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  5. "Sie lesen Bücher."

"Sie lesen Bücher."

Translation:They read books.

April 28, 2013

138 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

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/beeters

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/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/Setap7

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/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

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/GuardianCiego

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/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

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/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

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

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

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/GuardianCiego

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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/merrynjohnson

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/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).

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