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  5. "Sie sind Mädchen."

"Sie sind Mädchen."

Translation:They are girls.

April 27, 2013



How can the translation be "they are girls" and "You are girl" at the same time?How does differentiate between them?


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).


Isn't it "Du bist ein Mädchen" the way to say "You are a girl"? "Sie sind" is "You are", but in plural... right? Isn't that the way to differenciate? :)


du bist = you are (informal, singular)

ihr seid = you are (informal, plural)

Sie sind = you are (formal, singular/plural)

sie sind = they are

sie ist = she is



Wow, so "Sie" is kind of like "Vous" in French (you, formal-singular, and informal-plural)


Only partly.

French vous is informal-plural, formal-singular, formal-plural.

German Sie is formal-singular and formal-plural but not informal-plural. Informal-plural is ihr.


Yes except that in German "sie" is "they" (informal plural) while "vous" is "you" (informal plural) in French.


If only I knew how to say "thank you/thanks" in German. :)


But it wrote Sie sind and the translate showed they are... And the difference of 's' and 'S' is on writing methods or on translating the written words. What should we do when hearing german language? Whats the difference in talking and hearing


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.


Thanks for your help☺


How do you know when a word is formal or informal?


Words aren't formal, but situations are. If you were speaking with someone you know well, you would use du, but if you were talking to, say, your boss, you would use Sie.


Very well explained. Danke!


So, Uppercase 'Sie' = 'You'? And lowercase 'sie'='They'? Vielen Danken (I hope I'm right cuz i don't know how to say 'Many thanks' LOL)


So, Uppercase 'Sie' = 'You'? And lowercase 'sie'='They'?

That's right.

(When they're the first word of a sentence, you can't tell them apart any more, though.)

Vielen Danken (I hope I'm right cuz i don't know how to say 'Many thanks' LOL)

It's vielen Dank!


Shouldn't it be ihr sind instead of ihr seid????


    No, that list was correct. You can also check for example on Canoo.net, Verbix or Duden.


    Isn't it "Sie" is "she"?


    Lowercase sie can be "she" or "they"

    Uppercase Sie is "you" (the polite form)


    I think adding an article would be redundant, no? "Du bist" would denote a single girl, whereas "sie sind" already denotes plural. In this case, I do find it a little more confusing because "Mädchen" is both singular and plural.


    Is it good to say 'Sie sind ein Mädchen' as you mentioned? I thought "Sie" =They/she? Pls answer


    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.)


    Thanks, that really helped :)


    Actually, the phrase should translate to "She is a girl" (Sie sind ein mädchen)


    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.


    The word "Mädchen" has 2 meanings. It can be either plural or singular at the same form. :) Hope this helps!


    Sie can be they or you but used in a formal way as if you were talking to a teacher or a police officer or someone that you aren't close with.


    but here with the sentence capitalization we can't distinguish "sie" and "Sie". and it makes it even more tricky. :-/


    Okay there is das Mädchen and then there is die Mädchen Das Mädchen 1. Girl

    Die Mädchen 2 or more. Girls


    Mistakenly done so


    The same way "you" can be use to talk to one person or a group - I always have to guess.


    It is unlikely that tou would use the formal 'you'; 'Sie sind' to a girl, so it is much more likely to be 'they'.


    Teachers often start using Sie when the students are about 16 — they are still legally children, and Mädchen would still be appropriate.

    But you’re right that it would be relatively specific circumstances.


    You could still use "Sie sind Mädchen" as "you are girls" as sort of an insult like "you are pussies".


    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.


    You can hover your mouse in the word to see the translation. It translates both there


    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.


    Can anyone tell me why " Sie ist Mädchen"is not accepted? I suppose we can have two answers here: 1. Sie sind Mädchen.(You are girl./ They are girls.) 2. Sie ist Mädchen.(She is girl.)


    She is a girl. = Sie ist ein Mädchen.

    The word "Mädchen" in the sentence is a singular noun and needs an article.


    If Madchen also refers "a girl",why "Sie ist Madchen" doesn't correct answer?


    She is a girl. = Sie ist ein Mädchen.

    The word "Mädchen" in the sentence is a singular noun and needs an article.


    Maybe because you didn't spell 'Mädchen' right? I got it wrong once when I forgot the 'ä'.


    Since Mädchen can be both singular and plural. Am I correct that das Mädchen = singular (the girl) and die Mädchen =plural (the girls)?


    "Sind" sounds like "zent". It is supposed to sound like this?


      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.


      I nearly got this one wrong i can never tell when 'sie' is her or they and 'Mädchen' is the same for girl and girls


      From the verb conjugation that follows it, It is possible to tell sometimes


      So the only way to differentiate between she and they is the verb form associated with it?


      That's right.


      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.


      in german you always have to use pronouns as in french?


      Yes, as in French or English.

      Even though the verb endings usually show the person, we still use pronouns.

      (Exception: telegram/newspaper headline style.)


      Could somebody tell me why sie ist Madchen is incorrect? I see this has been posted before but there does not seem to be an answer? I would have thought both Sie sind Madchen (they are girls ) and Sie ist Madchen (she is girl) would both be correct?


      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."


      Thank you I think I understand ha ha


      Is it "sie ist eine mädchen" because mädchen is feminine? or is it just "sie ist ein mädchen"?

      Does 'eine' only mean an or is it also the feminine version of 'a'?


        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'.


        why its not "Sie sied Machen"...isn't sind is used when referring to ourselves?


          sied is not a word.

          You can use sind in the following situations:
          wir sind = "we are"
          sie sind = "they are"
          Sie sind = "you are" (formal, to one person or a group)


          i fing it hard to pronounce Madchen. The lady is hard to understand. any tips


            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.


            Why doesnt "we are girls" count? ???


            Because sie does not mean "we".


            Sie is singular or plural??


            Sie (capitalised), the polite way to say "you", is singular or plural, yes.

            Herr Müller, Sie sind ein Mann. "Mr Müller, you are a man." (singular)

            Herr Schmidt und Herr Meier, Sie sind Männer. "Mr Schmidt and Mr Müller, you are men." (plural)


            why is the sentence " Sie bist madchen" wrong?


            The subject sie and the verb bist do not match each other.

            bist is for du (you) -- sie (they) needs the veb form sind.


            I can't use a microphone right now so I skipped the question. It counted as an incorrect answer. I am confused.


              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.


              I typed in "they are girls" and got it wrong???


              i think you were supposed to right she is a girl


              No. sie sind means "they are", not "she is" (= sie ist).


              Is there groupchat or community on this app?


              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.


              How sie used for both she and they


              That's just how it is.

              The words used to sound different a thousand years ago or so, but because of sound changes, they now sound the same. (Unstressed final vowels merged.)


              sie means "she" also though. im confused


              You can tell the difference from the verb.

              sie ist can only be "she is".

              sie sind is the form for "they are".


              It should be ihr sied madchen


              The way to say "they are girls" is sie sind Mädchen.

              ihr is for "you" (when you are speaking to a group of people). And it would take the verb form seid, not sied, and Mädchen has an umlaut on the ä.


              What is the difference between sind and bist ?


              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.


              Where is ein used? I thought it is used with males( i.e. Mann and Junge) but it is also used with Madchen. Please help me


                It relates to the grammatical gender of a word. This can be different to the biological gender, if the thing you are talking about has one. The word Mädchen is grammatically neuter, so we need to use ein, not eine.


                "Sind" is plural, correct??


                sind is first person plural ("we") or third person plural ("they"), yes.

                It's not second person plural ("you / y'all / you guys"), though.


                why we say sie sind??can you explaine for me?


                sie sind means "they are".

                So if you want to say "they are" in German, you have to use sie sind because that is the German way to say it.

                I'm sorry; I don't quite understand your question? What is the part that you don't understand?


                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.)


                I thought sie was she not they


                It's both.

                You can tell the difference by the verb form, e.g. sie ist "she is" versus sie sind "they are".

                Most of the time, the "she" form has a -t and the "they" form has -en, e.g. sie trinkt "she is drinking" versus sie trinken "they are drinking".


                Yes, that’s right... but sie (lowercase) is also “they”. The verb forms are different, however— sie ist... = ‘she is’..., while sie sind... = “they are...”


                So..... "Sie sind Madchen" means 'they are girls' and 'you are a girl' in the polite format?


                No, it can’t mean “you are a girl” — there is no “a”. And “you are girl” is not correct, either.

                But it can mean “you are girls” when speaking to several young people politely.

                “You are a girl” would be Sie sind ein Mädchen.


                ...or as an insult to grown ups


                How much easier would be for us students if you could give us complete conjugation of the verbs.. "to be": Ich bin, du bist, er, sie es ist, wir sind, ihr seid, sie sind.


                It does, in the grammar notes.


                Having a lot of trouble recognizing the initial consonant in some words and therefore getting things wrong. Is this a sound quality issue, or is it down to my ears? !!


                Why do we use "sind" not "seid"


                Because the subject is sie and not ihr.

                sie goes with sind: sie sind = they are

                ihr goes with seid: ihr seid = you are (several people)

                Like how you can't say "I are" or "you is" -- "I" always goes with "am", etc.


                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??


                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.)


                Why can't I correct typo?


                A bit confuse as the translation for 'sie' in the sentence was 'you' but the correct translation below was 'they'???


                "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 ....".


                Can't look the diffrence between "they are" and "you are" i mean both of them make sense


                Yes, that’s right.


                Why does sie mean both she and they. Isn‘t is supposed to have one meaning. I mean in the other stages they taught us er, sie, es. Why is that being ignored and turned into they instead of she?


                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)


                Well - "always" as in "for the last five to eight hundred years or so".

                The two words used to be different, but that was a very long time ago indeed.


                Very true.

                Now I am curious— what were the original pronouns before they became conflated? .


                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 [37] at the end; try this link instead if you can.)



                Fascinating! Thank you very much! :-D.


                In one of the questions, they told me to translate ‘they are are girls’ to German. I wrote ‘sie sind Madchen’ and I got it wrong. It said the correct answer was ‘Sie sind Madchen’. What is the difference between Sie and sie?? One lingot to who ever answers this. Danke


                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.)


                Sie is also she but sie is also they so be careful


                So "SIE" (whether formal or informal) means "you" "she" and "they" at the same time?? Damn! Had the Germans run out of words? Beautiful language anyways...


                No, not at the same time. The verb form generally indicates which is which, or the sentence context.


                It was just a joke, but you are right.


                Sorry— hard to tell in an online forum. It’s true that it’s a confusing thing to adjust to.


                technically if they had put "ist" in the selection box, you could have chosen to either put ist or sind because they would both be correct, but it would change the meaning. ist would be "she is a girl" and sind would obviously be "they are grils"


                  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


                  Are there infinitives in German?


                  Yes, there are.


                  Can't it be "she is girl"



                  Firstly, that is ungrammatical in English, and secondly, sie sind means "they are" and not "she is" (= sie ist).


                  Sie sind Mädchen. Is. She are girl ?? Whats the fo



                  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.


                  Problem with audio's gauge


                  Anyway, i still dont understand


                  I thought Mädchen was neutral, why the "Sie" if its for femenine?


                  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).


                  The acceptable translations for "They are girls" are: 1. Sie sind Mädchen or 2. Ihr seid Mädchen. Previously Duolingo did not accept "Sie sind Mädchen" as an acceptable translation. There are inconsistencies.


                  Ihr seid Mädchen. means "You are girls."

                  It does not mean "They are girls."


                  I actually do not understand seid and sind whats the damn difference!!


                  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.


                  Audio refuses to play




                  Here is the Troubleshooting Discussions link:
                  They may help you better than me.


                  There's an issue with the pronounciation it seems as the lady is pronouncing "Sie" wrongly.


                  I thought "sie" was "she." Is there a difference?


                  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"? I don't understand.


                  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.


                  they and you can not be the same how the translation can be both of them it is imposible


                  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.


                  "They are" is 2nd person plural so why isn't it "Sie seid"?


                  "They are" is 2nd person plural

                  Huh? No.

                  1st person is the speaker(s).

                  2nd person is the listener(s).

                  3rd person is anyone else: people who are not speaking nor spoken to, but are spoken about.

                  "they" is third person plural. Hence sie sind.


                  Wait so i thought sie was she


                  Wait so i thought sie was she

                  "she" is sie.

                  "they" is also sie.

                  And "her" and "them" are also sie.

                  It's kind of like English "you" in reverse, which in German is du or dich or ihr or euch.


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