That's right; it's a collective noun or mass noun.
Much like "food" in English.
If you give your child three potatoes and six pieces of broccoli, you would ask it later "did you eat your food?" (singular), not "your foods" (plural) -- a mass noun.
Similarly, if you wanted to ask your child in German whether it ate all of its peas and carrots, you would ask, hast du dein Gemüse gegessen? with singular Gemüse, since it's a mass noun.
And yes, Kosmetik (cosmetics) and Schmuck (jewellery) work similarly.
German is one of those languages where nouns have genders. Die is used for feminine words and der is used for male words. Das is used for neuter or neutral words. There are tips in the "Tips" section under the "Animals" lesson. Usually words ending in "e" are feminine and words starting with "Ge-" are masculine.
Well, only three years later and now I can answer my own question: Gemüse is both the singular and the plural forms. One might determine the number from the declension of the article:
- singular: das Gemüse
- plural: die Gemüse
But it might just be convention, as Mizinamo explains, where it there might not be a distinction in the words, but only in how one uses them.
Gemüse is almost always used as a mass noun in German, referring to an unspecified quantity of vegetables: it could be one whole vegetable, part of one, or several vegetables or parts thereof.
A bit like "food" in English: if you eat two cucumbers and two carrots, you would say that "I've eaten foods" or "I've eaten four foods", but simply that you've "eaten food".
Thus in German as well, you'd say that you had Gemüse gegessen (eaten vegetables), using a singular noun in German.
I am a German trying to learn French (again) and to me they sound very similar. Sometimes I get the impression that the French "u" has a slightly higher pitch, but nothing which I would notice in the real world.
I would be interested to hear the opinion of a native French as well.
Genau. The verb "eat" has to be conjugated to match the subject (in this case, "the men", which is plural) in number. A m
an (singular) eats, but the m
Because the normal way to make a plural subject is to add an "s" (one boy, two boy
s), when I was learning English I realized that there needed to be an "s" on either the verb or the subject: "one boy eat
s", "two boy
Essen is the infinitive, "to eat". When conjugating for first person singular it becomes esse (z.B, ich esse.")". When conjugated for second or third person singular, essen becomes isst (z.B, "du isst" oder "er isst.").
Die Männer essen das Gemüse. = The men are eating the vegetables.
Die Männer essen Gemüse. = The men are eating vegetables.
Both sentences are grammatically possible but they mean slightly different things -- one refers to a specific quantity of vegetables, the other is more general.
Minor point: "the vegetables" refers to a specific set rather than a specific quantity.
To be sure, the specific set will have a specific quantity, although that quantity may not be defined. Cf. "he drinks the tea" (which may or may not be a measured amount, but whatever amount it is, could be measured) vs. "he drinks tea" (some amount, sometime, somewhere).
Well, "The men are eating the vegetables" is already set as the preferred answer.
"The men just eat the vegetables" would be wrong, because there is nothing in "Das Männer essen das Gemüse" to suggest the concept of "just" or "only". If the German sentence presented were "Das Männer essen nur das Gemüse" oder "Das Männer essen einfach das Gemüse" then yes, "just eat . . . ." should work.
I can't quite tell in the audio, but when a German word ends in just an "e" like the word "Gemüse" and "danke" and the name "Maike", what sound does the "e" make? Is it a short E like in the word "pet", or is it like the "ay" in "day", or is it like the vowel sound in "done"? Thanks!
Why is it DAS Gemuse and not DIE Gemuse? I thought all plurals used the die variation.
Gemüse is almost always used uncountably, as a mass noun -- in the singular.
So we say das Gemüse because Gemüse is neuter.
(Note the spelling: das Gemüse = the vegetables, but you wrote das Gemuse = the act of mashing. If you can't make an ü, write Gemuese.)
Grammatically, it acts similarly to the English word "food" -- if you have three potatoes and a slice of meat and you eat all of that, you might say "the food was delicious" and not "the foods were delicious".
Similarly, if you have seven peas and four carrots and you eat them all, you would say das Gemüse hat gut geschmeckt and not die Gemüse haben gut geschmeckt.
English would use the plural "the vegetables" here, but German uses the mass noun das Gemüse.