"Det är dess böcker."

Translation:They are its books.

November 25, 2014

108 Comments


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

What kind of a sentence is this? Please replace the pronoun "its" with an example.

November 25, 2014

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

Det är bibliotekets böcker.

Compare to this discussion https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5527786

November 25, 2014

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

Makes sense now. Many Americans are in the habit of referring to a company as "they" when it is really an "it." So, for example, "Did you visit Google today?" "Yes, and I have its books."

August 8, 2015

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

Tack! I replied in the other discussion.

November 25, 2014

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

I agree

October 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danielmonteiro16

Det är means ‘it is’, ❤❤❤❤, how can it mean they are?

January 15, 2015

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

I think because using "De" for "They" is only when you're talking about people. "Det" can mean a bunch of things in different contexts.

February 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lundgren8

It’s not really the case, it has to do with that det does not directly refer to the books, it’s just a formal subject or a dummy pronoun used because the sentence needs some sort of subject. It’s common to use when describing things. It’s similar to the ’it’ in ’it’s raining’ which doesn’t really refer to the rain or anything like that. Since it doesn’t refer to the books, they don’t agree with each other.

February 23, 2015

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

Great example, thanks - tack.

July 15, 2016

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

Its books? Whose books? The cat's? The turtle's? :)

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

The library's.

April 15, 2016

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

A native English speaker would never use the expression "they are its books". EVER.

April 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Your imagination is failing you. There is the Supreme Court case where the phrase was actually used. "They are its books, in the eyes of the law". The "it" referred to a corporation. https://goo.gl/UIp30U

April 18, 2016

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

Legalese in no way counts as representing native English.

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

"See those white parts at the top of the mountain range? They are its peaks." "See those dark spots on the moon? They are its craters" "You know those bubbles in the frog's water? They are its eggs". "Have you tasted those nuts from Iran? They are its biggest export" "Do you see those piles of ash inside the burnt-down library? They are its books."

April 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emily823504

As a lawyer, I concur with this statement. (To the point, I think it's a very awkward sentence, but I can imagine it being used outside of a judicial setting)

June 23, 2019

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

Sure one would use it. Say there's a virus that owns a book. He and she would both be really weird to use when referring to a virus. Thus, "they are its books". Sure, the context is unusual, but since when has that made something ungrammatical or otherwise wrong? (Hint: never)

May 11, 2017

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

Oh your logic is no fun. :) Have a lingot!

April 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith832963

If the books belong to the library then they are "their" books. They do not belong to the building but to the people who run the library. As far as English is concerned. Some things do not translate directly.

July 4, 2017

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

Actually, whether to treat an institution as a singular entity or a plural differs among native speakers. Neither is wrong.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith832963

So why isn't the translation "their books" accepted in this instance by dueling?

July 4, 2017

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

Maybe we should decide which translations to accept based on dueling. :)

The problem to me is that there's a very large risk that if we add "their", then a lot of learners will inadvertently learn that dess is a plural form. So while it's a technically sound translation, it's still detrimental to our purpose. Unfortunately, some users - such as you - get caught in the aftermath, so to speak, and I regret that this happens but it's still probably the best option.

We do evaluate things like these constantly, though, so the input is appreciated.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

The other thread on a dess exercise has discussion about their also. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5730521

July 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith832963

Should read duolingo - predictive text!

July 4, 2017

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

How would you consider "an institution" plural? By definition that's singular. "Institutions" is plural. This is unquestionable.

November 15, 2018

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

It's called a collective noun and is very common in parts of the English-speaking world, but rare in others.

For instance, in "the team says that..." and "the team say that...", you can use either, and it'll mean either the team as a common entity or the players in the team, so to speak.

November 15, 2018

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

Yes, of course it is a single entity. I wrote that whether to treat it as such varies among natives. As you say, it's much less common in the US than elsewhere - but it is correct both ways.

November 15, 2018

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

Thanks for your response. I understand the concept of a collective noun. However, when I learned the language, agreement between nouns and pronouns is important. It does not matter that a team is made up of individual members. It is still a singular entity. Currently here in the USA, the singular noun/plural prounoun disagreement is nearly ubiquitous. My least favorite is when "individual" is referred to as "they." When using the language properly in the USA, that is incorrect.

November 15, 2018

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

Curve ball. Odd sentance.

October 13, 2015

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

I was wondering - would ''these are it's books'' also be a valid translation? (And why yes/no?) :)

December 17, 2015

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

No, because these would be det här, so your sentence would be Det här är dess böcker instead.

December 18, 2015

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

Ohh I get it. Thank you! :)

December 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

No, English " it's " and " its " are two different words. You would get "it's" from "det är", not from "dess"

March 25, 2016

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

Could you use "de" (dom) here instead of "det"?

July 29, 2015

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

The short answer is no. I wrote much longer about the det är construction here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9708920

July 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Balen11

Det = They ?!!

December 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

There's actually already a comment here explaining that the "Det är construction" must be used in this sentence, rather than the plural pronoun de, and it links to this:
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9708920

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob719348

After reading most of the comments on here, I think I've come up with the common English sentence that is used in this example---- THOSE are it's books. It may not be proper English, but I think many on here would recall saying Those instead of They.

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

That is proper English. However, it is an incorrect translation. those or these include extra information about proximity, which is not in this exercise.

May 4, 2018

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

this sentence doesn't make sense in English. please fix.

July 4, 2015

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

We'd love to, but we can't. We cannot remove or move words, and at this point in the tree we just don't have enough words to teach dess in a way that makes sense.

July 29, 2015

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

Why teach it in a way that does not make sense? And this does not.

November 15, 2018

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

I think you missed Arnauti's point. He's saying that he'd like to teach it in a way that does make sense, but with the way Duolingo's system works, it's impossible to get rid of this sentence in favour of a better one - at least until the next tree version. It's not that we're unaware of the problems, but we're limited by how the system works.

November 15, 2018

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

How About ”I am it’s student “ Duo of course

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

No, it's is a contraction for "it is"; unfortunately, you have to spell it as its without the apostrophe in this case.
"I am its student." is valid.

February 4, 2018

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

"Its" is possessive. I cannot conceive of how frustrating this is to learn when studying English. Oh wait, I can now.

November 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

It's a valid English sentence.

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith832963

In what way valid? It is neither grammatically correct nor is it English usage. Nobody English would say or write "it's books", and as the books are plural it is "they" not "it".

July 4, 2017

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

Why would it be grammatically incorrect?

Obviously it's a very rare construction in English, but not in Swedish, which is the point.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith832963

It is grammatically wrong to use it to refer to a plural. Books on its own (and I use the singular here because I am referring to the word itself of which there is one) is not a collective noun. Maybe one could say something like this sentence if one were to be asked "Which pile of books belongs to the library?" But it still sounds unnatural to my ears.

July 4, 2017

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

Ah, I'm sorry - I didn't notice "it is [...]" was accepted, I thought you were talking about "[...] its [...]". The default translation is "They are its books."

I absolutely get that the sentence doesn't make complete sense, but as Arnauti noted above, we can't really fix the problems for this tree version. Rest assured we won't be keeping this sentence for the next tree. I'm not arguing that it's in any way a good fit for the course - but it's going to have to stay as it is for a little while, I'm afraid.

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Actually, there are already explanations and examples within the comments of this page.
They changed the default translation after some of the older complaining, but both translations are still valid and have corresponding comments for clarification.
It's its books. <==Not an error!
They're its books. <==Also OK!

July 6, 2017

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

What "they are it's book" ?? Makes no sense!! Should be "it is his/hers book"

July 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Your comment has a typo. You put " it's ", rather than " its ", as used in this exercise. Also, you are incorrect. Please read the many examples provided in the other comments of this thread.

July 7, 2016

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

The point, moreover, is not whether a single instance of this utterance might be found, but whether it represents a useful translation of the Swedish text. I find it difficult to believe that the Swedish presented is nearly as awkward or uncommonly used as the English given as a translation. If a Swedish speaker also thinks that the Swedish phrase is awkward and uncommon, then the sentence really shouldn't be used as an exercise on duo lingo anyway. In either case, the exercise is clearly problematic.

July 7, 2016

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

That's true...it has a typo, my bad :) But my point is, even though our explanation is good, that this is a program to learn Swedish and to take a saying in English and translate it to Swedish is to much. My partner is Swedish and she said that you would not use these word in a sentence here in Sweden, even though they are good in English. I am Icelandic and the Swedish grammar and Icelandic is not that different in general and these translation and made up sentences are so out there sometimes because you would not talk like that here in Sweden...that was my point, and yes my other point was incorrect that it should be her/his :) It is just annoying when learning a new language you have to know English language 100% or be a native because yours is not an option...but let the party continue! :)

July 8, 2016

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

Typo be damned, I am Not incorrect. Your examples are ridiculous, and you are obviously not a native speaker.

July 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Some other sentences you might use dess for:
"The accountant stayed late at the bank to review its books."
"I wrote a research paper about pollution and its effect on global warming".
"The fire marshal determined the greatest risk to the library; it is its books." "What did you say the biggest risk is?" "It is its books!" "Thanks, I know it is its books".
The exercise is to teach the word dess, which translates to its. That is the 3rd person singular inanimate genitive. It was incorrect to assert that they should translate it to his/her and explaining the error was meant to help. You were also incorrect to assume I'm not a native speaker, although you didn't specify which language your presumption related to.

July 7, 2016

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

Actually, if you were talking about a collection in a library or gallery, "its" would work here. Thorr18 makes a great point above.

July 7, 2016

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

While it "might work", the more natural response would be to say "the gallery's". Please remember that the point of this app is to learn a new language, and to gain some ability to communicate, preferably without sounding like a google translate robot or David Sedaris.

July 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatalieBoa3

They weren't talking about you.

May 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsmaGutFer1985

Whose again?

October 3, 2018

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

Maybe a library's?

October 3, 2018

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

I have no idea why people are saying this sentence is invalid in its direct English translation. If you were talking about a book club which possesses books, you would say "They are its books.".

Granted, it's not a sentence you would find yourself using in everyday life (and I myself got the answer wrong) but it doesn't invalidate its grammatical correctness.

December 8, 2018

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

If "Det är" means "it is", so would "That are its books" be a valid translation? I don't really get where the "they" comes from.

October 4, 2015

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

Arnauti's link above your post (in reply to fransomedan) explains this construction, which is unusual to speakers of English.

October 4, 2015

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

Ah, thanks a lot. Should have clicked that link before commenting. I probably got confused, since I'm a native German speaker and ít would be totally fine to say "Das sind" and mistranslated it to english.

October 4, 2015

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

Sure; it really is confusing--especially when we're comparing three languages (Swedish, German, and English). Lundgren8's explanation (above) is helpful, too. :)

October 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hinmane_687

That doesn't really flow well and doesn't make much sense

November 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Your comment has already been made a few times and responded to here, so you may benefit from reading the comments.

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/signe346759

it is its books?? What does that mean?

March 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

See other comments.
It :3rd-person singular neuter pronoun. "I went to the library and it had good books".
Its : neuter possessive determiner (not to be confused with it's). "I went to the library and saw that its books were damaged.".

March 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/signe346759

Thanks, that makes sense, what you have written. But the sentence on its own, not so much. Overall the English seems to be translated here word for word from Swedish, which is grammatically not correct quite often in English, but is in Swedish.

March 24, 2017

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

I don't understand. Can "det" mean "they?"

April 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

The word Det in this sentence might translate to either singular it or plural they but, as already explained in the comments several times, it uses the "det är construction" with more information found here:
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9708920

April 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/x7yr0n3

It tells me to write: It is its books. Does this make sense to anyone?

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Yes; that is one of the accepted answers, as discussed in the other comments. They are its books is the other valid translation. The Swedish sentence is introducing some books to us and indicating they belong to something. We don't know the context because there's only one sentence. With context, Duolingo sentences would not look so odd. You could see some examples by reading the comments.

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/x7yr0n3

The odd thing I found about this solution (and I think neither context can fix this nor there is a comment which explains that yet) is the singular ("it is") vs. plural ("books"). So imo the sentence has to be number-consistent, but do no not hesitate to give me an example proving this wrong, i would have to thank you.

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

"What is the reason that drives people here to our small library? It is its books!" (reason = singular, books = plural).
Personally, I say the syntax works. The question introduces a singular and wants a singular answer. The earlier example in this thread using singular "risk" is the same. Perhaps you could say it's actually short for "It is its [collection of] books.". However, if one doesn't like this usage, one is free to use the primary accepted answer.

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/x7yr0n3

Thank you for explaining, now I got it... I could not think of a way this works by myself as a non-native speaker.

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CynthiaIro1

Should it not be "De" instead of "Det" seeing as the word for books is plural?

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18
June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mafe241798

This is a grammatical mistake in the english part, the correct way is "those are its books"

August 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

There's a lot of comments already analysing this exercise but technically your suggestion is an inaccurate translation and it's not correct for you to say the accepted answers are ungrammatical.

August 3, 2018

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

Weird sentence!

July 15, 2019

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

Weird sentence!

July 15, 2019

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

These are their books should be the translation

June 20, 2018

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

No, dess cannot be "their".

June 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/valentine_love3

I am still SO confused

October 3, 2018

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

How so?

October 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mr.Turtle14

This must be a "De" at the beginning!

November 17, 2018

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

Nope, Swedish generally prefers the general "it" - det, even here.

November 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ACN655292

DE är dess böcker

December 27, 2018

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

No, det is much better. Swedish defaults to the general "it" so often that most natives will do so whenever possible.

December 27, 2018

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

I am a professional translator and this is one of the worst sentences I have ever read. This translation was done word for word and it absolutely makes no sense. It is not always possible to translate a sentence that way, we have to find the meaning. A better way would be: they are their books. But then again it's could also mean as child a woman a man etc.

July 19, 2019

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

I totally agree.

July 19, 2019

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

This sentence is all together wrong. "It is their books" is the correct translation which still does not make any sense. The correct sentence should say it is their book "Det är dess bock". This is not the first time I have noticed errors in the languages that I am learning on Duolingo. I wonder who does the quality control. I am a professional translator and it is not acceptable to teach incorrect words and sentences to people who are just starting to learn a new language. Therefore, I can only recommend to purchase a dictionary in the language that one is learning and to look up every word that is not understood. Good luck!

July 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

You are wrong, sorry. There are some examples in this thread of how this sentence can look in context. Also, you meant *altogether.

July 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leon415206

There is no they THIS IS HUGE MISTAKE!!!

January 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

It's absolutly not a mistake but, if you'd like to know why, there are actually already a ton of comments on this page discussing it. Also, there is more than one valid translation which is an accepted answer so you are not required to use they at all if you don't want to.

January 11, 2019

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

This does not make sense.

February 1, 2019

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

Please have a look at the other comments.

February 1, 2019

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

If three different people tell you, you you are a fish you should start looking for water.

February 1, 2019

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

That goes both ways. There are more than three people in this thread explaining how the construction works. Perhaps you should look for explanations rather than complaints.

February 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeton697717

Det är dess böcker. They are his books.

February 1, 2019

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

No, dess is never used for people - only for "its".

February 1, 2019

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

This is not a correct english phrase

February 24, 2019

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

It is. Please refer to the many other comments on this.

February 24, 2019
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