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"Ich habe einen großen Bruder und eine kleine Schwester."

Translation:I have a big brother and a little sister.

June 4, 2013

79 Comments


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

So are 'großen Bruder' and 'kleine Schwester' used in this context in a similar way to how we use big brother and little sister in English? In that it tends not to actually refer to their physical size, but their age in relation to ourselves?


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

According to a native speaker (not me): Yep! Groß is used for older siblings and klein is used for younger siblings.


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

It's like in Spanish: "un hermano más grande" and "una hermana pequeña".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strobro3

Damn it, I'm adding Spanish to the list of 48 languages I want to learn...


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

Well, I also like languages, but I'm learning the twos!


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

Yeah, german and spanish are my main ones to learn


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/speedbump414

Although, in my experience, "un hermano mayor" and "una hermana menor" would be the more common ways to refer to a big brother and little sister in Spanish.


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

That's true, actually.


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

Native spanish speaker here. At least in Buenos Aires, it is used either way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vicente599584

as a native speaker from Chile, this is true, both "hermano grande" and "hermano mayor" are used indistintively, at least in Chile it's more common to say "hermano grande".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariadelCa703168

Yes, that is correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervita3

Un hermano mayor y una hermana menor


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/s3xyb34st

'Hermano mayor' and 'Hermana menor'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie565448

'Großer Bruder' means that he is older.The same with 'kleine Schwester'. But when the younger one is taller you sometimes say he or she is 'die große' or 'der große' as fun.


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

Shouldn't it be"an older" and not "a older"?? It's showing that it should be "a older", which seems wrong


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

yeah, "a older" is wrong, "an older" is right.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coolbeach324

Since older starts in a vowel "o" and not a consonant it would necessarily be wrong. If the world "older" started with a consonant it would be "a older" but it doesn't start with a consonant so "an older" would be precisely correct.


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

Would it also be appropriate to say Older and Younger sister, or are they separate words, as in English?


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

You could also say "einen älteren Bruder und eine jüngere Schwester".


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

How would you change the adjective that modifies a pair of nouns? "Ich habe einen kleinen Bruder und Schwester."? oder "eine kleine"? (I have a little brother and sister.)


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

You'd say Ich habe einen kleinen Bruder und eine kleine Schwester.

In the plural, a single adjective works: Ich habe kleine Brüder und Schwestern.

I think the "problem" might be the fact that countable nouns need a determiner in the singular -- something like Ich habe einen Bruder und Schwager for "I have a brother and brother-in-law" sounds wrong to me in both languages (unless you are saying that your brother is simultaneously your brother-in-law) and it would have to be einen Bruder und einen Schwager "a brother and a brother-in-law" with an einen / "a" in front of both nouns.

With Bruder und Schwester, you run into the additional issue that they are of different genders and so they can't share an article anyway.

With uncountable nouns of the same gender, you could probably get away with one adjective for both: Ich habe alten Wein und Champagner gekauft "I bought old wine and champagne" (though as in English, it would be ambiguous whether the champagne was old or not).

With different gender, you have adjective ending troubles again: Ich habe alten Wein und Bier gekauft can only mean "old wine, and also beer" -- the beer cannot be old because that would be altes Bier and not *alten Bier.


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

the best answer. much appreciation!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicole54843

Is this talking about age, size, or either?


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

Most likely age. But could theoretically be size.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/N.agarwal

Is it common to use the words 'großen' and 'kleine' for 'elder' and 'younger'?


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

The siblings are the direct objects of the sentence - they are what the subject, 'ich', has. As direct objects, they take the accusative case. For a masculine word, 'ein' in the nominative case becomes 'einen' in the accusative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sherif503024

Please help here i want to know when its nominative and when accusative


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

You use nominative for the person or thing that is ‘doing’ the verb, so to speak. You use accusative for the thing or person which the verb is being done to. In English grammar, these are the subject and the direct object respectively. In German grammar, we use nominative and accusative cases instead.

So in this sentence, ‘ich’ is in the nominative, because (using English) it is ‘I’ who has the brother and sister - I am doing the having. The brother and sister are in accusative because, in a sense, the act of ‘having’ is being done to them. This changes the articles (i.e. forms of ‘the’ and ‘a’) from their nominative forms, ein and eine, to their accusative forms, einen and eine. The feminine (and neuter and plural) form of the article happens to be the same in nominative and accusative, but don't let that stop you from realising it is in a different case. You only have to worry about using the different form of the masculine one for these two cases though.

So, to demonstrate using the verb ‘sehen’, meaning ‘to see’. (using ‘mein’, which takes the same endings as ‘ein’)

Ich sehe meinen Bruder. - I see my brother.

Mein Bruder sieht mich. - My brother sees me.

In the first, ‘meinen Bruder’ is accusative because he is the one being seen, whereas in the latter, ‘mein Bruder’ is nominative as he is doing the seeing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterM1993

You are amazing!

How do I know when to use Accusative over Dative???


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

so translating to "larger Brother" (comparative) is not okay when "smaller sister" (still comparative) is appropriate?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlosC643608

The same happened to me and I have the same question. I do not understand why the first cannot be a comparative if the second is.


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

Technically, neither of the two is or can be comparative, they would have to be "einen größeren Bruder" and "eine kleinere Schwester". If a comparative form is an accepted translation or the suggested one, report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cerez00

How do you tell between "big" (before a noun) and "bigger"


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

With "big", it's a piece of cake, because "bigger" has an umlaut (größer) and "big" does not (groß).

With other nouns, you have to see whether it's before a noun or not -- for example, kleiner could be a form of klein (ein kleiner Kuchen "a small cake") or a form of kleiner (dieser Kuchen ist kleiner "this cake is smaller").

If you wanted to use "smaller" before a noun, then you have, for example, ein kleinerer Kuchen "a smaller cake", with one -er for the comparative and another -er to agree with the noun.


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

Anyone else having BBC Sherlock flashbacks? Is Sherlock contributing to Duolingo now, besides Twitter? XD (Sorry I couldn't help myself)


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

Yes, I am having a BBC Sherlock flashback this very second!


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

Meine große Schwester ist größer als mein großer Freind


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

Why is 'elder brother' wrong? I guess it should be correct also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janus8536

DL now accepts 'elder brother'. [April '15].


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

People put a lot of links to web pages in comments. How do you use that webpages? I can't click on them on my phone. Is it there a easier way than to turn on computer, connect it to the internet and rewrite address from comments?


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

hey u can copy and paste them into the address bar of your phone's net browser


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

If anyone is having trouble understanding the logic behind the endings, check out: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_declension


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

I sometimes feel like German is harder than Spanish and Italian with all these cases and matching endings :D


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

What about: "Ich habe einen älteren Bruder ...."?


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

Why is a older brother wrong?


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

If the sound immediately following the indefinite article is a vowel sound, the article must take the ‘an’ form, rather than the ‘a’ form.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sherif503024

Why einen not ein only?


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

Does "grossen" mean 'big' or 'bigger' ?


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

then what is the word for "bigger" ?


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

größer

which can take appropriate adjective endings as well if used before a noun, e.g. Ich sehe den größeren Mann "I see the bigger man".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marionw17

I translated this as " I have an older brother and a younger sister." Duo says it is not correct..... grosser meaning "big" Please let me know why?


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

Because it is not the most direct translation of the German sentence. Sometimes compromises have to be made about how far removed from the literal translation an accepted translation can be if it still means the same. I think in this case "older" and "younger" are better not accepted because they are comparative forms, while the original German adjectives are in the base form. In a lesson about comparative adjectives, you can see how that could confuse a learner.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abster_1911

Why not "ich habe einen groß bruder und eine klein schwester"?

Why großen and kleine? Does groß=big & großen=bigger? Does klein=small & kliene=smaller?


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

Because adjectives in the attributive position (that is, directly modifying a noun) have to be declined according to gender, case and number of the modified noun. So ‘mein Hund ist groß’ (no ending, predicative position), but ‘mein großer Hund frisst’ (-er ending for nominative masculine singular). Furthermore the adjectives have two different declension systems: a “strong” inflexion and a “weak” one.

The strong inflexion is used in the absence of der-words (which include the definite article der, die, das and some other words declined similarly, like aller, dieser, jeder and more) and with ein-words (which include the indefinite article ein, eine, ein, the negative form kein, keine, kein and all the possessive adjectives, like mein, dein, sein) in the cases where they have no ending (so nominative masculine neuter and accusative neuter).

The weak inflexion is used following der-words and following ein-words when they do have an ending (so in all cases not cited above).

The strong endings are as follows (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative):

masculine: -er, -en, -em, -en
feminine: -e, -er, -er, -e
neuter: -es, -en, -em, -es
plural: -e, -er, -en, -e

The weak endings are (again: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative):

masculine: -e, -en, -en, -en
feminine: -e, -en, -en, -e
neuter: -e, -en, -en, -e
plural: -en, -en, -en, -en

For completeness' sake, here is the so-called “mixed” inflexion, that is what happens when an adjective follows an ein-word, that is: strong inflexion in nominative masculine neuter and accusative neuter, and weak in all other cases:

masculine: -er, -en, -en, -en
feminine: -e, -en, -en, -e
neuter: -es, -en, -en, -es
plural: -en, -en, -en, -en


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joe685106

Why großen and not groß?


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

Adjectives before a noun need to have an ending.

The ending depends on the gender, number, and case of the noun as well as on what comes before the adjective.

Here, you have einen before the adjective so you need mixed inflection, Bruder is masculine singular and - in this sentence - in the accusative case. So you need an ending of -en.

Schwester is also after the indefinite article and is also singular and accusative, but feminine, so it takes the ending -e.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joe685106

Thanks mizinamo for the explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sid3306

Why is it wrong? Can somebody please correct it. Thanks


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

Why is what wrong? You're not replying to anybody's comment.

What did you type? Did you get an error message? If so, what exactly did it say? What do you think it should say?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Owais7180

Is this sentence Accusative or Dative?


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

Neither.

Sentences don't have cases.

Parts of sentences have cases -- to show their role in the sentence (e.g. as subject or object of the main verb in a clause, or depending on a preposition if they are in a prepositional phrase).

In this sentence, ich is in the nominative case, einen großen Bruder is in the accusative case and eine kleine Schwester is also in the accusative case.


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

I put in a "wee" sister and it was not accepted. Same thing as "little" and "baby" in Scottish common usage.


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

why is this not in the nominative case?


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

Becacuse you "haben" goes with accusative, it's just the way it is.


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

ich is in the nominative case because it's the subject of the verb haben.

einen großen Bruder and eine kleine Schwester are in the accusative case because together they are the direct object of the verb haben.


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

I am a little confused with einen großen Bruder. Why is it einen and not ein like in the masculine form? Is it in another case or is it just changed for the adjective?


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

einen is the masculine accusative form — another case.

Only masculine words have a special form in the accusative case; for feminine, neuter, or plural words, the accusative form looks exactly like the nominative or base form.


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

The correct translation is 'Elder brother' not big brother.


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

‘Big brother’ is a very common and accepted phrase to refer to elder brothers in many parts of the English speaking world; in fact both the OED (see sense 1.3) and the Merriam-Webster recognise this meaning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashlyn.Edwards1

I wrote "I have an older brother and a younger sister" and it was marked wrong. Is this in fact wrong?


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

"I have an older brother and a younger sister" is one of the accepted translations.

Did you have a listening exercise, perhaps, instead of a translation exercise?

Do you have a screenshot showing the question, your answer, and the error message?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashlyn.Edwards1

I didn’t screen shot it, but it was just a normal translation exercise, not a listening exercise. Sometimes it lets me use “older” or “younger” and sometimes it only allows “bigger and smaller” as answers, so I’m not really sure how to go about it!

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