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  5. "Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser."

"Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser."

Translation:The dog drinks its water.

June 24, 2013



The translation for 'sein' on the mouse-over says 'its'. I thought sein was 'his', or is it both?


mysteriosum: see my thread above. "sein" is due to Hund being a masculine noun, not because the dog is a male. In English, animals are usually referred as "it", whatever their actual gender is, so "sein" got translated as "it".


Sein is due to the gender of Water which is neutral. Had it been due to the gender of the dog then it would have been seinen. M:seinen N:sein F:seine P:seine And sein stands for both his & its.


thank you. I was wondering why it was sein not seinen


Water is neutral in German, so wouldn't it still be sein? If it were a male noun, then yes, it would be seinen, right?


Yes, correct.

sein Hund (masculine)

seine Frau (feminine)

sein Schwein (neuter)


I heard dein, not sein!




But maybe the dog drinks its owner's water / The dog drinks his water (the pet reached somehow his owner's glass of water and started drinking from it) How do you differentiate the meanings?


That is a possibility. You can't differentiate, unless there was some context

See my post below with the sample sentence containing the word Karl.


Duolingo probably shouldn't accept "his" then. I learned this rule incorrectly because of this.


    See the other comments. The dog could be drinking the water that belongs to another male person. Kind of like the other Duo sentence Der Bär trägt ihre Kleidung. So, "his" is perfectly acceptable here.

    Consider that in English you can say "The dog is drinking his water" or "The dog is drinking her water" regardless of the gender of the dog, but depending on the gender of the person whose water it is drinking.


    its both but is used as different things at different times


    It is for both. See the table for posessive pronouns in the accusative case. Er/Es neuter accusative is sein. Er and Es share the same words for possessive pronouns in the accusative case.


    Does "sein" here refers to the real gender or grammatical gender of the dog?


    Is there any way to denote what the biological sex of the dog is like in English?


    If you want to specify it is a female dog, you should say Hündin.


    depends, cause that also means "❤❤❤❤❤"


    Only in English does it have another meaning though when used on a human. In German "Hündin" is a perfectly unbiased word, i.e. it can't be used on a human.


    karla033: Good sense of Humor on a serious question :D


    I think grammatical gender is preferred.


    So we refer to an animal as his or her [noun] depending on the gender of the noun? So when referring to a dog it's always "his" [noun], and when referring to a cat it's always "her" [noun]?


    Yes, in German there is no such thing as an implied gender that you can't tell from the noun itself.

    So, although you could say in English both "The dog drinks her water" as well as "The dog drinks his water," this won't work in German.

    There, the gender strictly depends on the noun used.

    So, since "Hund" is masculine, it has got to be "sein."

    However, a female version of "Hund" is available in German: "Hündin".

    So, the above sentence would read:

    "Die Hündin trinkt ihr Wasser."


    It could still be "Die Hündin trinkt sein Wasser". We have no context so we can't say if it's its water or someone else's water.


    Great answer, thanks.


    I think, And please correct me if i am wrong! It instead of Wasser which is neutral it would have been Apfel (Masc) then "seinen" would have been used! right? Also, If here I replace Wasser with Tee, would it change to "seine".


    "Seinen“ for Apfel is correct. However, it's the same for “Tee“, as well. “Tee“ is masculine.


    Can someone please explain when to use sein or mein, or meine and stuff like that?


    The personal pronouns indicating ownership are as follows:

    Mein - my

    Dein - your

    Sein/Ihr/Sein - his/her/its

    Unser - our

    Euer - your (plural)

    Ihr - their

    Depending on which case (and which gender) each of these is used with, the word ending changes.

    In the sample sentence "Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser" the object of the sentence is "sein Wasser" and it is in accusative. The personal pronoun "sein" is linked to the noun it appears with and set in the same case as the noun. So, both "sein" and "Wasser" are in accusative in this particular sentence, and because "Wasser" is neuter, "sein" has to be too.

    If we change the gender of the object to a feminine noun, e.g. Milch, "sein" has to be adjusted in order to match the gender, so it becomes "seine": "Der Hund trinkt seine Milch." "Seine Milch" is still in accusative, so that hasn't changed.

    Using a masculine object and changing the predicate slightly to form a meaningful sentence, we get "Der Hund isst seinen Knochen." - "The dog eats his bone."

    So, you see, how "sein" took on three different forms: "sein" (neut.), "seine" (fem.), "seinen" (masc.), solely determined by the gender of the corresponding noun and the case it appears in, accusative.

    Now watch how "sein" changes when used in nominative case with the different genders. The subject of a sentence (here: Der Hund) is always in nominative.

    "Sein Hund trinkt sein Wasser." - "His dog drinks his water."

    "Seine Katze trinkt ihr Wasser." - "His cat drinks her water."

    "Sein Schwein isst sein Futter." - "His pig eats its feed."

    A couple of different things are happening here:

    1. In nominative case the three forms of "sein" are "sein" (masc.), "seine" (fem.) and "sein" (neut.), which is slightly different from before, where we were looking at "sein" in accusative.

    2. The personal pronoun with the object adjusts to match the gender of the subject:

    "Sein Wasser" - "His water (the dog's)."

    "Ihr Wasser" - "Her water (the cat's)."

    "Sein Futter" - "Its feed (the pig's)."

    If this isn't difficult enough, there are two more cases in German: genitive and dative, each with their own different word endings.

    Be glad that you're not learning Latin, there are three more cases in that language: vocative ablative, and locative.

    I hope that cleared up a few things.


    English seems so easy now! So So Easy!!


    I have a question: can the gender of a noun be determined by the 'the' it goes with (der/den= masculine, die=feminine, and das= neuter)?


    The short answer is: sometimes.

    The declination of an article can help in determining the gender of a noun, if you're unsure about it, but if you are also unsure about the case/declination a noun with an article appears in, it may not help you at all.

    To illustrate, let's look at all declinations of the definite article in all genders in singular:

    • Der Mann (nominative)
    • Des Mannes (genitive)
    • Dem Mann (dative)
    • Den Mann (accusative)
    • Die Frau (nom.)
    • Der Frau (gen.)
    • Der Frau (dat.)
    • Die Frau (acc.)
    • Das Auto (nom.)
    • Des Autos (gen.)
    • Dem Auto (dat.)
    • Das Auto (acc.)

    Let's take the sentence: "Das Auto gehört der Bank." - "The car belongs to the bank."

    If you were unsure about the gender of "Bank" and didn't know that "gehören" is always used with the dative case, you could be wrongly assuming that "Bank" might be masculine, simply because of the article "der" it appears with in the above sentence.

    However, seeing the sentence structure, you would probably correctly deduct that "der Bank" is most likely not the subject of the sentence, so if not the subject, "der Bank" must be an object. Since an object can never be in nominative, it would have to be in either genitive, dative or accusative.

    So, with the single piece of information alone that "der Bank" cannot be nominative, and if you knew the above table of declinations of the definite article, you could - by process of elimination - deduct that "Bank" must be feminine. (According to the table, namely, "der" only appears with masculine nominative, feminine genitive and feminine dative nouns). You could, however, not determine by the declination of the article alone, if "der Bank" was in genitive or dative case.

    So, in a way, it's like a puzzle. If you know one or two properties about an article, you can in many cases deduct a second and third property and hence solve the puzzle.

    In and by itself, however, the declination of an article alone does not always tell you exactly the gender of a noun.

    Another example:

    "Die Stühle passen zu dem Tisch." - "The chairs go with/match the table."

    "Die Sitze passen zu dem Auto." - "The (car) seats go with/match the car."

    Here you have two nouns, "Tisch" and "Auto", that both appear with "dem". If you did not know the gender of either of the nouns by themselves, the definite article "dem" does not help you much further, even if you know the above table of declinations. From the table you can see that "dem" can appear only in dative, however, with either masculine or neuter nouns.

    So, you cannot tell with the article "dem" whether "Tisch" or "Auto" are masculine or neuter.

    By the way, "Tisch" is masculine. "Auto" is neuter.


    Very useful info,you deserve more lingots!!!


    You sure can . Happy learning


    I gave the answer as "The dog drinks his water". It was accepted as correct and "its water" shown as another correct solution. Does this make sense? Is "his" correct? Ah, I actually meant 'someone's'. Like for eg, The dog drinks Paul's water, when he spilled it or something. Can someone please tell me how I would say that? "The dog drinks his (a person's spilled ;) ) water." Thanks!


    I have the same question, how do we distinguish between the dog drinking it's water, and the dog drinking someone elses water?


    You can't. The dog could very well be drinking someone else's water. But only someone of the same or a "confusable" gender. So, you'd only be able to tell from context or the author probably wouldn't use personal pronouns to avoid confusion.

    For instance, if there were a cat and a dog and the dog drank from the cat's bowl, you'd say: "Der Hund trinkt ihr Wasser." In this case you could distinguish whose water the dog was drinking because dog and cat have different personal pronouns.

    Let's say in the next example you have a pig and a dog. Although "pig" is neuter (das Schwein) and "dog" masculine (der Hund), they both have the same possessive pronoun "sein" (meaning "his" for the dog and "its" for the pig). So, saying "Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser" to express that the dog was drinking from the pig's bowl wouldn't work, because it could also mean that the dog was drinking from his own bowl. So, to be unambiguous, you'd say something like "Der Hund trinkt das Wasser des Schweins" - "The dog drinks the pig's water".


    i think the best way to learn germany just to practice it, the more you practice the more you can get remember. you dont want to remember every single form, i prefer to feel it like a song. 'er' will familiar to 'ist', and 't' ended. everything 'plural' with 'sind' und 'en' ended, like haben, zeitungen. die erste, they understand what you wanna say, then after practice make you even better :))


    By using the simple present ("The dog drinks the water") to describe an active situation, rather than the present participle ("The dog is drinking the water"), Duo's translations into English sound very stilted, more like stage directions in a script. Most English speakers use the the present participle or continuous present in speech and frequently in writing. Not doing so is often a tip-off that English is not the speaker's primary language.


    I agree. I answered "The dog's drinking its water", and it was marked as incorrect!


    It's maybe a bit of a random question here, but how does one pronounce the German 'r' in the mouth, compared to the English or French way, for example?


    In Standard German, it is pronounced as either the French "R" or a Uvular trill (rolled in the back of your throat). In many dialects however (as well as Swiss German), it is pronounced as an Alveolar trill (rolled in the front of your mouth). Outside of those dialects though, it is generally most accepted a the French "R"


    I took German at my old school. You sort of growl it in the back of your throat.


    Why is it "sein Wasser"? should not it be "seinen Wasser"? like "seinen Apfel"


    Wasser and Apfel are different genders. Das Wasser. Der Apfel. Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser. Der Hund isst seinen Apfel.


    and what if it is die?


    Der Hund trinkt seine Milch. Die Milch (feminine).


    Oh I get it now! thanks!


    das Wasser = sein Wasser in Accusative der Apfel = seinen Apfel in Accusative


    Wouldn't it be ,,saufen" rather than ,,trinken"?


    Yes and no.

    Yes because "saufen" can be used with animals as opposed to humans, where it has a derogatory meaning. A "Säufer" (a noun), for instance, is an alcoholic.

    However, "saufen" typically means drinking in large quantities.

    You would not associate a normal sized dog with drinking large quantities, so "saufen" would not really be appropriate.

    "Saufen", if used for animals, is therefore more often used with large ones, like horses or cows.

    Of course, one could think of exceptions. If you are talking about a very big dog, and say, it's a hot day and the dog drank a lot, you could perfectly well use "saufen".

    "Der Hund säuft heute viel Wasser." - "The dog drinks a lot of water today."

    You would not use "saufen" for a little lap dog, though.

    So, "trinken" is perfectly fine to use for animals.


    Danke für die Hilfe!


    I was wondering what is the difference between ihre (his/her) and sein? Is there a case where you would one over the other? I seemed to have been fine saying sein all the time, but maybe most Germans were too polite to correct me.


    Sein/seine = his ihr/Ihre = her or their


    The translation it had is "The dog drinks its water" but the dog possesses the water so it should be "The dog drinks it's water." I know this is supposed to learn German and not English grammar, but it is bothering me.


    You are wrong. its when used as a possessive pronoun is never spelled with an apostrophe.

    A simple rule to help you remember it, is, you can only write "it's" if you can replace it with "it is" and the sentence still has the same meaning (and makes sense). If you can't do the replacement, you have to use "its".

    So, in this case, you can't say "The dog drinks it is water" (i.e. you cannot make the replacement without changing the sentence's meaning; in fact, the sentence makes no sense now and is grammatically incorrect). Ergo: you have to write "its", i.e. use no apostrophe:

    The dog drinks its water.


    Actually in English 'its' is perfect as a possessive pronoun the same way we would say his and hers rather than hi's and her's.


    Why isn't it "Der Hund trinkt seinen Wasser?" Isn't water a direct object?


    Wasser is the direct object in accusative alright, but its gender is neuter. seinen, however, is only used with accusative nouns that are masculine.

    So, you would use seinen as follows:

    Der Hund trinkt seinen Tee. (der Tee, masculine)

    For completeness, here is the variant with a feminine noun:

    Der Hund trinkt seine Milch. (die Milch, feminine)


    Is this one of those sentences where you can switch the Subject and the Object and still make sense? Like, Sein Wasser trinkt den Hund. Or am I completely butchering the language?


    Subject and object don't get switched. It's just the word order gets rearranged. As a result, all declinations stay the same. So, correctly the sentence would read:

    Sein Wasser trinkt der Hund.

    Der Hund is still the subject. Wasser is still the object.

    But that's mostly a logistical exercise. Noone says that in this reverse word order.

    And besides, you can do that with any sentence. So, it's not a special sentence that qualifies for this.


    I got it wrong and it said the correct answer is 'the dog is drinking null water' Why is this?


    On my sentence, it said it was WaBer, and not Wasser, while the discussion said it is Wasser. Very confusing.


    Why isnt "The hound is drinking its water" exeptable?


    Why not "the hound" instead of "the dog"?


    "Hound" has a very specific connotation of being a "hunting dog"

    In German, this is called a "Jagdhund"


    I was really hoping this worked just like "sin" in Swedish... alas.


    Schorschi, that was so helpful. I understand now. Thanks.


    Why duolingo don't just only write: The dog drinks its water or The dog drinks his water = depend of the context


    Pronouns or possessive adjectives ALWAYS follow the grammatical gender, not the real gender. So dog (Hund) is masculine, girl (Mädchen) is neuter, and Spring (Frühling) is feminine. I don't know why they follow this rule but it just is.


    Frühling is not feminine. It is masculine. Der Frühling. In fact, all seasons are masculine.

    Der Frühling.

    Der Sommer.

    Der Herbst.

    Der Winter.

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