Apparently, the plural form of "Mädchen" (girl) is also "Mädchen" (girls). So ya, in this case, I can't distinguish between them. But anyway, if it means singular (the formal form of "you"), don't we need to add an article? Shouldn't it be "Sie sind ein Mädchen" = You are a girl? Maybe the native speaker can add more detailed explanation to this?
It's easier to determine the difference if they use the article "a/the". For example : "Sie sind ein Mädchen" = You are a girl; and "Sie sind das Mädchen" = You are the girl. While "Sie sind Mädchen" = They are girls; and "Sie sind die Mädchen" = They are the girls (since the article "das" is changed to "die" when it comes to plural form).
When you hear German spoken, only context can tell the difference between sie sind and Sie sind.
Pronouns refer back to something -- whom have you been speaking about? About the listener? About some other people?
That will help you understand what it means.
In this sentence, sie sind "they are" is written as Sie sind because the word sie is the first word in the sentence -- the first letter of the first word of a sentence is always capitalised in German, as in English.
Is it good to say 'Sie sind ein Mädchen' as you mentioned? I thought "Sie" =They/she? Pls answer
Uppercase Sie is the polite "you" in German. This is taught later in the course.
When it's the first word in a sentence, you can't tell the difference between Sie "you" and sie "they", since the first word of a sentence is always capitalised.
(You can tell the difference between sie "they" and sie "she" because the verb forms are different.)
That is not correct.
"She is a girl" would be Sie ist ein Mädchen.
Sie sind ein mädchen has the wrong capitalisation for the noun, but even if you change that, Sie sind ein Mädchen can only mean "You are a girl" (when speaking politely/formally) or, theoretically, "They are a girl" (if you consider that multiple people can somehow all, together, be a single girl).
elgee_nst had it right. "Sie sind Mädchen" means "They are girls." because there is no article (a, the/ein) in the sentence. If it said "Sie sind ein Mädchen.", that would be "You are a girl."
Also, "Sie" is formal "you", like you would say if talking to the president's daughter. "Du bist ein Mädchen." is informal, like if you were talking to your daughter.
I think it's confusing that they didn't introduce the concept that "Mädchen" can be singular or plural & doesn't need an "s" (or other suffix) to clarify. While I understand that "you are girl" isn't grammatically correct and that users could use that to determine that it should be "they are girlS", when a learner is assuming that the object is singular, it becomes difficult to determine the correct translation.
I realize that. However, based on the fact that it didn't flag them as "new words", I assumed they'd already been shown to me, and the "Mädchen" that I knew was singular.
Besides, unless I don't think that I can figure out a word in context, I don't "peek". Especially if it doesn't flag it as new.
The tricky thing is that we actually were shown that "Mädchen" means both "girl" and "girls" the first time we were introduced to the word. It shows the top three meanings when you see a new word. However, we were only using it in the singular form in that early lesson. Because of that, I think most people thought it only meant "girl" until we were corrected later in this lesson.
German pronunciation is different to English pronunciation, yes.
Although it's difficult to explain pronunciation by typing (my accent might be different to yours), I find it helpful to think that many words starting with s- make an English "z-" sound, and words ending with -d make something between an English "-d" and "-t" sound.
I recommend bookmarking the website Forvo, which has individual recordings of words spoken by native speakers. There, you can hear how a German would say it clearly (not a synthesised voice like on here or online translators), and you're not led astray by an American/Brit/Aussie/Kiwi/etc. having a different accent to you.
In one discussion panel, I found from a Mod comment that when "Sie sind" is mentioned and that the "S" from "Sie" is capitalized means "You are" whilst "sie" spelled with a small "s" means "they are". The translation is a bit arguable, I believe it should be translated as "You are girls" addressing to one or more persons since the "S" in sie is capitalised.
It is also found in the lesson here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-2
The first word of a sentence is always capitalised in German. (As in English.)
So when sie is the first word of a sentence, it will look like Sie, and then you cannot tell the difference between sie and Sie when that is the first word.
Sie sind Mädchen. can thus also mean "They are girls."
Writing sie sind Mädchen. as a complete sentence would be as incorrect as writing "they are girls." as a complete sentence in English, because the first letter has to be capitalised.
It's because German, like English, would require an article in that sentence. Sie ist das Mädchen (She is the girl) or Sie ist ein Mädchen (She is a girl) would be acceptable.
Also, if you were using "Sie" as the formal you, it would require an article. "Sie sind ein Mädchen" would make the sentence "You are a girl."
Firstly, this sentence is not what Duo wants us to translate. See the other comments for what is a correct answer. But I'll answer what you asked anyway.
All the ein/eine words in German mean "a/an". You choose the right ein/eine word in German based on the gender of the noun, and choose "a/an" in English based on the vowel sound. Completely different concepts, so they can be mixed up:
ein Apfel = "an apple"
ein Bär = " a bear"
eine Insel = "an island"
eine Zitrone = "a lemon"
Sie ist ein Mädchen is the correct sentence - use the ein/eine word that matches the grammatical gender.
In later discussions on Duolingo, you may see people talking about the indefinite article. This is the technical name for 'all the ein/eine words'.
Look up other resources around the internet. Forvo has recordings from native-speakers, and YouTube has many pronunciation tutorials. You can also search for more resources yourself - it will be more effective than only using Duolingo.
Also, use this guide to find out how to type the special characters äöüß on your device. It is worth doing! Leaving them off changes the meaning of the word (Madchen isn't really a word, but it kind of means "little maggot"), and using the alternative spellings ae, oe, ue, ss isn't always accepted or professional.
If you skip the microphone task during the lesson it will not be counted as correct. I suppose Duo does this to avoid people (such as students) skipping them because they don't like them. If you know you will be unable to use the microphone before you begin a lesson, you can turn it off in the settings and then only do the typed exercises without penalty. Remember to turn it back on later if you want to use it again.
For reference, it's better to post such general comments in the general discussion area, rather than on specific sentence discussions.
No, there isn't. (And please don't try to use the forum for socialising - especially not the sentence discussions which are meant to be about the grammar or vocabulary in that sentence.)
Edit: The iOS app does have "clubs" which are a kind of community, and allow for some socialising. But if you can post here, you're probably not using the iOS app -- since that doesn't have access to the sentence discussions.
du bist is "you are", when you are speaking to one person
ihr seid is "you are", when you are speaking to several people
wir sind is "we are"
sie sind is "they are"
You have to choose the right verb form that goes with the subject.
So when the subject is du, you choose bist, and so on.
That means that there is not a 1:1 translation for the English word "are". How to translate depends on whether it is "you are" or "we are" or "they are", and if it is "you", it depends on how many people you are talking to.
How do I know whether the 'S' in the beginning of the sentence is because of Capitalization or the actual intention was to use Sie sind (You (formal) are). The confusion I'm having is in translating 'They are girls' [sie sind madchen] and 'You are girls' [Sie sind madchen] this can also be Ihr seid madchen but it's just my guess.
How do I know whether the 'S' in the beginning of the sentence is because of Capitalization or the actual intention was to use Sie sind (You (formal) are).
In a single sentence out of context here on Duolingo, you can’t.
Both translations (“you are, they are”) will be accepted.
The confusion I'm having is in translating 'They are girls' [sie sind madchen] and 'You are girls' [Sie sind madchen]
There is no German word madchen; “girls” in German is Mädchen with a capital M and an ä – or if you can’t type that letter, then Maedchen with ae. But the capital letter is important, and you can’t simply leave off the dots from a letter.
(Thal would be a bil like leaving off lhe crossbar on lhe leller l because you lhink il’s jusl lhere for decoralion — lhe resull is a compleley differenl leller, and il’s confusing lo read.)
so what would be the translation for "she is a girl" ?? "es" or "sie" because "Mädchen" is a neuter would "Es ist ein Mädchen" be correct??
Personal pronouns almost always refer backwards to something that has previously been mentioned or that is otherwise obvious, not forwards to something later in the sentence.
So "she is a girl" would usually be Sie ist ein Mädchen, referring to someone who is (presumably) obviously female.
If you were referring back to a neuter noun such as das Kind, it would be es ist ein Mädchen with neuter es to agree with das Kind. (e.g. Ist das Kind auf dem Foto hier ein Mädchen oder ein Junge? - Es ist ein Mädchen.)
"they" in German is sie"
The formal "you" in German is Sie -- the same, only capitalised.
At the beginning of a sentence, where the first word is always capitalised, you can't tell the difference between those two any more -- and so Sie sind .... can mean either "You are ...." or "They are ....".
Nothing is being ignored, and nothing is “turned into” something else.
The pronoun sie has
always meant both “she” and “they”.
The way to know which sie is used is to look at the verb form: Sie ist... = “she is...”, while Sie sind...” = “they are...”
Scroll upward and read the rest of the comment thread— this has been asked and answered many times before.
(Sie, with a capital S, means “you” -formal-, but that’s a different issue)
sia, sie, sī, sio, siu depending on gender, number, and case. (Note the distinction of three genders in the plural back then as well!)
(The auto-linking doesn't include the  at the end; try this link instead if you can.)
My best guess is that the problem isn’t actually with “sie/Sie”, even though the correction message said so.
If you typed “Madchen” without ä, then what you said is “they are little maggots.” Umlauts aren’t just there for the sound; in many cases with / without the umlaut are different words.
It’s possible that the software didn’t know what to do with that, and corrected your “sie” to “Sie” since the first letter in a sentence should be capitalized. So try it again, with the correct spelling, Mädchen, and it ought to work. (I frequently don’t bother capitalizing the first letter, and it’s usually fine.)
That's not correct - as you've done in English, you'd have to also add an indefinite article ("a").
Sie sind Mädchen = "You (polite)/They are girls" correct answers
Sie ist Mädchen = "She is girl" grammatically incorrect
Sie ist ein Mädchen = "She is a girl" grammatically correct, but incorrect answer
sie sind means "they are", not "she is" -- you can tell from the different verb.
sie ist - she is. sie sind - they are.
Mädchen looks the same in the singular and plural.
das Mädchen - the girl. die Mädchen - the girls. Without article: Mädchen - girls.
So sie sind Mädchen - they are girls.
sie can mean "she" or "they" -- in this sentence, it's "they" since the verb is sie sind (they are) and not sie ist (she is).
Also, pronouns generally refer back to something, not forwards. For example, in Das ist Julia. Sie ist ein Mädchen. "This is Julia. She is a girl.", the sie will refer back to Julia (who is female) and not forwards to the noun Mädchen (which is neuter).
In German (and in many other languages) there is a formal "you" pronoun and an informal "you. In English "you" is the same word in singular and plural. In German the formal "you' singular is "Sie" while the informal (among friends and relatives) is "du". In the plural "Sie" is used again for formal usage while "Ihr' is the informal counterpart. "Sie sind" could be "you are" in the singular or plural. "Du bist" is obviously "you are" in the singular. "Ihr seid" is "you are" for plural informal situations. Hope that helps.
I thought "sie" was "she." Is there a difference?
The verb forms are different: "she" verb forms end in -t, "they" verb forms end in -en, e.g. sie isst "she eats" versus sie essen "they eat".
The word itself is always pronounced exactly the same, whether it means "she, her, they, them".
(The words used to be pronounced differently centuries ago, but through sound changes -- final unstressed vowels turning into shwa -- they ended up being pronounced the same. The same thing happened in English with the ancestor of "he" and its plural form, but that bugged English speakers enough that they imported the word "they" from a Norse language to use as the plural.)
Can't we translate "she is girl"?
No. That isn't even correct English.
Also, sie sind means "they are", not "she is".
Much as in English, countable singular nouns in German have to have some kind of determiner in front of them, e.g. an indefinite article "a, an" -- for example, ein Mädchen = "a girl".
That means that Mädchen, without a determiner before it, pretty much has to be plural: "girls".
This matches the verb, which is third person plural.
Thus, sie sind Mädchen = they are girls.
Yes, it's possible. Here's how it works: Sie (capitalized) sind hier. = "You (formal) are here." And sie sind hier = "they are here."
However, if sie (they) happens to be the first word in a sentence, it will be capitalized regardless. So the sentence Sie sind Mädchen could mean either "You (formal) are girls", or "They are girls". You have to look at the context of the sentence to know which one is meant.