"Du liest ein Buch."

Translation:You read a book.

April 9, 2013



why is ti ein and not einen?

June 7, 2013


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

June 7, 2013


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

March 29, 2014


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)

March 29, 2014


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

March 30, 2014


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.

August 9, 2017


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

December 21, 2014


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

December 26, 2014


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

March 27, 2017


Thanks for that bit of info

May 11, 2014


Oh ok know i get it. danke Karlchen123

September 21, 2016


No. Feminine for ^a^ is eine

March 22, 2015


Danke schon

November 16, 2015


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.

August 3, 2018


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.

August 3, 2018


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

June 19, 2014


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

June 20, 2014


thank you

June 20, 2014


Why not?

June 22, 2015


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

June 22, 2015


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

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

July 20, 2014


No. It would be des Apfels

July 20, 2014


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

June 30, 2016


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

December 28, 2013



March 20, 2014


I thought die was plural?

July 5, 2014


It is as well feminine as plural.

July 6, 2014


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

May 28, 2013


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

June 2, 2013


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

February 8, 2015


I was referring to read in the present tense.

February 9, 2015


Thank you that clears everything up !

February 10, 2015


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.

December 16, 2013


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.

April 12, 2014


How do you decide between Du and Ihr?

November 13, 2014


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

April 13, 2015


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

July 21, 2015


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

    January 12, 2016


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

    December 8, 2015


    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.

    December 9, 2015


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

    February 24, 2016


      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.

      February 24, 2016


      what is the difference between eine, ein and einen?

      May 20, 2016


      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!


      May 20, 2016



      May 21, 2016


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

      January 18, 2017


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

        October 24, 2017


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

        July 10, 2017


        As in du lesen ein Buch ? No.

        du goes with liest.

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

        July 10, 2017


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

        July 19, 2017


        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.

        July 19, 2017


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

        July 19, 2017


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

        August 1, 2017


        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.

        August 1, 2017


        why not "liesst" instead of "liest"?

        August 17, 2017


        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-.

        August 17, 2017


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

        May 2, 2018


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

        September 27, 2013


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

        September 27, 2013


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

        April 4, 2014


        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?)

        April 4, 2014


        In which case we use Du or Ihr to say you

        August 24, 2014


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

        January 22, 2015


        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).

        October 21, 2014


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

        February 4, 2015



        April 27, 2015


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

        June 9, 2015


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

        June 18, 2015


        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

        June 18, 2015


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

        May 31, 2016


          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.

          June 1, 2016


          why is eine a or one how do you know

          July 25, 2016


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

            October 24, 2017


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

            March 5, 2017


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


              October 24, 2017


              Why is it not "eine buch"?

              March 14, 2017


                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".

                October 24, 2017


                My baby brother says "dough east hine fook"

                May 15, 2017


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

                May 28, 2017


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

                February 4, 2018


                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.

                February 4, 2018



                February 5, 2018


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

                March 15, 2018


                Ah! I got mixed up with wine and einen

                March 18, 2018


                when we say 'you are reading a book'

                June 2, 2018


                Why not use " lese? "

                July 27, 2018


                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.

                July 27, 2018


                I translated it you are reading a book

                November 28, 2018


                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.

                August 12, 2019


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

                June 4, 2013


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

                June 4, 2013


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


                June 4, 2013


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

                June 4, 2013


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

                July 5, 2013


                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 :)

                April 4, 2014


                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...

                August 13, 2014


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

                April 4, 2014


                What is tge difference between du snd ihr?

                May 20, 2016


                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

                May 20, 2016


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

                October 5, 2016


                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.

                March 27, 2017


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

                September 12, 2017


                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 . . . ?

                March 27, 2014


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

                April 28, 2015


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

                May 22, 2014


                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/

                May 22, 2014


                Whats the difference between ein and eine?

                December 21, 2015


                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!

                January 25, 2016


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

                June 6, 2016


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

                September 16, 2016


                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

                April 25, 2017


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

                February 20, 2014


                you read a book

                June 26, 2016


                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.

                June 30, 2016


                Book is neuter. But then why is newspaper feminine?

                September 12, 2016


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

                March 3, 2014


                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

                March 11, 2014


                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

                July 3, 2014


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

                July 17, 2014


                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).

                January 25, 2016


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

                August 30, 2014


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

                August 30, 2014


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

                July 12, 2013


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

                November 2, 2013

                • '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
                April 7, 2014


                You are right!

                November 9, 2013


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

                July 15, 2013


                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!

                December 10, 2014
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