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  5. "Wir essen die Fische."

"Wir essen die Fische."

Translation:We are eating the fish.

April 14, 2013



I think 'fish' is really not a good example for this exercise, since the plural is the same as the singular in English.


I disagree, I think it is a very good example to use. It teaches us that in German you have to use the plural form of the word. 'Fish' may be acceptable as a plural in English, but in German you have to use 'Fisches'


For me it said the correct phrase is "we eat the fish". I put we eat fish and got it wrong. Don't you think "the fish" is a bit more singular sounding than "fish"?


It's wrong, because it's not what the original sentence said. 'Wir essen die Fische' is 'we eat the fish'. 'Wir essen Fishe' is 'we eat fish'.


It must be a pretty big fish if : "We are eating THE fish" , instead of : "We are eating fish" (so on my opinion it is a bad example or exercise) The "THE" in front of fish calls for singular even dough not restricted to it.


It doesn't imply singular at all, just specific rather than general. So for example it could be the fish I caught this morning, which could be one fish or twenty fish depending how good a day I'm having.


The sentence "wir essen die Fische" is not authentic, so it will not be used in real life situation.


The sentence is fine. No need to object because the context is not provided. It's like complaining about learning Guten Morgen in the afternoon...


Authentic means: if you say "wir essen die Fische" others "will ask which fishes?" (need to be in a specific situation),but if you say, "Wir essen Fische" is more general and no one will ask you, which fish you mean. So again, not every sentence will makes sense, when the grammar of this sentence is right. For example: Der Hund liest. (The dog reads) grammatically perfect but not semantically.


Can you explain how it's not 'authentic'?


I think so. That is how I would say it in English to note more than one fish.


I agree. I did the same thing.


Well I'm practicing here but it's the same in plural like in singular.


'fish' and 'fishes' seem to be two acceptable plurals in English dictionary


They're both acceptable, but with different meanings. 'Fish' refers to multiple individual fish, and 'fishes' to multiple kinds of fish.


That could be true but I wouldn't use that as the definition of the difference. I would use it almost interchangeably, although there are cases where "fishes" would be awkward.

  • "We are eating fish tonight" (I'd never say "we are eating fishes tonight").
  • "Look at all the fishes" (it could be a school of fish, not necessarily different kinds of fish). You could easily (probably?) use "fish" instead here.


Well, I oversimplified a little. 'Fish' is also used as a mass noun when referring to the flesh of fish used as food.

It turns out that the use of 'fishes' to refer to different species is specific to biology (I'm a biologist, so I hadn't noticed). Otherwise, 'fishes' tends to be somewhat archaic or poetic.


I may be misunderstanding you, but I would never accept "Look at all the fishes" as a correct grammatical sentence when referring to multiple fish. I would agree with mrbennet's comment, though, in that it would work for referring to multiple kinds of fish.


'Fishes' can be used in the sense of multiple individual fish though it is an old-fashioned usage. Think 'the loaves and the fishes'.


fish = one fish or two fish


Yes everything goes in English. It's one hell of a gum language...


It allows we eat the fishes :)


It is not wrong, but native English speakers would not say "We eat the fishes." We might say "He is sleeping with the fishes." You could say "The fishes were cooked" or "The fish were cooked" and in both cases it is plural. I am not sure what is the proper grammar, but in common use most people would not disagree with either form.


In "sleeping with the fishes" the usage is poetic(-ally funny in a morbid way). As for "the fishes were cooked," I would think that's a grammatically incorrect phrase. Perhaps in some places it is used, just not where I learned English.


What happened to old times when "fishes" wasn't correct?


"Fishes" is a valid word, just not for this sentence. Same with "persons" and "peoples" they are valid words but their usage is tricky. See http://grammarist.com/usage/fish-fishes/


"fishes" also means "more than one kind of fish", whereas "fish" means "more than one fish of the same species"


Thank you ! We have not this difference in french, it`'s helpful to know it. :)


In "old times" fishes was correct. "Fish" is the modern form of the plural. Of course, the statement is somewhat ambiguous in English, because it could mean only one fish as well. Sometimes one fish can easily make a meal for multiple people. But in this case, it is clearly plural in German.


We always use the definition article "die" with plural nouns. I hope this helpful


Yes, the definite article for plural nouns is die (in nominative and accusative cases), but you don't always use the definite article every time you have a plural noun. You can say Wir essen Fische, for example. It's a valid sentence, but it just has a different meaning than Wir essen die Fische, which is more specific about which fish we are eating.


That may be so in German. But Duolingo is marking the English translation of it wrong. In English leaving out the definitive article makes more sense.


In English leaving out the definitive article makes more sense.


"We are eating fish."

"We are eating the fish."

Both sentences make sense to me, but they mean different things.

Only one of them is a good translation of Duo's German sentence.


Hi this is similar to another post but different. I understand that fisch is masculine hence Der Fisch, I aslo understand that when using the plural the gender changes to Die hence Die Fische. My problem is that in the sentence above Fishe is the accusative noun in the sentence. We were told earlier that if it is masculine noun in a plural accusatine form it should be Den, i.e Den Fische. As in Der Apfel to Den Apfel


Have thought some more about my comment above. Could it be the case that the plural is die regardless if they are accusative. So the plurality takes precedence over the accusative


I think plurality overtakes the case of the word. I don't think it actually changes the gender of the word, you just use 'die' no matter what the case or gender is, if it is plural.


Yeah, once you have a plural the original gender no longer matters. Plurals of masculine, feminine or neuter nouns all behave the same way. The definite articles for plural nouns in the four cases are:
Nominative: die
Accusative: die
Dative: den
Genitive: der

You can read more about German articles on Wikipedia.


Woops, I responded too quickly to your previous post.


The gender does not change; "die" is not only the definite article for feminine singular, it is the definite article for all genders in the plural.


You only use den in the accusative if the word is masculine. All other genders remain the same.


It is odd in English to say We are eating 'the' fish. Therefore I typed "We are eating fish." But this was considered incorrect. Hmm.. C'est la vie.


Apparently it's just as odd in German. "We are eating fish" would be "wir essen Fisch", and "die Fische" means we must be talking about some particular fish (exactly like "the fish" in English). It does seem like a strange sentence to use as an example...


It's not strange. Consider these two examples:

  1. "My dad caught some fish today. We're eating the fish tonight."
  2. "My dad caught some fish today. We're eating fish tonight, but not the ones he caught because they were too small."


Essen Fische (as a principle) and Essen die Fische (specific to a situation, e.g., in a restaurant) have two different meanings.


I wrote we eat the fishes which is correct but was marked wrong,


Given "die Fische" is plural, then "we eat the fishes" should be as acceptable as "we eat the fish"


So, this one threw me for a loop because I had the audio only version (the one with no text) and from my perspective 'We eat the fish' could mean a single fish. After all, multiple people could share in a dish of one fish, could they not?


This should only appear in a listening exercise with the German being spoken, where you can hear Fische as being different from Fisch. But generally, if the German could be interpreted in different ways from a listening exercise, either possible answer should be accepted.


How can you know if you eat only one kind of fish... The plural of fish is usually fish. When referring to more than one species of fish, especially in a scientific context, you can use fishes as the plural.


How can you know if you eat only one kind of fish

Because unless that fish was the only one of its kind, you're not eating entire species of fish.

When you eat salmon and tuna, you're not eating all the salmon in the world and all the tuna in the world, so you're not eating "fishes" (multiple species), but just "fish" (multiple animals).


I wrote "We eat the fishes" why is this wrong


The usual plural of "fish" in English is "fish", not "fishes" -- that is a specialised plural that is not appropriate here.


I said we eat the fishes - which in some contexts is correct in English. Plus Duolingo is extremely, ridiculously literal in some instances. You can't win!


When do you translate fish as Fisch and fishes as Fiche?????


We eat the fish should have been accepted


"We eat the fish" is one of the accepted answers.

Do you have a screenshot showing that answer being rejected in a translation exercise?


Fish in plural would refer to à school of SAME specie of fish. Fishes would also be the plural form however this would be for a school of DIFFERENT species of fish. So I'm confused as to why translating "Fische" which is plural for fish in German to "fishes" is not acceptable


Fishes would also be the plural form however this would be for a school of DIFFERENT species of fish.

It would be for different species of fish.

But you aren't eating species. You're eating individual fish.


Sentence might be with double sense


the microphone does not work


Why is it "die Fische" and not "der Fische"? Do some masculine nouns turn feminine in the plural form?


All plurals use Die inplace of Der/Die/Das. Die Jungen, Die Kinder, Die Maenner et cetera.


Beacause Die is plural and feminine


Others have answered this already, but also, read the instructions at the beginning of the section.


Btw, on the mobile apps we have no such instructions


Yes, it's unfortunate. But knowing this now, it's always a good idea to view a new lesson in a web browser first to get the tips!


The app doesnt include instructions. However that would be nice if it did.


Why wouldn't the German sentence say "Wir sind essen die Fische." Why is the are missing?


It looks as if you are still continuing with your study of German, though you wrote the post above quite some time ago. Your question may have since been answered, but if not, or others have this question, the following may be helpful. I've actually answered questions of this nature in other posts. A version of it tailored for this prompt is below:

English sentences are sometimes constructed with what is called an "auxiliary verb." In the sentence,

"We are eating the fish,"

the auxiliary verb is "are" (a form of "to be"). English has three main auxiliary verbs -- have, be, and do. They can be used to formulate a question, indicate passive voice, form a negative sentence, or, as in this case here show tense -- present continuous. The phrase "are eating" is an example of the use of the present continuous tense in English. Present continuous is not found in German, so you would never see a construct such as "sind essen" to convey "are eating." In German, it is expressed in other ways. For example, if you wanted to convey you are currently eating, you could add words such as "now," "right now," "this very moment," et cetera.

I highly recommend a book titled, "English Grammar for Students of German" by Cecile Zorach, but any type of book on this subject should be very helpful to any beginning student of German. If you do not want to buy the book and your library doesn't have a copy of something similar, you can also explore the web. In fact, I recently stumbled upon what might be a free online version of it. I don't know if it is exactly the same as the book by Zorach, but it may be more convenient for you to access. The link to it is here:

German for English Speakers

For more on this particular topic, the site at the link below will take you to a pretty good page on it.

Auxiliary Verbs "Be," "Do," "Have"

I realize you are here to learn German, but the more you know and understand about your own language, the easier learning other languages will be. (Plus, this might be good for any doing the reverse course.)

Hope that helps and glad to see you are continuing your study of German here at duolingo. Keep it up. You never know how far you can go with a language unless you stick with it.


Essen includes am/are/is when translated to English.


Please explain why "we eat strawberries" (wir essen Erdbeeren) does not need the article "die" but when "we eat fish" (wir essen die Fische) we need the article "die"


If we were being very specific about what strawberries we were eating, we would be eating "the" strawberries - an example, "We are eating the strawberries that I picked yesterday."


Should it not be "Wir essen den Fische." since the fish is the object of the sentence, so shouldn't the case be accusative, rather than nominative?


"den" is singular, "die" is plural


I think what might have confused haarisjam is that you wrote in a post above

"Wir essen der Fisch."

instead of

"Wir essen den Fisch."

I've read your posts, which are rather intelligently written, and can't help but notice that you are also at a Level 20 in German, so I am sure it was merely an inadvertent oversight on your part.


Fish masculine, feminine or neuter?


Fisch is masculine: the singular is der Fisch.


Question: One of the comments earlier said that 'fressen' is used when a Human/animal eats an animal. Then why is it that "Wir 'essen' Fisch" still right? Is it that we can use both?


According to the DL Tips & notes for the section on animals one should never use fressen with a human subject. I believe it is only used to reference an animal eating.


isn't "die" for feminine word or it is for plural masculine as well ?


die is the (nominative or accusative) article for all nouns in the plural.

There are no gender distinctions in the plural in German -- all nouns have the same articles, adjective endings, etc. in the plural.


Thanks alot ♥ but that was along time ago :D


not for learners So am i understanding this right?... Nouns in english which are the same when pluralized (like deer, fish and maybe even cactus) are pluralised as multipules in german with a Letter N?


No. How to inflect a noun in German is, in general, independent of how a noun inflects in English.

Also, Hirsche and Fische (deer, fish) don't pluralise in -n but in -e.


Why can i not say " Wir isst die Fische" here? Does someone know


For the same reason that you can't say "I are" or "you is" -- the verb form does not match the subject.

isst is the verb form for du and for er, sie, es but not for wir.

English uses the same verb form for many subjects, but in German, most verb forms are distinct except for wir and sie, Sie (which are always the same). (Depending on the verb, the er, sie, es and the ihr form may be the same and, for verbs ending in s, ss, ß, x also du and er, sie, es as here: du isst and er, sie, es isst.)


Response is wrong. '...are eating the fish' is singular. '...are eating fish' is the plural condition. It is frustrating to try to get it right and the 'you're wrong' message pops up


"the fish" can be singular or plural. (The fish are swimming in the water / The fish is swimming in the water)

"fish" can be singular or plural. (There are (some) fish on the plate / There is (some) fish on the plate.)


we are eating fish is also right so it should count as a good answer. we are eating the fish could in English mean you ate the goldfish [ a pet ]


"We are eating fish" is a grammatically correct sentence, but it is not a translation of the German sentence Wir essen die Fische.

The German refers to a specific group of fish (= the fish), not to fish in general.


Ok why is this sentance:

Wir essen die Fische > We ARE eating the fish (correct) and We are eating potatoes > Wir Essen Kartoffeln

Why does one sentence require the "Are" and the other sentence does not?

I've seen here in Duo that sometimes to get the answer right, you are required to add the "Are" when there is no sind/seid present. I cant figure out why sometimes you have to add the "are" (as in the fish example) and other times you dont.

Thanks, Robert


You can't translate sentences word for word, because German is not a code for English.

"we are eating" is a form of the verb "eat" -- present continuous. The verb "are" here is a helping verb that is used for form the present continuous tense.

German doesn't have a present continuous tense -- it just has one present tense.

So "we are eating" (present continuous tense) and "we eat" (present simple tense) will both translate into German as wir essen.

When translating into English, you will have to use the rules of English to determine which words are necessary. For example, for something that is happening now, where we use the present continuous tense in English, you may have to add a form of the verb "to be" which is required by English grammar; and for a question, you may have to add a form of the verb "to do" (e.g. "did you eat?" for a question in the past, where "ate you?" is not possible in English).


I haven't seen this comment yet so I'm going to go ahead and ask it. I translated the sentence to 'We are eating the fish' and it told me that the correct translation for 'die' was 'these' instead of the, and it was marked wrong. Why?


I've no idea. Both "We are eating the fish" and "We are eating these fish" are accepted translations for this sentence.


I've been studying German for four straight years, but I don't get why it said I was incorrect when I typed "We eat Fish". Isn't "the fish" basically the same as "fish"? Besides the possessiveness of the first words, for me it can be either way.


No - "the fish" and "fish" are not the same.

"the fish" indicates that this is a particular amount of fish that you had been talking about before.

"fish" is generic and doesn't imply that the listener knows which quantity of fishing is being talked about (or that the speaker even has any particular quantity in mind).


Wir essen die Fische. _You used the plural "fishes" here, instead of the singular "fish". We eat the fish.__ Maybe, it'll be better to change the explanation? For example, "You used plural "fishes" with different meaning instead of plural "fish"? Thanks!


But why both meanings could not be allowed? If 'fishes' means many different kind of fish, they can still be eaten.


If 'fishes' means many different kind of fish, they can still be eaten.

No -- you can't eat a kind of fish; you can only eat an actual fish. (Unless, perhaps, you ate all the fish in the world of that kind, then you would have eaten a fish kind.)


But you can eat fish of several different kinds, in which case 'fishes' would be correct, and would actually clarify the meaning of the sentence.


But you can eat fish of several different kinds


in which case 'fishes' would be correct

No -- because you are still eating fish. You aren't eating kinds of fish.

You might be eating three salmons and four trout (seven individual fish, belonging to two kinds). But "kinds" are abstract: you can't eat them.


Der fische is singular and die fische is plural



der Fisch is singular, die Fische is plural.

Note the capitalisation and the correct singular form.


Since the context isn't given, "We are eating fish" should probably be accepted, as well. Right?


No -- die Fische is definite, so the answer should be "the fish" (definite) and not "fish" (indefinite).


Fische translates to fishes. Shouldn't the translation therefore be: We are eating the fishes.


Fische translates to fishes.

No. Not in general.


Why does Duolingo then teach that Fische translates to fishes? Also Google is of the same opinion, Fische = Fishes


Why does Duolingo then teach that Fische translates to fishes?

It shouldn't. If it does, I don't know where or why.

Also Google is of the same opinion, Fische = Fishes

Don't trust Google Translate.

But here on this course, "fishes" is considered correctly only for multiple species of fish (which is not a meaning we use on this course), and "fish" as the normal plural.

Compare https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fish (top definition).


My answer should be accepted


My answer should be accepted

What was your answer?

Please quote your entire sentence, as nobody can see it.


Right! "die Fishe" in Deutsch is Plural (of "der Fisch") but it in English both of "fish" and "fishes" can be plural form of its singular (fish).


in English both of "fish" and "fishes" can be plural form of its singular (fish).

But "fishes" is a specialised plural. The usual plural form is "fish".


So far all the comments are arguing about English. Can a German or someone more proficient in German help explain why "die Fische" is "the fish" in this context?

Cause I thought The fish = der Fisch The fishes = die Fische

Or did I understand wrongly?


explain why "die Fische" is "the fish" in this context

Because the regular plural of "fish" in English is "fish".

So "the fish" can be either der Fisch (singular) or die Fische (plural).

ein Fisch = one fish; zwei Fische = two fish.

"fishes" is rarely used in standard English.


We're eating the fishes I think should be correct as well.


We're eating the fishes I think should be correct as well.

No. The usual plural of "fish" in English is "fish" (like "one sheep, two sheep", it's also "one fish, two fish").

  • 2123

So how would you say this in English?

I did see the explanations about the English sentence from a German point of view. Could somebody give an explanation about the English sentence from the English point of view?


So how would you say this in English?

Wir essen die Fische. = "We eat the fish." or "We are eating the fish."

The usual plural of "fish" in English is "fish".

Hence you translate the German plural die Fische into the English plural "the fish".

Could somebody give an explanation about the English sentence from the English point of view?

Could you explain which part of the English sentence is unclear that you would like to have explained?

  • 2123

Sorry, I can't remember exactly under which thread I wanted to react, and unfortunately my answer ended up as a new thread :( .

But I think it had something to do with the difference between "Wir essen die Fische" and "Wir essen Fische" . You have explained what the difference is. And I have always assumed that you are a native German speaker (Otherwise, you still know and understand a lot more about the German language than the average native German speaker does).

So now I would like to know more about the difference between "We eat fish" and "We eat the fish". And I would like to hear that from a native English speaker. Just to get some more feel (or is it feeling? ) for the English language. (Yes, I understand that I should try the Englisch course on Duolingo, but at this moment I'm learning a lot about the German language which I somehow couldn't grasp during the past decades, so English will have to wait ...)

Over the last couple of weeks I must have given more than 10 Lingos to your excelent answers. And I know that you know a lot about the English language. But I don't know whether or not you are a native English speaker ...


So now I would like to know more about the difference between "We eat fish" and "We eat the fish".

"the fish" is definite. It refers to a particular quantity of fish that the listener can identify -- often, because you had spoken about them earlier in the conversation.

For example, "My wife has bought some fish. The fish are on the table." The second sentence has "the fish" (definite), referring back to the "some fish" which you had previously mentioned. They were indefinite in the first sentence because they are new, but definite in the second because now they are known.

"We eat fish" is indefinite. The listener is not expected to know which quantity of fish is being referred to. It's any quantity of fish.

But I don't know whether or not you are a native English speaker ...

I'm a native speaker of both English and German; my father is from England and my mother was German, and I grew up bilingually in Germany, attending an English-medium school.

What is your native language?

  • 2123

Thanks for (another) great explanation!


My native language is Dutch. I grew up near the German border, so I basically grew up with German television (ARD, ZDF and WDR3) until the late seventies, when Dutch television started to broadcast more often and on more channels. So for me, understanding German is very easy, speaking German is a little bit difficult (I often get the cases wrong, and I sometimes get the gender wrong), and writing German is very difficult.

In many situations (within this course), German feels just like Dutch. Sometimes English feels just like Dutch. Sometimes Dutch is the odd one out. And sometimes all three languages feel the same.

I hope to get some more feeling for the differences. (Especially the situations in which something isn't quite wrong, but simply feels unnatural ... )


I'd really appreciate if someone could point out some grammar rules, like how you use die for plural words. Thanks in advance!


Die/eine is used for all plural nouns, no matter if they're der die or das words originally


would this include den as well as der, die or das. They all change to die?


Den is an alternative form (accusative, I believe) of der, so yes. The same applies with ein/einen when masculine.


The translation is wrong. In English you would say: "we eat fish" not "we eat THE fish".


Unless you're referring to some particular fish. It's the same in German: "wir essen die Fische" refers to some particular fish, and if you were talking about fish in general it would be "wir essen Fisch".


Wrong. As I mentioned above, one fish can often feed a lot of people. If I bought a package of fish in the store and cooked it up for a meal, I'd say, "we're eating fish." But if someone from the family brought their catch home, and I cooked it up for a meal, I might easily say, "We're eating the fish," whether one or ten. I believe the same situation exists in the German, also - Wir essen Fisch" or "Wir essen die Fische" or "Wir essen der Fisch." All of those are equally valid, depending on what you are trying to say.


Im struggling with the pronounceing fische and Bucher. Can some one send me a link to help


I'm not quite sure what exactly your struggle is, however, I've found a few websites that might be of help to you.

Forvo is a site that provides the audio of word pronunciations in many different languages. Of particular help is that most words have more than one pronunciation and that the origin of the speaker is noted.

The Paul Joyce German Course is a good resource! The section on pronunciation provides detailed information on how consonants, vowels and letter combinations are pronounced with audio from native German speakers as well as practice exercises.

FluentU is often a helpful site. In this article there is helpful information about speaking German.

I have found the About.com sites to be quite helpful in a variety of topics! In this instance I found several websites that are helpful with pronunciation: German for Beginners..., German Pronunciation and Listening to German.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your studies!!


We are asked to translate this sentence to English. We would never say " We are eating the fish "


"What did you do today?" "We went fishing and caught three hapuku, two trumpeter and a kingfish." "What are you having for dinner tonight?" "We're eating the fish."

It's quite natural, as long as you've already mentioned some particular fish and you're referring back to them. I believe it works the same way in German.


In English you never say we are eating thd fish, you say we ars eating fish..


Plural form for "fish" is "fishes"


Die fische(plural masculine) is used instead of der fisch (singular masculine), so in English it must be the fishes.


Please do not post comments multiple times and please do not post comments saying things that have already been said.


I did the same and put we eat fish why because we eat the fish doesn't sound right in English nor German. Now if it said Ich esse die Fische that makes more sence. In this case it should be we are eating the fish


Correct translations should be "We are eating the fish" or "We eat the fish". It sounds fine in English and German. There's nothing better about Ich esse die Fische compared to Wir essen die Fische.

"We eat fish" is not acceptable, as it leaves out the indefinite article ("the") and changes the meaning.

If you want to refer to another comment, you should click 'Reply' on that comment directly. Making a comment like "I did the same..." without replying to anything makes your question less clear.


The plural of Fisch is Fische. That's just how it is in German. Read more about German plurals on Duolingo's lesson tips page.

Fischen does exist, but only in dative case (and this sentence does not have dative case).


because of its grammar: Fisch => Fische Substantiv, maskulin [der]

the "fischen" is verb that means fishing


I believe the English equivalent is simply we are eating fish. You wouldn't say the fish under most circumstances. I'm a native English speaker and never have heard the fish used like this. My translation was rejected.


This has been covered several times already. "We are eating fish" would translate to "wir essen Fisch", and has a different meaning to "we are eating the fish", which is the correct translation of "wir essen die Fische". In this case, we're talking about some specific fish (that we would presumably have mentioned before) rather than fish in general.


We are eating fish is actually also correct....


As the other comments already point out, you need the definite article ("the") otherwise the meaning changes.


What is the'...'for

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