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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.


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.


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


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".


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).


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]".


I am always confuse with verb form, because with reading liest and with read also liest , so how to know which tense they are using?

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