat einen Mann (Mann is direct object ein --> einen)


ah! i got mixed up with eine and einen. thanks!


Well,its a bit confusing because the case and gender matters. Ill try to make it simple. I'll write how the ending of ein and der form changes.

1.Nominative - (the usual subject in a sentence) Mas-Neu-Fem(order) - ein -ein-eine, der-das-die

2.Accusative - (the object in a sentence) Mas-Neu-Fem(order) - einen-ein-eine,den-das-die

3.Dative - (the indirect object in a sentence) Mas-Neu-Fem(order) - Einem-einem-einer,dem-dem-der

4.Genitive -( sentence showing possesion) Mas-Neu-Fem(order) - Eines-eines-einer,des-des-der

Now the explanation for cases:- 1.The nominative one is just the case for subject in a sentence. I hope that wont be difficult to understand.

2.Accusative is used for the object in a sentence. In english the word order is subject verb object. And changing the word order changes the meaning of the sentence in most cases.

But in German , the word order can be changed. It is with the help of the cases. If the article used for the object is of different form which is not used for subject, one would be able to identify the object.

So Accusative case is used for object.

3.Dative is used when a sentence have indirect object. Consider the below sentence , 'boy' threw a 'ball' to a 'dog'

So clearly boy is the subject.

Object is ball.(just ask 'what' to verb to get the object of sentence) threw what? - ball

So the dog is the indirect object here. We use dative case for dog here to denote it is an indirect object.

  1. Genitive is used to denote possession.

Eg Lady's bag / Bag of the lady.

In English the 'of' preposition helps to understand whose object is the bag. In German the genitive case is used for 'lady' to make it understandable .

If any mistake is there in my explanation, experts,please correct it. Im also a beginner in learning German.

I shared it here hoping some will get helped by this.


Im confused. Yes I'm a bigginer and thought ein was a and einen was an. Einen Apfel?? An apple or no.


Nah! Go to the 1st table on this German Wikipedia page for the conjugation table of ein. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artikel_(Wortart)#Formen_der_deutschen_Artikel


Not so easy, unfortunately. German doesn't have an a/an distinction like English does, rather they use articles to show the function of a noun in the sentence.

German has three (arguably four because of the plural) grammatical genders and four grammatical cases.

Let's take a look at these words. The masculine Junge (English: boy), the feminine Frau (English: woman), the neuter: Mädchen (English: girl), and the plural Männer (English: men). And we'll use the adjective traurig (English: sad).

The nominative case is the subject, or the actor of the sentence. It shows who performs the action of the verb. We will use the predicate sieht/sehen den Mond (English: sees/see the moon).

Using the indefinite articles (German: ein/eine; English: a/an) gives us:

Ein trauriger Junge sieht den Mond. / Eine traurige Frau sieht den Mond. / Ein trauriges Mädchen sieht den Mond. / Traurige Männer sehen den Mond.

Definite articles (German: der/die/das; English: the) gives us:

Der traurige Junge sieht den Mond. / Die traurige Frau sieht den Mond. / Das traurige Mädchen sieht den Mond. / Die traurigen Männer sehen den Mond.

The accusative case is typically the direct object. It shows who receives the action of the verb. We will use Ich liebe (English: I love)

Indefinite articles (German: einen/eine/ein) gives us:

Ich liebe einen traurigen Jungen. / Ich liebe eine traurige Frau. / Ich liebe ein trauriges Mädchen. / Ich liebe traurige Männer.

Definite articles (German: den/die/das) gives us:

Ich liebe den traurigen Jungen. / Ich liebe die traurige Frau. / Ich liebe das trauriges Mädchen. / Ich liebe die traurigen Männer.

The dative case typically shows the indirect object of a verb, that is something that does not directly receive the action of the verb, but is not the subject. It is important to note that certain verbs and prepositions demand the dative case and they may not necessarily have a reason why. Here, we will use Er geht mit (English: He goes with).

Indefinite articles (German: einem/einer) gives us:

Er geht mit einem traurigen Jungen. / Er geht mit einer traurigen Frau. / Er geht mit einem traurigen Mädchen. / Er geht mit traurigen Männern.

Definite articles (German: dem/der/den) gives us:

Er geht mit dem traurigen Jungen. / Er geht mit der traurigen Frau. / Er geht mit dem traurigen Mädchen. / Er geht mit den traurigen Männern.

The genitive case is used, in almost all circumstances, to show possession. We will use the noun Der Hund (English: the dog).

Indefinite articles (German: eines/einer) gives us:

Der Hund eines traurigen Jungen / Der Hund einer traurigen Frau / Der Hund eines traurigen Mädchens

Definite articles (des/der) gives us:

Der Hund des traurigen Jungen / Der Hund der traurigen Frau / Der Hund des traurigen Mädchens / Der Hund der traurigen Männer

Some things to keep in mind:

~Some masculine nouns (Junge is one) are called “weak nouns” and that means they will take an -n/-en ending in ever case except the nominative.

~Oftentimes, plural nouns may take an -n ending in the dative case.

~All nouns use the same articles in the plural.

~Many masculine and neuter nouns take an -s/-es ending in the genitive.


That confuses me too, which is why it sometimes take me longer to finish it.


Thanks for that bit of info


Oh ok know i get it. danke Karlchen123


No. Feminine for ^a^ is eine


What do you mean only affects masculine nouns? Where did you get it? In the table of indefinite articles, neutral is the same as masculine.


In German, only masculine (singular) words have a different form for the accusative case compared to the nominative case.

Neuter, feminine, and plural words look the same in the nominative and accusative.

I’m not sure which “the table of indefinite articles” you saw, but the masculine and neuter indefinite articles only look the same in the nominative, genitive, and dative cases — not in the accusative.


Wait!! can you say Das Apfel or do you have to say Der Apfel because its masculine?


It's der Apfel when it is the subject and den Apfel when it is the direct object. das Apfel is not possible.


The gender of Apfel is not neuter. It's masculine.


das Apfel is possible when its in genetive case, though!

Edit: As per karlchen123, Yes, its des Apfels in genetive case. My bad.


No. It would be des Apfels


@abhinav4848 That wouldn't necessarily work, because ANYONE can change Wikipedia if they have an account.


Wait, so i should know this, but das = neuter, die =fem and der = masc?


I thought die was plural?


It is as well feminine as plural.


Presumably this is the same as "you are reading a book", correct?


Yes. "Du liest ein Buch" can mean both "you read a book" and "you are reading a book."


Im confused. In english "you read (pronounced "red")" implies a past action, but isn't "Du liest" a present action ?


I was referring to read in the present tense.


Thank you that clears everything up !


Du liest ein buch - You are reading a book or You are reading one book or You read a book. can someone explain me on the above.


all of them are correct, you cant distinct whether "you are reading" or "you are read". For the "one or a", i think there's no difference between them in that word. correct me if i'm wrong.


How do you decide between Du and Ihr?


du is singular and ihr is plural


Are you speaking to one person or more than one.....


Is this past tense or present? I want to think its a stern command to read a book now.


Present. Commands use a different conjugation and sentence structure, called the 'imperative mood'.


I am having so much trouble understanding all the different accusative case words and how to use them.


Do you mean the declensions for accusative case? If not, I have no idea what "accusative case words" are. The only difference between nominative and accusative definite articles is the masculine case where accusative is den and nominative is der. Also, the indefinite article for masculine accusative case simply has the -en suffix.


I still didn't understand about ein and einen..


The comments have some good explanations, so please read them if you haven't already. Duolingo also has lesson tips pages too, if you use the web version and scroll down before starting the exercises. The first lesson teaches you that nouns have gender and you need to match other words to the gender. That's all you need to understand ein Buch in this sentence. Then the lesson on 'accusative case' tells you when to use einen.


what is the difference between eine, ein and einen?


Well, there are two things affecting the ending of "ein" - grammatical gender as well as case.

Each noun (if you didn't know this already) has a grammatical gender - feminine, masculine, or neuter. The definite (words like "the" - die, der, das, den, dem) and indefinite (words like "a" - ein, einen, eine, einem) articles in front of a word change due to the grammatical gender.

Each noun is also assigned a "case" in German, depending on its function in a sentence. There are four cases - nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. In English these aren't as important, but they change the articles in German.

In nominative case, where the noun is the subject of the sentence (the noun doing the action of the sentence), the articles are as follows:


Masculine - der, Feminine - die, Neuter - das, Plural - die


Masculine - ein, Feminine - eine, Neuter - ein, Plural - (k)eine (you can't have "a" before a plural noun in German, just like in English)

In accusative case, where the noun is the direct object of the sentence (the noun that the action of the sentence is being done to), the articles are like this:


Masculine - den, Feminine - die, Neuter - das, Plural - die


Masculine - einen, Feminine - eine, Neuter - ein, Plural - (k)eine

Dative case has to do with the indirect object of the sentence, which is harder to explain, and you won't need this this early on in the lessons, but here are the articles:


Masculine - dem, Feminine - der, Neuter - dem, Plural - den


Masculine - einem, Feminine - einer, Neuter - einem, Plural (k)einen

Genitive case isn't nearly as common, and is kind of like a possessive case. You can read more about it in the wikipedia article I'm linking.

Maybe this was overkill, but I hope it helps!



Is there an easy way to tell the gender of the word?


Unfortunately not, most of the time :( You just need to remember it when you learn the word!


Can we use 'Lesen' instead of 'liest' here?


As in du lesen ein Buch ? No.

du goes with liest.

lesen would be appropriate for one of wir, sie, Sie as the subject.


I thought ein was the number one and that Eine was a.


No. ein, eine are used for both "one" and "a, an".

And which one of ein, eine to use depends on the grammatical gender of the following word.


Thanks, after I thought about it a bit more, it made sense.


The verb read isnt "lesen"? And thus isnt it "Du lest"?


The verb is lesen, yes. But it's not du lest.

Some verbs change -e- to -i- or -ie- in the du and er, sie, es forms; this is one of them.

So we say du liest and er liest.

Two other common verbs that do this are geben "to give" and essen "to eat": we say du gibst and er gibt, du isst and er isst.

But the ihr form has the regular vowel -e-: ihr lest; ihr gebt; ihr esst.


why not "liesst" instead of "liest"?


Because that would be wrong.

First, you can't have ss after a diphthong such as ie, and second, the verb is lesen with an -s- and not leßen or lessen with -ß- or -ss-.

Compare essen: er isst where the verb stem already has -ss-.


If you read grammar carefully you don't need to discuss here((


Is there no distinction between the present tenses 'I eat' and 'I am eating' in German?


There is no distinction. Both "I eat" and "I'm eating" translate to "ich esse".


There is... Ich esse gerade, but it's unusual. Actually, I wouldn't use it.


I would use it for example when someone calls while I am eating dinner. I would say Ich esse gerade. Kann ich dich später zurückrufen? (I am eating (right now). Can I call you back later?)


In which case we use Du or Ihr to say you


Ihr translates better into "you all." So it is plural while Du is singular


What's a subject, and what's a direct object in "The man eats an apple"? I'm confused, and my English lessons have clearly slipped. I don't even know what the dative is (indirect object).


"Man" is the subject. The man is who is doing the action. "Apple" is the direct object. It is receiving the action (being eaten).


I heard "Du isst ein Brot" i feel dumb now lol


Why isn't it "You are reading a book"? What's the difference between "you read" and "you are reading"?


There is no difference. Both are grammatically correct translations.

There is a present participle case for all verbs, including lesen "lesend." But no one would say "Du bist ein Buch lesend."

The present participles in German are used when forming adjectives and adverbs. - http://german.about.com/library/bladj_particip03.htm


So what's the difference between using "liest" and "lesen"?


The conjugation. It's like asking what the difference is between "am" and "are" in English: the answer is that they match together with different pronouns: "I am", "you are".

In German, liest matches with du (and some others). But lesen matches with wir (and some others). You can see the full list on sites like Canoo.net.


why is eine a or one how do you know


You just need to decide what sounds best based on the context. Usually that will be "a/an".


do you pronounce "Buch" like book or with a silent h?


Bookmark this site. It has recordings from native-speakers for nearly every word:



Why is it not "eine buch"?


Because Buch is a neuter noun, not a feminine noun. Why is it neuter? No idea. There usually isn't a reason beyond "that's just how the language developed".


My baby brother says "dough east hine fook"


Is there a way to do only those tasks? I find them the ones i learn the most from.


I don't get how it is "ein" not "eine". Don't they both mean "a"?


It could never be "eine Buch" because das Buch is neuter.

If you are using the PC version, make sure to always read the Tips and Notes.


Forcefull if you add exclamation mark "DU LIEST EIN BUCH!


Ah! I got mixed up with wine and einen


when we say 'you are reading a book'


Why not use " lese? "


Because the subject is not ich but rather du.

Much as you can't say "I are reading a book" or "You am reading a book" -- you have to pick the verb form that matches the subject.

ich lese but du liest.


I translated it you are reading a book


While not wrong, I think that this translation should encourage "You are reading a book" over "You read a book" since "read" in English can be in either the past or the present tense.


Can we replace liest with lest?


Can we replace liest with lest?

No. It's always du liest.

lest would be for ihr lest (you -- several people -- are reading).

lesen is one of those verbs where the stem vowel changes from -e- to -ie- in the du and er/sie/es verb forms:

  • ich lese
  • du liest
  • er/sie/es liest
  • wir lesen
  • ihr lest
  • sie/Sie lesen

Similarly with sehen - du siehst, er sieht, ihr seht, for example. And with a different vowel change: geben - du gibst, er gibt, ihr gebt.

Whether a verb changes the vowel like that is something you have to learn; you can't guess just from looking at the verb. For example, stehen has du stehst and leben has du lebst.


Why "du liest einen Buch" Incorrect? The action of reading is exerted on the book. Thanks


Why "du liest einen Buch" Incorrect?

einen is masculine accusative.

Buch is neuter, so you can't use a masculine form of a word with it -- it has to be ein Buch (neuter accusative).


only thing im confused about is when translating ihr or du sentences to English. they are not the same but the same sentence can still apply


For this one, why is it "liest" instead of "lessen"? Because lessen means read and liest means reading.


Because lessen means read and liest means reading.

Er, what?

lessen isn't a word.

The dictionary form is lesen. Which form you use in a sentence depends on the subject:

  • ich lese = I read / I am reading
  • du liest = you [one person] read / you [one person] are reading
  • er/sie/es liest = he/she/it reads / he/she/it is reading
  • wir lesen = we read / we are reading
  • ihr lest = you [several people] read / you [several people] are reading
  • sie lesen = they read / they are reading

Here, the subject is du and so we use du liest.


Thank you so much for this, it is very helpful. Sorry about the misspelling.


I hate the sound of the male voice, he speaks so fast - sounds like a german prick


It sounds like in Portuguese, "Tu leste um [livro]".


How do you know if a sustantive is either neutral or masculine/femenine?


There is no way to work it out, you just have to learn them!


Ouch, that's hard work! Even harder when they are the opposite in my mother tongue :).



You're welcome! It becomes somewhat second-nature though, so don't be put off! :)


Because when you learn the substantive, you learn the article ¸der", ¸die" or ¸das" that goes with it… really, there's no simpler way.


Most of the words that end on an 'e' are feminine' but there are a lot of exceptions. I also think that most fruits are feminine. And i think most animals are masculine. But those aren't really rules theyr'e just guidelines :)


Some endings can sometimes show the grammatical gender of words. For example words ending with -ung, -heit/kein, -schaft, -tion are always feminine and words endings with -chen are neuters, even "das Mädchen" = "the girl".

Otherwise, you've got to learn the genders of nouns by heart...


Most of the words ending with "er" are masculine. All the words ending with "ung" are femenine. There are some rules.


What is tge difference between du snd ihr?


Ihr is for when you say you but are talking to multiple people. Du is for when you say you but are talking to one person


In the akkusativ the article "der" becomes "den" and the other articles are not changed.


I searched this sentence on Google Translate and it doesn't say "You are reading a book" it say "You read a book". I honestly can't wait to be able to learn Japanese.


How do you know the difference between the 3 if them? Im in 9th grade and im so lost...


I keep getting questions like this wrong for switching the "i" and "e". How am I so posed to know where the i and e go short of memorizing each word? Is there a rule like in English like I before E except . . . ?


They are pronounced differently. 'ie' is pronounced like the e ib 'be'. 'ei' is pronounced like the y in 'by'.


When do we use liest and when do we use lese?


Some verbs in German have a vowel shift (you have to learn which ones). There, the stem vowel changes for the 2nd and 3rd person singular for e --> i/ie and for a --> ä.

For a more detailed explanation on verb conjugation you can read this text: http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/german-conjugation-online-course/


why we are using "liest" instead of "lesst"??


I don:t understand why they mark things wrong is you say the instead of a, can someone please explain?


I cannot hear the subject "du." It is cut off.


Whats the difference between ein and eine?


Ein is used in the nominative case (for the subject of the sentence) for 'der' and 'das' words, while 'eine' is used in that case for 'die' words.

In the accusative case (the direct object of a sentence), ein is used for das words, eine for die words, and einen for der words.

Hope this helps!


you read a book


Watch me go to Germany and end up saying something stupid and have everyone there stare at me like I just offended them all that has to do with WW1 or 2.


Book is neuter. But then why is newspaper feminine?


i said you reads a book so it could say i got a typo but it said incorrect you used the wrong word please leave a thumbs down because this comment is lame unless you like it


Pronunciation of buch is like boo. Please tell me whats the correct Pronunciation of buch and if boo then whats the ch means


The ch is pronounced like the spanish 'J'... Like PAJA, JUEGO. English does not have this sound, it is produced at the back near the throat and it is fricative, voiceless. Like when you try to.expell mucus from your throat. Lol


Actually it isn't. That's a common mistake. There's a video on youtube that explains the correct way of saying the ch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39iHNFLrWQI


How can I know with the noun is masculine or neutral???


There is no simple pattern. You just have to memorize which noun is what.

That said, you can tell that "Buch" is neutral with this sentence because it is the direct object (accusative case) and 'ein' is used rather than 'eine' (for feminine words) or 'einen' (for masculine words).


Apfel is also a nature one but why it goes like: einen Apfel?


Did you mean "neuter"? "Apfel" is masculine: "der Apfel".


so, is ein : neutral , eine : feminine and einen : masculine ?


ein goes with both neuter and masculine nouns. einen is for accusative masculine only, I think.

  • 'ein' goes for neuter and masculine nouns in nominative (subject) case and accusative (direct object) case
  • 'einen' goes for masculine nouns in accusative (subject) case and also plural nouns in dative case (indirect object) case


I believe so. I wish this was sorta covered at the same time.


I did not understand the tenses in german...will some please let me know about present tense and past tense with example...it will be a great help for me!

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