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

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

June 4, 2013



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?

October 15, 2013


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

January 23, 2014


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

May 10, 2016


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

May 23, 2016


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

May 23, 2016


Yeah, german and spanish are my main ones to learn

May 24, 2016


me too comrade :D

November 22, 2018


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.

November 29, 2016


That's true, actually.

December 1, 2016


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

July 7, 2017


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".

September 24, 2017


Yes, that is correct.

April 15, 2017


Un hermano mayor y una hermana menor

November 21, 2017


'Hermano mayor' and 'Hermana menor'

February 22, 2018


'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.

October 5, 2018


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

June 4, 2013


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

June 14, 2013


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.

November 8, 2014


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

October 3, 2013


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

January 15, 2016


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.)

February 12, 2017


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.

February 12, 2017


the best answer. much appreciation!

November 22, 2018


Is this talking about age, size, or either?

December 24, 2013



February 11, 2014



November 8, 2014


Most likely age. But could theoretically be size.

January 15, 2016


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

January 23, 2014


Why 'einen'?

February 13, 2014


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.

February 13, 2014


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

February 24, 2016


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.

February 24, 2016


You are amazing!

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

November 10, 2017


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

March 24, 2014


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.

April 29, 2017


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.

June 12, 2017


yay! Big Brother!

October 13, 2014


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

July 22, 2016


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.

July 23, 2016


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

February 1, 2017


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

February 2, 2017


Meine große Schwester ist größer als mein großer Freind

November 22, 2018


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

February 16, 2014


report it

November 5, 2014


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

April 20, 2015


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?

March 22, 2014


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

August 28, 2014


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

March 17, 2015


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

April 4, 2015


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

July 10, 2015


Why is a older brother wrong?

August 30, 2015


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

August 30, 2015


Why einen not ein only?

February 24, 2016


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

July 5, 2016



July 6, 2016


then what is the word for "bigger" ?

July 15, 2016



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".

July 15, 2016


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?

March 8, 2017


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.

June 12, 2017


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?

March 12, 2017


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

June 12, 2017


Why großen and not groß?

August 19, 2017


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.

August 19, 2017


Thanks mizinamo for the explanation.

August 20, 2017


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

August 26, 2017


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?

August 26, 2017


Is this sentence Accusative or Dative?

November 5, 2017



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.

November 5, 2017


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

December 13, 2017


why is this not in the nominative case?

July 5, 2018


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

July 5, 2018


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.

July 5, 2018


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?

October 24, 2018


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.

October 25, 2018


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

December 15, 2018


‘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.

December 20, 2018


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

July 23, 2019


"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?

July 23, 2019


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!

July 23, 2019
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