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  5. "Sie lesen Bücher."

"Sie lesen Bücher."

Translation:They read books.

April 28, 2013

184 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnissEl-Hr

It's Sie plural. If She the verb would be "sie liest"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IndaImmega

It was a fill-in: "Sie __ Bücher". So how should I have known it was Sie or sie?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I think I've found that fill-in-the-blank exercise -- the options I see are "lesen; lese, esse".

You can't tell the difference between Sie and sie, but lese is not appropriate for either of them -- it's the form for ich. So you can eliminate that form on grammatical grounds. Same with esse which is also the form for ich. That leaves only lesen which could work for Sie (you) or sie (they).

Were those the options you saw or was this a different exercise?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0FzZS8m0

For me, the question was: Sie ____ Bucher. And the options were 1) lese 2) lest 3) lesen.

I thought it was 'she reads books' so I wrongly chose 'lest' because I didn't know the spelling was 'liest'. Very tricky!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

And now you know :)

lesen is one of those verbs that changes its stem vowel in the du and er, sie, es forms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sunshinecowgill

Yes, this is exactly it. I guessed "sie lese" thinking it was she, but you are right - it could not have been lese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CretuRadu

Yes it was for me, thanks for the explanation!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonBrown205736

You can tell by the 3rd word being a plural. Which automatically cancels out the feminine component, leaving it to be they


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/javad262238

So why sometimes it accept "sie liesen" for" she reads" but sometimes it says the correct sentence is" they read


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
Mod

    Sie lesen can never mean "She reads". There must have been a mistake involved.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ibins8

    It's either "sie lesen" (plural) or "sie liest" (singular). "sie liesen" does not exist in German.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CreativityBrain

    But if it came first in sentence then it will be capitalized


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mimawbaubo

    Yes but the conjugation would be liest which want an option for me


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChikNuggets

    The question itself gives no indication whether "Sie" means "she" or "they", we have to make the assumption ourselves, giving us a 50-50 change of guessing the answer. Everyone who's saying that she would be "liest" doesn't realize that this can't explain it because the only reason "liest" would be there is if we put it there ourselves by guessing that "Sie" means "she"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    Can you give a screenshot of the exercise that you saw?

    Duo has several different types of exercises that it generates automatically from a given sentence but I'm not sure which one you might have seen that might have generated the confusion.

    You talk about "putting it there yourself", which sounds a bit like a tapping exercise in a translation, but if you're supposed to put German words there, there must be an English sentence to translate and that English sentence would say "she" or "they".

    And if it's a "translate German to English" exercise, I would expect you to see the entire sentence Sie lesen Bücher, where you would see both sie and lesen at the same time, without needing to put anything anywhere -- and then you can see that it is not sie liest but sie lesen.

    Or if you can't provide a screenshot, can you explain exactly what you saw and what you were asked to do in the exercise?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kiko584607

    But it's the beginning of a sentence. Sie should naturally be capitalized.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nijil

    When Sie(they) is used you get lesen . When sie(she ) is used you get liest. For ich it's lese . For wir it can again be lesen.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy886679

    What about lest? When is lest used?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    When the subject is ihr: ihr lest = you are reading (when speaking to several people at once).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew403645

    What about "Wir lesit". Does that mean "Us women are reading"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    No; that's not a possible verb form in standard German at all.

    Wir lesen means "we are reading" (or "we read"), and as in English, is the same regardless of the gender of the people reading.

    Gender is distinguished -- as in English -- only in the third person singular.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pledet

    because of the plural lesen? If it was she it would have been liest.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julaj3

    Sie liest-She reads, Sie lesen-They read


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RatrawiPhe

    maybe cause "Sie lesen" ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Setayesh663082

    Because if it was a she it would say ((sie liest))but lesen is for group of people so it means they


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiftUzumma

    Because it is prual from the context you know lesen.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/churun3

    Pay attention to the verb, it its lesen then the subject must be plural, it means, it can not be 'she' which is singular.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Figures

    in this ex are both available. it is corect what other said about plural and sing but in this case sie is on the biggining of the sentance so ...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
    Mod

      In this sentence Sie can not mean "she" as the verb would have to be liest. It can only mean "They" or "You" (politely to any number of people) because these are the only forms that match Sie at the beginning of a sentence with lesen. The other comments had explained this already.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gik25

      But why this disallow Buch? Many people read one book.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
      Mod

        I can't see what your comment has to do with my post, but I'll answer anyway.

        The sentence we are asked to translate uses the plural Bücher/"books". Simply because that's what we're asked to translate, it's incorrect to answer with the singular. Both German and English use the plural/singular forms in the same way in this example.

        From a 'logical' point of view (dangerous to apply this to Duolingo's sentences, to be honest), I also don't see a problem. I would say "I read books" because over my life I read more than one of them. Even at one particular time I could say "I am reading a couple of books at the moment", meaning that I am partway through reading several and depending on my circumstances I will choose one or the other to continue with. It does not mean that I am reading them simultaneously, as you seem to be implying.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
        Mod

          In response to IluapGnagflow, the singular German Buch would not be correct as a translation because the English sentence uses the plural "books". Additionally, a sentence such as 'Sie lesen Buch' is grammatically incorrect because a singular countable noun needs an article, for example Sie lesen ein Buch or Sie lesen das Buch. Neither of these (grammatically correct) sentences are an appropriate translation however because they still use the singular.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IluapGnagflow

          But why the case 'Buch' is not correct? Grammatically it IS correct.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

          Yes, but Sie lesen Buch is as wrong in German as "They are reading book" is in English -- you need an article with a singular countable noun.

          See also the thread started by Nalisartsy.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julaj3

          Sie liest-shee read, Sie lesen- They read


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iantomarcello

          I receive a multiple choice question for this on mobile, but the choices were "Buch" and "Bücher" and the question was "Sie lesen ___" Isn't both acceptable?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
          Mod

            No, only Bücher is correct in that example.

            The reason is that, like in English, singular nouns need an article in German. Plural nouns do not (but can have one, to be more specific).

            As an example, it is incorrect to say 'They read book' in English. It needs to be "They read a book". The German equivalent 'Sie lesen Buch' is wrong and needs to be Sie lesen ein Buch.

            For plurals, both "They read books" and "They read the books" are grammatically-correct sentences. The first one refers to books generally, the second one to a specific set of books. The German equivalents are Sie lesen Bücher and Sie lesen die Bücher.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

            The reason is that, like in English, singular nouns need an article in German.

            To be more precise -- like in English, countable singular nouns need an article in German.

            (So "We are drinking water" and Wir trinken Wasser are fine in the singular without an article because "water"/Wasser is a mass/non-count noun.)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0AlT7bw4

            What if i wanted to say, "they are reading a book" , is it "Sie lesen ein Buch"?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spush

            Sie + verb+en = They You are reading books.= Du/Ihr liest/lest Bücher. I think correct is: They are reading boks.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Santi_Minstrel

            Sie (capitalized) is formal you. The conjugation matches the they (sie) form. You can tell apart each one by capitalization. However, at the beginning of the sentence, there is no way to tell. So it can be either they or you. Another alternative one may think is the 'she' (sie) also no capitalized, but conjugation differs (liest)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vaalwyn

            It can be both cause Sie or sie is in the beginning of the sentence and has to be capital S


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyRumore

            Yes, I agree. sie, lower case is she. BUT, in THIS sentence, the word begins the sentence. In this case, "Sie" can mean either one, she or you/they. It is capitalized as a first word in the sentence, and we have no idea which "sie/Sie" they mean. If you choose the "right one" (what Duo wants) then you get it correct. I chose "she" and therefore got it wrong. If they don't put it in a place inside the sentence, the reader can't determine what is wanted. If I were a mind reader, I would be able to speak fluent German without doing all this!!


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mimawbaubo

            When it is at the beginning of a sentence or in spoken language (you can't hear capitals) you have to determine which sie it is by the conjugation of the verb Sie lesen = they/you(formal) read. Sie liest = she reads. This is why she is not the right one.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/harry46502

            But the fill in the blank of the verb had both liest and lesen as possible answers, so there is no way to tell based on the answers whether the "Sie" refes to She or They


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

            But the fill in the blank of the verb had both liest and lesen as possible answers

            That would surprise me, as the options I see are "lesen - lese - lest".

            No liest.

            sie lest is not correct because lest is for ihr lest.

            If you are sure that you saw liest as an option, a screenshot would be extremely helpful if you happen to come across the exercise again.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zoltan81565

            I totally agree. There is no way to tell. Plus I had the misfortune of having to complete with the verb.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

            What do you mean "complete with the verb"?

            I can't see a forms exercise asking students to complete the verb in this exercise.

            Was a multiple-choice exercise? What were the options?

            Can you make a screenshot of the exercise once it comes again?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rich.davis

            Not sure how to show a screenshot here but this particular exercise that ask for you to "complete with the verb" is as such with multiple choice.. "Sie ____ Bücher" lese lesen esst

            I chose lese for "She reads books." But this was wrong and was supposed to be "Sie lesen Bücher." So how are we supposed to know if the want the plural of Sie or the singular if it's at the start of a sentence?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

            Ah, thank you for the description!

            (Odd - I thought fill-in-the-blank exercises were all manually created, but the one for this sentence has "Sie lesen ......" with options "Bücher / Buch / Büchern", no choice for verb. Perhaps the system generated the one you saw automatically somehow?)

            At any rate, "she reads books" would be *Sie liest Bücher".

            Sie lese Bücher is not correct, at least not in the indicative mood -- there, lese only fits with ich as in ich lese.

            So that should be the signal that it cannot be the right one to fill the gap, much as lest would not be appropriate as those are the form for ihr.

            Of the three choices you wrote (lese, lesen, esst), only lesen can occur after sie.

            (Unless we're talking about the present subjunctive mood, but that's not something touched on much in this course, and certainly not so early on.)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoiDs

            How to pronouce bücher?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ungewitig_Wiht

            The ü is pronounced by making the letter E as in meet and then rounding your lips as though you were saying the letter O. The ch is this sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_palatal_fricative. The closest (though pretty far) English approximation of this word's pronunciation is "Beausher" with the Beau from beautiful.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mdshoaibraza

            what is difference between Sie(they ) and Sie (she)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mimawbaubo

            Sie can mean they, she, or you (formal, plural or singular). When using the formal Sie is always capitalized. For she the verb is conjugated with a 't' on the end. For you and they it is conjugated with an 'en'.

            Th as t being said lesen 'to read' is slightly irregular. Ich lese. Du liest. Er/sie/es liest. Wir lesen. Ihr lest. Sie lesen.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mhcfarhan

            Are the singular and the plural of formal 2nd pronoun same? Sie sind Man. Sie sind Männer. Are both of those sentences correct?


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
            Mod

              You can use Sie as the formal "you" for both singular and plural:

              Sie sind ein Mann = "You are a man"
              Sie sind Männer = "You are men"


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MuhAhmed

              Well, both are correct because the "Sein" verb conjugation in both cases is "sind".


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/santimonto1

              Can someone point out the difference between simple present (I eat, I drink) and present continous (I am eating, I am drinking) in German? Is there a difference? Because Duolingo always takes both as correct for Ich esse or Ich trinke.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
              Mod

                No difference. German doesn't have present continuing tense (see Duolingo's tips page for the very first lesson). When it needs to be emphasised that something is happening right now, other words must be added to the sentence (like jetzt).


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vaalwyn

                What about " sie lesen gerade Bücher"?


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                Mod

                  Yes, that's an example of what I was talking about.


                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leyciipuccino

                  Why Bücher? Is this something I have to memorize? So you just need to add -er to indicate plural form?


                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                  Mod

                    There are several ways of making plurals, and although there are some patterns to it there are also many exceptions. You will need a lot of memorising.

                    See Duolingo's lesson tips here (scroll down): https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Plurals


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leyciipuccino

                    Okay, danke! And also thanks for the link :3


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zena816095

                    is (ch) pronounced differentaly if its followed by er !! can someone explain the different forms of pronounciation,, thanks in advance ;)


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Santi_Minstrel

                    It's rather about the preceding vowels rather than the followings. Except for those words taken from other languages (which may keep their foreign pron), basically the rule is:

                    • If preceded by 'a', 'o', 'u': ch is pronounced like a stronger English 'h' sound as in 'happy'. Examples: Acht, Koch, Buch

                    • If preceded by 'e, 'i', or Umlaut, ch is pronounced like between a softer 'sh' sound and the 'h' in 'huge' Examples: Becher, ich, Nächte, Töchter, Bücher. Also some endings like -chen have this sound.

                    Hope this helps


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                    ch is also palatal after 'l', 'n', 'r', e.g. solch, manch, durch (even if the vowel before that is a back vowel!).


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a11i50n

                    Why is it they read books and not they're reading books?


                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                    Mod

                      That should be correct too. Click "Report a Problem" if it happens again. Sometimes Duolingo doesn't have all the possible correct answers in its database.


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GageTruelo

                      In English, I hear people say "They are reading some books," instead of "They are reading books." Is the former incorrect? Is it a difference in dialect?


                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                      Mod

                        "They are reading some books" makes perfect sense as a sentence, but it's different to what Duolingo asked us to translate.

                        Adding extra words is often done for a reason - to change the meaning - so you shouldn't do it when translating unless necessary. Here, it isn't necessary as "They are reading books" also makes perfect sense (with a slightly different meaning). Nothing to do with dialect.


                        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/natnatbbyxx

                        In this case, how do you tell if "Sie" is referring to You (singular, formal) (You read books) vs. the answer (they read books). Normally you go off of the ending (-en) but Sie / sie both grammatically add -en endings...


                        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                        Mod

                          In this example from Duolingo, you can't tell and both answers are accepted. In the real world, single sentences don't stand alone like this and you'd be able to tell from the context.


                          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GreekPolyglot9

                          Does anyone have any tips on pronoucing German words? For me right now pronoucing German is harder than learning all thw Grammar points....


                          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoiDs

                          Lese is read but in google translate it shows lese means harvest. Does it means both?


                          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                          Mod

                            Not really. It can mean "to pick", like to pick grapes off a vine, or to pick leaves off a lettuce. But in those situations it's used differently. Just remember it as "to read" and you won't have trouble. Also, don't use Google as a dictionary! Use Dict.cc for example.


                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                            die Lese can refer to a harvest (I've usually heard it in the combination die Weinlese).

                            The trouble with looking up individual, inflected words on Google Translate....


                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

                            Google Translate isn’t reliable as a dictionary. If you need a German<-> English dictionary, a great resource is LEO Wörterbuch. https://dict.leo.org/german-english/


                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatharinaK337340

                            So, I was about to ask "why isn't it YOU".

                            Then I realized that if it is "YOU are reading books", I reckon it should've been "Sie lesen EIN Buch / DAS Buch"

                            In this case, Sie lesen _ (without a case), it has to be "sie" (they).

                            Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Danke!


                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                            Mod

                              I think you're a bit mixed up there! Sie lesen at the start of a sentence can mean either "They read" or "You read" (using the polite form). Those two possibilities have nothing to do with what follows.

                              Additionally, singular nouns in both English and German need an article: ein Buch, "a book". Plural nouns don't: Bücher, "books". So, read your second sentence again... you mix up the singular and plural.


                              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsabelHess___

                              Why does 'sie' mean She and They? Ive gotten many questions wrong because of this confusion


                              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                              Mod

                                There's not really a reason 'why'. Languages just develop over time and this is what we've got!

                                It can be helpful to remember that there are three main possibilities for sie/Sie. But you can usually pick the right one based on a combination of whether or not it has a capital letter, and on whether the verb that comes after it has an -n or -t at the end:

                                sie liest = "she reads"
                                sie lesen = "they read"
                                Sie lesen = "you read" (polite)

                                Of course, when you have "They read" at the start of a sentence, you also need to write Sie with a capital letter. This doesn't change the meaning, but it does mean we then have two valid possibilities when translating from German to English.


                                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ahmed441499

                                Why "They are reading books" is not correct?


                                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                Mod

                                  That should also be accepted as correct. Try it again next time, and if not accepted notify the course creators with the 'report' button.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wilhelm574203

                                  why can it not be you formal?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  But it can be. "You read books" is also accepted.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Majid679885

                                  Why it doesnt mean " They are reading books." ?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  It does mean that as well.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClaraRalston

                                  I dont remenber learning this in the last sections


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joaddan1

                                  How do you know if its Sie as in "she" or as in "they"?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  By the verb ending. See the other comments on this page, please; this has been explained several times in different ways.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbdullahAb334380

                                  it's all about the verb after Sie/sie perhaps


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martin348311

                                  Why "they" could't read one book ?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  They could.

                                  But they aren't doing so in the German sentence -- it reads Sie lesen Bücher (They are reading books) and not Sie lesen ein Buch (They are reading a book; They are reading one book).


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThomasGood876035

                                  Why is this not the formal Sie?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  It could be, and "You are reading books / You read books" are also accepted translations.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HonzaMaj

                                  Sie cann be she , too


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  That's right. For example, sie liest would be "she is reading".

                                  This sentence has sie lesen, though, and the verb form tells us that it is "they are reading" instead.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lee1221

                                  They are reading books should be correct right?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/C.K.8

                                  Could this also mean "they are reading books" or just "they read books". Not a big deal, just wondering!


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Yes, it could mean either of those.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/charan925056

                                  When to use lease, liest?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KnitChick91

                                  I typed "they are reading books" and it marked me incorrect? does that not also count?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mxrryn

                                  surely it could accept both?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Both what and what?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TyCraaybeek

                                  I see a lot of people asking about the problem and saying they dont know what to choose. I had something similar but almost all of my answers were for Sie. The first was lesen; which can be used for they (and the answer). Thr second was lest which I think is for formal "you" or "he," she," and "it." The last was lese which is for I so I knew that was not it. I just couldn't tell for the others though because it could have been for both. Can someone please explain thanks.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  lest is from ihr lest (you read -- informal plural).

                                  lesen changes its vowel for du and er, sie, es and so those forms are du liest; er liest, sie liest, es liest.

                                  Thus sie lest is not possible for "she reads" and you can discard that option as well.

                                  lese, as you said, is for ich.

                                  (If we ignore the subjunctive for now, as this course does.)


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jalaledin1

                                  Yes it could be she...


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  No -- the verb form is not right for "she".


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/narcis395985

                                  bücher pronounce?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PabloGordi19

                                  I've read the comments for this question and everybody, save some are missing the point. The question is ambiguous because there is no definite answer for it given the criteria.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

                                  Yes, there is: lese and lest cannot be used with sie/Sie.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pronkman666

                                  How are we supossed to know that it is they and not she? For me the question was "Sie ____ Bücher." The answers were: Lese Liest Lesen

                                  The only accepted answer was lesen


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Please look more closely; I think you'll find that the middle option was lest, not liest.

                                  sie lest is not possible, thus only sie lesen is grammatically correct from among those choices.

                                  If you did see liest, can you provide a screenshot, please? (Upload it somewhere and paste the URL to the image here.)


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pronkman666

                                  You were right it was liest. I need to look a bit harder next time. Thanks


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anand120936

                                  How to pronounce Bücher??


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/geeta581897

                                  Sie lesen should be they are reading not she reads


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan395127

                                  dieser war fur mich sehr verwirrend


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EssieInSocal

                                  Disagree! You can as an individual say you read books. .


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CristiStac1

                                  I always get confused with Sie is it woman or is it they. Can some one explain?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EssieInSocal

                                  The order is: ich du er / sie / es wir ihr Sie / sie

                                  Sie is the formal form of -you, used with (grand)parents, work etc.

                                  sie can be -she or -they

                                  I miss the Grammar explanation I had in HS on Duolingo.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

                                  Each section has a Tips & Notes page. You can access it from Duolingo on the Web, or by touching the ‘lightbulb’ icon in the app.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Look at the verb.

                                  If it ends in -t, sie means “she”.

                                  If it ends in -en, sie means “they”.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amir.farkhad

                                  How shoud I know that is "they" not "she"?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Because the following verb ends in -en and not in -t.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvinNix1

                                  I don't think you could have as the question gave you both forms of the verb for the pronouns you mentioned "sie" and "Sie". Since the pronoun was at the beginning it started with a capital letter. The only way to tell would have been to look at the verb and it's what was missing (what you had to choose).


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  The same sentence can give multiple exercises -- the person you replied to might have had a translation exercise rather than a fill-in-the-blanks exercise.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EduardoGon500483

                                  I thought "sie"only meant "she"


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deepu568809

                                  Why "Sie lesen Bücher" translate to "they are reading the books"??


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  It doesn't.

                                  Bücher is "books", not "the books".


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvinNix1

                                  "Sie" at the beginning of a sentence is tricky, because it will be capitalized anyway, but could be she or they. Seems the only way to understand what they want is to know the context it is used in.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Look at the following verb -- "she" forms end in -t, "they" forms end in -en.

                                  sie lesen has -en, so it has to be "they read".


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CalvinNix1

                                  Yes, what you say is true, but my comment was referring to this specific example in Duo where the verb itself was missing. You could have chosen "lesen" or "liest". That seemed to be everyone's underlying concern.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  I see no exercise where the verb is missing where there is a choice of "liest".

                                  I see one that has "lesen, lese, lest".

                                  Of those three, only lesen goes with sie -- the other two are ich lese and ihr lest.

                                  If you do find an exercise with liest, then please provide a screenshot; this should not happen, and it will help me pass on a bug report.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VaderDarthy

                                  We isn't it "they are reading books"?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  That's another possible translation.

                                  Standard German does not make that distinction.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FlameSwimmer

                                  There were two correct answers without context


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/blkgreene

                                  Why is is "They read" instead of "They are reading"?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

                                  Look above you in the discussion— this has been asked and answered many times. (Short version: it can be either one).


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hycind

                                  Though I figured out it would be "lesen", I tried google translate and found "Sie lese" is valid (https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=de&tl=en&text=Sie%20lese%20B%C3%BCcher) . Is that wrong?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Yes, it's wrong.

                                  Don't trust Google Translate. It's notorious for trying to make sense out of nonsense -- or making nonsense out of sense. You can't use it to "prove" anything.

                                  Try translating "I reads books." When I did so, I got get the (nearly) valid German sentence Ich lese bücher.

                                  Does that mean that "I found that I reads books is valid" ?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean506911

                                  What letter do we type with "u" to replace the umlaut in Bucher?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  ue as in Buecher


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2GreyCats

                                  Also, on a tablet, or a mobile, you can simply touch-and-hold the u, a, o, and s on your virtual keyboard to make the ü, ä, ö, and ß characters appear. On a Windows PC, you can either use Alt codes, or just click the special characters you want (they are available on the screen),


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amirjdk

                                  why not Buch? is it grammatically incorrect?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vaalwyn

                                  For that you would need an option for Sie lesen ein buch.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Yes - Sie lesen Buch. is just as grammatically incorrect as "They are reading book."

                                  Countable nouns in the singular almost always need some kind of determiner before them, such as an article.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Yes, though you can tell the difference through the verb ending ("she" has -t, "they" has -en).


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eskander98

                                  What if they all read ONE book.. would it be "Sie lesen buch" ??


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  No, it would be Sie lesen ein Buch.

                                  As in English, where we say "They are reading a book", and not "They are reading book".


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vighneshpv

                                  Here I understand that "Sie" cannot mean "She". But can't it mean either "They" or "You" (polite). How do we distinguish? And if it is "You", can't we write "Sie lesen Buch" as in "You read book"?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Sie lesen Bücher. can mean either "they are reading books" or "you are reading books".

                                  You can only distinguish them from context.

                                  Sie lesen Buch and "You read book" are both incorrect: Buch/book is countable, so needs to be preceded by a determiner such as an article in the singular.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meme_warlord

                                  Capital letter "s" in "Sie" is "they" and small "s" in sie is she.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  No, that is not correct. Capitalised Sie does not mean "they".

                                  "they" and "she" are both lowercase sie.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicks1015

                                  Why not You read buch i.e Sie lesen buch?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  Because books are countable.

                                  In German and English, countable nouns in the singular usually require a determiner in front of them, such as an indefinite article.

                                  "You read book" or Sie lesen Buch are not possible.


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gaapi

                                  They are reading the books - what is wrong with this?


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                  You wrote "the books" which refers to a specific set of books that you had spoken about before in the conversation -- but the German sentence just refers to Bücher in general (not die Bücher, specific books).


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/businesswoman22

                                  I thought if it's "Sie" the ending of read would be ending in "t" not "en"


                                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                  Mod

                                    Unfortunately, Sie can have several meanings:

                                    "you (formal)" = Sie (always capitalised)
                                    With the verb, this uses Sie lesen. This is the polite way to say "you" when talking to one person or to a group.

                                    "they" = sie (only capitalised at the beginning of a sentence)
                                    With the verb, also use sie lesen. If it's at the beginning of a sentence, you'll have to use other information to figure out if it's "they" or "you". In these ambiguous situations , Duolingo should accept either.

                                    "she" = sie (only capitalised at the beginning of a sentence)
                                    With the verb, use sie liest. This is probably what you were expecting, but as you can see, if sie is used with a verb ending in -en, it can't mean "she" so you'll have to figure out if it means "they" or "you".

                                    See the full list of verb conjugation here: http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/German/lesen.html


                                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisOrteg6

                                    I though sie was either she or they...


                                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                    Mod

                                      It can be, but those two meanings conjugate the verb differently.


                                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MirandalearnsDuo

                                      So, basically, if I were to say Sie lesen Bücher, it would only be lesEN because it's talking about more than one person?


                                      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                      Mod

                                        Not necessarily.

                                        Instead of thinking that the verb ending matches some number of people, think that it matches the personal pronoun - ich/du/er/sie/es/ihr/wir/sie/Sie. Each of those has a form of the verb that it needs to match to (called a conjugation of the verb).

                                        Whether those pronouns are for more than one person or not is a different matter. If you look at one of the conjugation tables that lists ich lese, er liest, wir lesen, etc. you'll see that there is no pattern to the verb ending itself just based on the number of people that the pronoun refers to. Yes, there are some coincidences where sie lesen ("they read") and wir lesen ("we read") refer to more than one person, but ihr lest ("you [all] read") also refers to more than one person and it's different. And the polite Sie lesen ("you read") can be used to one person or a group.

                                        If you've never heard of a verb conjugation table, Duolingo has some examples in the lesson tips, which you can see in a web browser if you scroll down before starting a lesson.


                                        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paula.bosc

                                        Why is it "lesen" instead of "liest"?


                                        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                        Mod

                                          sie lesen = "they read"
                                          sie liest = "she reads"

                                          Please read the other comments for more explanation. Duolingo's tips page for the first lesson might also be useful (only available in web browsers, not the apps - you may need to scroll down too).


                                          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KrishHM

                                          Hallo! Is Bücher pronunced (Bu-che-are)?


                                          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/az_p
                                          Mod

                                            Forget about trying to 'explain' pronunciation by writing - it will always be inaccurate. Listen to a recording from a native-speaker on Forvo. You can also look up pronunciation tutorials on YouTube.


                                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bacrebac

                                            I think both possibilities were correct. Option 1: Sie lesen Bücher (they read books) Option 2: Sie lesen buch (they read a book) isn't it? The plural goes with the subject, not the object.


                                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

                                            Sie lesen Buch would translate to "They read book".

                                            The sentence is as wrong in German as it is in English -- in the singular, you need an article or other determiner before the countable noun.

                                            "They read a/the/my/this/etc. book" -- Sie lesen ein/das/mein/dies/usw. Buch

                                            But just sie lesen Buch does not work.


                                            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bacrebac

                                            Thanks! Yes! I just thought about it after posting. My main concern was finding out whether the object influences the verb or not. Now it's clear to me that it does not.

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