"Es sind Ferien!!"

Translation:It is vacation time!!

June 23, 2013



Es sind?? it are??? is it right?

July 4, 2013


It's perfectly fine.

"When it is used as a predicative, es can refer to singular and plural nouns of all three genders and to adjectives. The verb agrees with the subject, not with es"


The same rule applies to "das" and "dies".

July 5, 2013


It's times like this when I get a bit sick and tired of the run-around German gives me. :( Just when I think I'm doing really well, ... I come across something like this, that totally throws me off.

March 26, 2014


I can't read this, crossmyt.com is one of those awful sites that will redirect you to their home page - and I never do what these sites intend me to do. Mark Twain's text can also be found here:



December 30, 2015


I guess Twain never tried Chinese or Japanese. Coming from there German is much easier :'D

June 23, 2018


Laughed so hard at Mark Twain's words

July 4, 2017



November 18, 2018


whenever a person says sie to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.

December 1, 2014


aguspranandhita, he's quoting Mark Twain.

However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound, sie, means you, and it means she, and it means her, and it means it, and it means they, and it means them. Think of the ragged poverty of a language which has to make one word do the work of six -- and a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly, think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says sie to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.

March 18, 2017


Twain is one to talk, seeing that you may mean du and dich and dir and ihr and euch and Sie and... well, Sie.

...And Ihnen.

May 30, 2017


To add to Kapos's comment, here's a few sentences to consider in this: I have set the dining set, and have it securely set upon the production set, in hopes that will set things to rest and surely settle the matter. It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that has led me to this conclusion and wholesale abandonment of this argument I had no intention of doing so with, though at long last I hope this action will set things to rest.

Set has 80 definitions last I checked. To quote Twain, it is "[...] a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that."

September 2, 2017



January 2, 2016


this inspired me to learn German and you know what later I found "Mark Twain and the German Language"

October 4, 2014


The idiomatic phrase is "Life is too short to learn German", isn't it?

June 16, 2015


"Mark Twain and the German Language" made me put off trying to learn German for five years. He made it sound so awful

May 3, 2016


Have a Lingot and thanks so much for that link. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard!

October 28, 2014

November 16, 2014


Brilliant, truly brilliant. If Mark Twain suffered and overcame then so can I lol

March 18, 2015


Pati (below), I don't normally follow links like this, but I'm almost wetting myself laughing at your youtube link. Thankyou for sharing it.

May 31, 2016


why do germans all the words have so long!? i saw the yb link hahhah rhabarbaraa how can she even say it :)

June 27, 2016


Clickbait? Really?

July 10, 2017


Thanks for the interesting reference. What a hilarious writing. It is soothing to know that I am not alone struggling to learn Deutsch.

Mark Twain, 1880. He had given 9 suggestions to make the language easy to foreigners. Only after 130 years, Deitschland replaced ß by ss. But even that has not been adapted by Duolingo!

Are we learning the classical Deutsch that does not exist even in Germany?

After spending 200 hours and passing through half of the lessons, I am still in present tense only.

I am a ardent supporter of German for developing good device numbering system for plants. The are very good in developing standards through DIN and VDE. Even better, enforcing them nationwide.

I therefore do not understand why they do not reform their language.

Atleast, I tried to understand by comparing it with Hindi and Tamil that have similar complexities. To English it must be a nightmare.

To conclude, I think Deutsch may be better learnt only living with that community.

January 31, 2015


Duolingo teaches modern German which still uses the 'ß'.

January 31, 2015


Why should they reform thei language? Just so that foreigners who are frustrated and are used to speaking English, which is an easy language to learn, can have a better time learning it? Come on! A language is a country's treasure...nowadays every country in the world is being culturally colonized by an american mentality. Enough of that! German is a beautiful and rich language and it should be kept exactly as it is!

April 30, 2016


You're talking about Rechtschreibreform, the German spelling reform movement, which about a decade ago changed the rules of when to use 'ß' and when to use 'ss' but did not remove the 'ß' entirely. Note however that in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the 'ß' character has been entirely replaced by 'SS' and the like.

May 14, 2015


To conclude, I think Deutsch may be better learnt only living with that community.

i also think that the basics you can learn in school or course but for much more we should be livin in german speaking places.

June 27, 2016


As a foreigner, I find the "ß-feature" very cool. A trademark of sorts. Too bad some half-assed reformers always try to dumb things down. Whenever writing in German, I use ß on purpose in all exercises whenever possible.

May 7, 2019


It took you longer than 200 hours to get to the past and future tense skills?

June 8, 2016


It's no good moaning about peculiar things in German or any other language. That is the way it is. 'Es sind' got me puzzled too. But you have to accept it and move on.

December 26, 2016


But isn't "Ferien" singular? Why is the verb plural?

September 21, 2014


"Ferien" is plural. There is no singular.

September 21, 2014


Ferien has no singular form at all. You may find following link useful: https://www.korrekturen.de/flexion/deklination/Ferien/

November 23, 2017


Thanks for the clarification.

May 9, 2014


I was about to ask the same question. Danke! ☺

February 23, 2015


so... what happend to using es ist?

February 25, 2015


i write "it is vacation" and it is accepted. so do you mean that "it are vacation" is also right translation?

June 10, 2014


i don't think you can apply german grammar to english and use it and are together ;)

February 23, 2015


It is not. It are vacation, turned out to be wrong

October 21, 2014


can you also say "ferien sind es"?

July 8, 2016


No. (I can't explain why, I'm a native speaker, not a teacher) You could say it like that only if there's something more to come, like

"Ferien sind es, die die Schule erträglich machen"

July 19, 2016


danke :)

July 19, 2016



March 25, 2015


What do you mean by "used as a predicative"?

September 3, 2017


christian, I realize this is a set expression in German.

However, you say: The verb agrees with the subject, not with "es".

But strictly grammatically, isn't "es" the subject? Why would one ever think that a 3-word sentence Pronoun - Verb - Noun is anything other than Subject - Verb - Object or Predicative?

February 27, 2018


Es is indeed the subject. If you follow Christian's link, you'll see it should be

The verb agrees with the predicative, not with es

July 5, 2018


What is a predicative?

April 19, 2018


Sorry, i couldn't understand. Vacation time is not plural. So, even the verb agrees with the subject it must be "ist" again. Am i understranding it totally wrong?

"Es sind viele Blumen im Garten."

I can understand this, for example.

September 12, 2018


english please.. why doesnt it use "ist" since when was "sind" is?

February 25, 2015


I think, simply put, that this sentence is like "Holidays are it," but with a different word order.

February 25, 2015


are you sure about this?

February 25, 2015


Not as sure as an expert or native, but based on my research that's what I'm going with.

February 25, 2015


Two years later, but I'd like to contribute my two cents. In Spanish, we say "son vacaciones!!", which is the plural of "es vacación!!". The singular is "vacación" ("vacation" in English), and the plural is "vacaciones" ("vacations"). So, "Es sind Ferien" = "Son vacaciones" = "These are vacations", and I don't think I've ever heard that last one, but I think it's grammatically correct.

April 3, 2016


Even in English we say "It is the holidays" but we say "Holidays are the best". No language in the world accept Esperanto which is an artificial language made by linguists which is completely predictable and regular. Living languages change and evolve over time. That is what makes mastering them all the more interesting, challenging and fun. Come on people! Embrace the beauty.

September 4, 2016


Ferien sind es. It doesn't matter how the noun goes, just like English. Here to my understanding, sind is to describe Ferien, a plural.

May 30, 2016


It really seems wrong to say 'it are vacations'.

October 24, 2017


why two exclamation points?

November 15, 2013


Why not??

January 3, 2014


In English, it would seem informal.

April 9, 2014


It's just the same in German. I'd avoid them.

August 9, 2014


I'd say this is supposed to be informal. Suppose your boss ask you back to work... It happens frequently in China.

September 17, 2016


I think they are trying to be funny.

July 16, 2017


In English I almost never see two exclamation points, even in extremely informal communication. It's usually three.

October 16, 2017


Duolingo is just that crazy

May 19, 2014


It is a show of extra excitement. It is informal and would be only be appropriate on social media if then.

August 21, 2014


On social media I would say it certainly is appropriate. Also, my favorite book makes use of such little stylistic flourishes sometimes and I think it works quite well in there. It is true, however, that in formal contexts this would definitely be something to avoid.

July 18, 2016


Extra emphasis?

February 17, 2014


Or maybe someone had a finger spasm, and didn't catch the error.

October 20, 2016


good point

October 8, 2014


Ferien == faire rien?

February 7, 2014


Nope. It's derived from the Latin "feriae".


February 7, 2014



February 7, 2014


In french "vacation" is called "vacance" and this includes long vacation. But if it's a matter of just ONE day vacation we'd rather say: "Une journée fériée". Ex: On a calendar, you will read on the May 1st the mention: "FERIÉ" Since I'm french native speaker, the german word "Ferien" is too easy to remember. On genaral german is easier for those who speak already English & French ;)

May 26, 2014


For what it's worth (nothing), I like your explanation better.

April 14, 2014


Nice try, anyway :D

January 10, 2016

  • 1984

Why is "These are holidays!" not correct?

March 4, 2014


I would like to know as well

March 12, 2016

  • 1984

Still not accepted? Holy cow. :-(

I hope you reported it. Have an ingot. ;-)

March 12, 2016


It's really frustrating when the first time you are presented with a word is in a "Listen and Type" exercise. I can often sound it out, but sometimes I just have no idea. Is there a way to make it introduce new words only via text?

September 27, 2013


If you are asking is there an option you can activate, there is no such thing. I can only suggest creating a discussion about this in general Duolingo section or in German section http://www.duolingo.com/topic/67 because your question is better suited to be there than here in a discussion of a specific sentence.

September 29, 2013


I believe idiomatic expressions should be introduced in writing first, since they otherwise make no sense to non German speakers.

June 22, 2014


Duo, you should avoid double exclamation marks. That's slang ;)

December 21, 2014


My question is regarding the translation. Does it mean it is the holidays, and does that mean the Christmas season, or does it just mean it is vacation time?

November 29, 2013


Vacation time in general

August 2, 2014


In this case, Es is used as impersonal subject, hence the verb agrees with the noun Es refers to.

April 17, 2014


I used "holiday" instead of "vacation", which is correct in England. "Vacation" is very much more of an American expression.

March 4, 2016


Shouldn't this be "Sie sind Ferien!!" Isn't "es" singular?

June 23, 2013


It is a special case that one simply has to remember. The same can be found in english: "It's the summer holidays". Here "holidays" is also plural but still there is a "it's" at the beginning of the sentence.

June 23, 2013


But in the example I see "It are"!!!!

July 2, 2013


Arkadasnv: I believe Angelika3640 provided a great example.

These are special phrases in German, gotta remember them and that's all. :)

August 29, 2013


Actually, I don't think this is the case. There is a rule here. http://goo.gl/dX3vp

November 29, 2013


But "it's" is a singular verb -- "it is" -- and "sind" is not. That's why it's baffling.

February 25, 2014


"It is the summer holidays." is incorrect. It would be: "They are the summer holy days." or "It is the summer holy day."

The copula, and both joined items, must all match in number.

April 9, 2014


Is that British English? or should I understand English is your second language because you don't capitalize the word English?

November 29, 2013

[deactivated user]

    Not everyone uses perfekt Grammatik on the internet.

    July 27, 2015


    That would be "They are vacation time!!" which wouldn't make much sense in German, either.

    June 16, 2014


    only plural "holidays" accepted? that's an Americanism, in the uk we always say holiday singular and it means the same

    August 22, 2016


    It's not an Americanism. It's probably a result of the German term "Ferien" being plural. A literal translation would give you the plural word "Holidays"

    August 26, 2016


    I'm not so sure I agree with that one. If I were to translate into Dutch, for example, there wouldn't be a good way to translate it using a plural to begin with, and from Simon924148's comment, the same seems to be true for UK English. To an extent, it's good to translate literally where possible, but equally, to an extent it should be allowed to translate such that it works properly in the language you translate into.

    August 26, 2016


    es = formal subject with sein sein

    When it is used as an impersonal subject (or predicative) with sein, the pronoun es can refer to singular and plural nouns of all three genders:

    Jemand kam hinein. Es war mein Vater. Meine Mutter war es, die hereinkam. Ich holte die Gegenstände aus der Schachtel. Es waren zwei Bälle. Zwei Personen saßen am Tisch. Es schienen Gendarmen zu sein.

    The verb does not agree with es, but with the noun es refers to:

    Es war meine Mutter. Es waren meine Eltern.

    This es cannot be omitted. It is often possible to replace it with the stronger demonstrative pronoun das which is used in a similar manner. Source: http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/InflectionRules/FRegeln-P/Pron-es.html?lang=en#Anchor-es-sein

    November 21, 2016


    "It is holiday time" was marked wrong! Why?

    June 19, 2014


    I said the same. I do not understand why that should be wrong..

    June 28, 2014


    Es ist Ferien. Is it wrong for "It is vacation"?

    August 6, 2014


    i think vacations is a plural word you can say "vacation time" so the time is singular

    August 7, 2014


    I put "It is a vacation" and was marked correct. Warum? Ich weiß nicht.

    September 9, 2014


    Why is it wrong to say "There are vacations"?

    November 17, 2014


    Oh the "Rhabarbarar" etc video was hillarious! Love it!

    January 29, 2016


    You know, doesn't it seem like a nightmare Monopoly game, where they make up the rules as they go along? :P

    March 15, 2016


    "Ferien" vs "Urlaub" ??

    April 14, 2017


    Ferien vs Urlaub?

    November 22, 2017


    Why do you use the plural? Thanks.

    June 24, 2014


    Ferien is a plural word. There is no singular form. Literally it means "vacation days are it" though there is still the question of agreement since the verb sein or "to be" takes the nominative case and the antecedent must agree in number. Only in the this case, it does not. Why? Duo doesn't or won't explain it and I won't know until this coming semester.

    August 9, 2014


    Or read the second comment in this thread.

    August 9, 2014


    Thanks, Christian. I didn't know that.

    August 9, 2014


    I like that there's no less than two exclamationmarks.. : p

    July 14, 2014


    Is the pronunciation on this correct? It wounded like f-ee-r--ee-en. I thought it should be f-eh-r-een.

    November 17, 2014


    Duolingo's pronunciation is correct. It's pronounced [ˈfe:ri̯ən].

    November 17, 2014


    This concept of 'es' being used as a predicative to complement a verb in a plural conjugation/inflection is very confusing to me.

    August 30, 2015


    Is it incorrect to say "Sie sind Ferien" or "Es ist Ferien" ?

    August 30, 2015


    Yes, it is incorrect. You must translate the English sentence at the top with "Es sind Ferien." or "Es ist Ferienzeit." or "Es ist Urlaubszeit." (My first language is German)

    January 15, 2016


    Ironic for a Slavic man to say how difficult German is :c

    September 26, 2015


    Is this a special case just for "vacation" or is there a rule for "Es sind [plural]"? For either case I know I still have to remember this sentence. (My country language has no singular/plural, tense or re-ordering rule. So learning English is so hard for me. And now German even has gender, dative/acc., Es sind rules. )

    August 2, 2016


    For a more technical explanation, check out the comment by christian at the top.

    My interpretation of that (which could be mistaken) is like, "Holidays are what [time] it is", which you can then rearrange to "What [time] it is, are holidays" and then you can shorten it to "it, are holidays". I'm not sure that's exactly the meaning in German, but the idea being that I think you can replace a general idea for anything with "es", using it like a placeholder for whatever that anything might be.

    August 13, 2016


    Couldn't it also be "they are vacationing" since "they are" is included in the drop down?

    October 20, 2016


    How would one say these are holidays?

    October 31, 2016


    Again, if Ferien is always plural "sind Ferien", and "they" is listed in the drop down for Es, it looks like "They are vacations" would be acceptable for a question such as "What are they?"

    November 4, 2016


    I wrote "These are holidays" and was marked wrong. Given that all the translations are to the sense of the occasion rather than literal, is there really anything wrong with this?

    December 22, 2016


    Duo is so excited, it needed TWO exclamation marks.

    January 29, 2017


    Perhaps "These are holidays" would be a better translation.

    February 3, 2017


    Is there a way to contract 'es' and 'ist' to make 'it's' it German?

    April 25, 2017


    WE ARE ON HOLIDAYS is incorrect. The correct sentence is WE ARE ON HOLIDAY.

    December 1, 2017


    'We're on holiday!' is a perfectly English expression. 'How were your holidays?', naturally uses the plural form of 'holiday'. 'We're on holidays!' is NOT correct. Someone back me up on this. 'When is you holiday?' acceptable, 'When are your holidays?' correct, but not 'We're on holidays!'

    February 10, 2018


    How about "It's the holidays"?

    August 23, 2018


    "These are holidays" was marked wrong...why is the translation of Ferien as "holidays" incorrect?

    November 4, 2018


    In England we would not say Vacation, this is American English. Can we please, on our site, have British English.

    March 12, 2019


    Why isn't holiday accepted? As a Brit, I don't have vacations, I have holidays!

    April 30, 2019


    Vacation Time! Woohoo!!!! :-)

    June 21, 2019


    I wish they marked idioms with something... so frustrating!

    July 15, 2019


    Ironically, this was the last question before I finished the skill : S

    June 30, 2015


    today was the last day of school 23rd June

    June 23, 2016


    why is thare two exclamation marks!

    November 21, 2016


    Ja! Ich liebe Ferien!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 18, 2016


    "It is vacation" isn't natural in English

    May 7, 2017


    why cant it be 'Es _ist_Ferien'?

    November 20, 2017


    Why the translation is " We are on the vacation"? why " Es sind" not "Es ist"?

    January 10, 2018


    I think anything you say is right in german

    March 28, 2018


    The best we can do is to change English's rules we may say it are vacationtimë

    September 6, 2015


    German's getting all weird again

    January 23, 2017


    Am I the only one who noticed two exclamation points in the sentence? :/

    April 15, 2017


    Es = it not we

    December 25, 2014


    We have holiday! does not sound correct to me. We are holidaying! would be more the way it would be said in english

    January 25, 2015


    Es is they are

    December 26, 2015


    "es" literally means "it". The hint says "they are" because it appears in the phrase "es sind".

    December 26, 2015


    Ferien seems to be a very strange and weird word which defies all common sense and logic. Why even teach it? Why not use other words or phrases which make more sense, which can be exchanged more precisely with English? Such as: Urlaub == leave, vacation heiliger Tag == holy day

    April 9, 2014


    Why teach it? Because you need to know this word. It is a very common word in Germany. For instance, if you travel here, you will see signs in villages for Ferienwohnung and Ferienzimmer. Right now in Bayern, we are in Ferienzeit.

    August 29, 2014


    Why teach it? Because it's commonly used.

    It might seem weird to us English speakers, but that's no reason to avoid teaching it to us.

    July 2, 2014
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