"Wir haben Ferien!"

Translation:We are on vacation!

July 15, 2013



In British English: "We are having a holiday" is wrong?

July 25, 2013


I think that has to do with how Duolingo is so particular about articles. Maybe putting in "We are having holiday." would give a correct response from Duolingo? I think it doesn't like the article "a"

January 18, 2014


Or "We are on holiday"

March 27, 2014


We are on vacation is more often used than we are on holiday in my area. We are on holiday sounds stilted.

November 4, 2016


But in Britain we never "vacation" and rarely "go on vacation". We usually go "on holiday".
The only time, that I can think of, that being "on vacation" would be more normal is if one has leave from work, but is not travelling anywhere.
May I ask where (roughly speaking) is your area?

November 30, 2016


Mid America. For this area, a holiday would be something like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Vacation would be time off a job, usually paid.

December 5, 2016


@Shimerab: In British English, a holiday can be a trip somewhere (other than for work) or time when school is out of term. Specific dates, such as you list are public holidays -because everything is closed on such days (or used to be!)
What is your equivalent for the school holidays?

December 5, 2016


@daughterofAlbion: The answer to your question about the term used for school holidays in the US: Typically, we would say "break" or "vacation." Thus, we would refer to spring break (or Easter break), Christmas break (or winter break), and either summer break or summer vacation. Break is more common for everything except the long summer holiday; vacation would be more commonly used for that, I believe.

February 13, 2019


Does anybody actually say "We are having holiday?" As a native British English speaker, this sounds really wrong. So I was wondering, is this normal somewhere else, or is this Duolingo-speak?

November 30, 2016


We don't say that in the US. "We're on vacation" would be most natural here. "We're on holiday" would be understood, but not very natural to say; it sounds old-timey or from some other English-speaking country. "We're having holiday" just sounds like bad English.

August 2, 2017


The US equivalent of "school holidays" is simply "school vacation". February vacation, Christmas vacation or summer vacation, for example. The only exception I can think of is when college students take vacation in the spring. We call that "spring break" and it stereotypically involves traveling to some beach town and making a lot of bad decisions. I've heard Americans say they are "going on holiday", but it's rare. We know what they mean, it just sounds a bit British. :)

August 15, 2018


Duolingo corrected me and said "We are having a break". I'm not convinced the article "a" is an issue here.

July 23, 2015


It is having a problem with the article. I submitted "We are on break," and Duolingo told me that it wanted "We are on a break."

August 7, 2015


"We have holidays" isn't wrong, for the record

July 21, 2014


But "We have vacation" is right apparently.

May 22, 2015


Apparently not. That's what I wrote and got it wrong.

September 24, 2016


I guess it's because Ferien in German is a plural Noun, so it's always a plural. that's what the dictionary said :)

October 19, 2014


Australian english, too. We're having a holiday, we're on holidays are both fine. We have a holiday - it's probably a public holiday. We only use vacation if we're taking about National Lampoons films.

March 7, 2019


What about "Urlaub"? I thought that was for vacations ...

August 30, 2014


I second this. I thought "wir sind im Urlaub" was "we are on vacation." Perhaps this is another way of saying the same thing?

September 9, 2015


"Urlaub" is holiday for people who work (Arbeitsurlaub). But Ferien (it is always in plural by the way) is holiday for students (Schulferien). I hope I could help!

September 26, 2015


That is very helpful. Thank you. :)

September 26, 2015


Thank you very much! :)

December 30, 2015


Wait a sec, so if a family with parents who work and kids who study go on holiday, are they taking Urlaub or Ferien? And is traveling implied in those actions, or does it just mean that one stopped working/studying without necessarily traveling?

June 18, 2019


In your scenario of referring to the family as a whole, you would use "Urlaub" as the children/students being on "Ferien" is implied.

July 10, 2019


Yeah me too confused..

June 18, 2017


"We are vacationing." Is an acceptable answer; which I think encapsulates the actual meaning of this sentence. (Native American English Speaker)

November 29, 2013


You're absolutely right. The offered solution "We've holidays" is a literal translation. "We're vacationing" or "We're on vacation".is the right way to go.

January 13, 2015


Ferien is from french férié. It means a work day that has become a holiday because of a national, religious or other events

August 10, 2017


I agree

May 15, 2017


"We have vacations" is correct

"We are on vacation" is correct.

But those mean different things! Does German use some special sentences to make the distinction?

The latter case means that you are actually in the process of vacationing whereas the former case means that having holidays is possible (at your work place for example)

October 17, 2014


I agree...After reading all comments I am still confused about this.

April 19, 2019


What is the difference between "Urlaub" und "Ferein"?

July 14, 2015


I would like to know, too. It would be great if a native speaker could explain and give an example :)

December 30, 2015


I just came accross this explanation from symbolofspirit:

"Urlaub" is holiday for people who work (Arbeitsurlaub). But Ferien (it is always in plural by the way) is holiday for students (Schulferien). I hope I could help!

December 30, 2015


Yes. If "We have vacations!" is wrong. It should be "We are on vacation!"

August 8, 2013


Actually, I put in what you wrote and it was correct.

July 6, 2014


I wish Duolingo would default to British or International English. No-one uses "vacations" outside USA.

July 14, 2015


So I take it the verb "haben"(to have) is used in German when talking about holidays similar to how it is used regarding hunger/thirst? The holiday is treated as some kind of possession in the language?

May 12, 2014


My question is this. In one question, dou used "vacation time" as in "it is vacation time/Es ist Ferien" and in this one, "We have vacation time" is wrong. What is the difference and why?

July 23, 2014


I always thought Wir haben Ferien meant you are free from school/work, but not per se on a vacation and that thát would be Wir sind im Urlaub.. isn't that so?

March 12, 2015


2 questions:

1) Wir haben Ferien = Wir machen Ferien? 2) How do you say you have days off left to use? like when you have 2 weeks off for summer and you can manage when to take them..

August 10, 2016


Am wondering if there is any difference in meaning between ¨Wir haben Ferien.¨ and ¨Wir machen Urlaub.¨? And would it make any sense to use either¨machen¨ or ¨haben¨ with either one of these words for vacation?

December 9, 2016


why wouldn't "we are going on vacation" be correct?

July 15, 2013


If I am right: going on means in the future. Wir haben Ferien is now.

July 16, 2013


i don't think that's necessarily true. though it is often used to discuss the future, it's not future tense. i think 'going on vacation' implies actually going somewhere, whereas being on vacation (or literally translated, "we have vacation", which was marked as correct for me) just means you're not working. 'we're going to go on vacation' would be future tense.

October 22, 2013


so “We are on vacation" is here and now? and "going on vacation" is now but the vacation is not here? Could "we are going on vacation" be loosely translated as: "Wir fahren in die Ferien." if we drive for example to a summer camp?

October 22, 2013


As a native English speaker I think the meaning depends on context, but usually "going on vacation" means you're actually going somewhere. If you say "We are on vacation" it's present tense but it could mean either you're on a trip or you're just not working. I might respond with "Are you going anywhere?" I can't confirm whether the German sentence is correct but using fahren is the same idea. If my understanding of the German is correct "Wir fahren" is present tense but can be used to discuss the future, and in English "we're going" is used the same way. It can mean "we're currently going", as in already on our way, or "we're going to go".

October 22, 2013


"We have a holiday" is wrong. Why?

July 17, 2013


again, it's the article "a" that's wrong

July 8, 2014


Okay, I don't see question posted in any of the comments. I would very much like to understand Duoligo's interpretation, "We are on vacation." I don't see any preposition used in the Deutsch sentence so why is there an 'assumed' preposition 'on'? Why can't we simply say, "We have vacation." Even if my English is not precise, it seems closest to the actual sentence...idk. Any ideas or answers would be great.

March 5, 2014


"We are on vacation" is an English (maybe only American) idiom. "We have vacation" would either be seen as awkward, or would mean something like "We have vacation time (from a job) available to us"

March 5, 2014


I'm a native English speaker (American) and I don't see "we have vacation" as being awkward. I came to read this discussion to ask the same question as vyghramunju.

To me, "we are on vacation" and "we have vacation" are both correct English sentences, but with very different meanings. The first means that we are not working now, while the second means that we have the time or approval from work to take time off, but it hasn't started yet.

So I'm curious as well if there's always an implied preposition with some nouns? If I see haben in any form with Ferien, I should always interpret it as "on vacation"?

September 18, 2014


I translated the phrase as "We are taking a vacation", which Duolingo didn't like. I don't have an issue with Duolingo's translation. However, since a literal translation isn't applicable here, I think my translation should work as well.

June 11, 2014


My dictionary said recess and that is what i put. I got it wrong.:(

July 23, 2015


Ok, in the previous lesson DU said that "Ferien" meant "vacation time". So when I translated it to " We are having vacation time." you marked it wrong. I object.

January 31, 2016


This is one of those sentences that shouldn't be taken literally. Look at the phrase "What's up" or "how's it going". literally, those sentences don't make sense but we don't change them because that is just how those particular sentences are said. So even though Wir haben Ferien doesn't make any sense literally, that's just how that particular phrase is said.

March 9, 2016


Very true -- some expressions don't translate word-for-word, and shouldn't be made to. One just has to learn the equivalent phrase or expression.

October 30, 2017


Vacation? What's that? I'm American, and I know of no such thing... Lol

November 29, 2018


Can it be translated to "we have holidays?" If so, it has a different meaning from "We are on vacation." One could have holidays, but not be on vacation.

March 24, 2019


We have holiday works, We are having a holiday doesn't.

November 29, 2013


Why is 'We have break.' wrong? In American English, we say break. And Duolingo even translates 'Ferien' to 'break'.

December 28, 2013


We have break is incorrect English. We have A break as in a winter or school break is correct but Duolingo did not accept this either.

February 21, 2014


Well not where I live. We say "We have break." But nobody really uses correct English in everyday speech, so I guess that could be the problem.

February 21, 2014


Wouldn't "We're having vacation" be correct as well? It basically means the same thing.

July 13, 2014


How would I say "I have vacation" as in, I have a job that offers vacation time.

August 22, 2014


Is Ferian a noun here, duo doesnt show the gender though ?

January 27, 2015


Ferien has no singular form, it is only plural - die Ferien.

December 30, 2015


How is Ferien pronounced? Fi:rin or Ferin

June 16, 2015


In Swedish it is common to say 'We have vacation' but that usually means that you have time off from work. You would say 'We are on vacation' when you are out travelling, a superset of the former.

July 7, 2015


So how does German distinguish between the two ideas?

April 2, 2019


So literally translated, this sentence means 'we have holiday' ?

November 24, 2015


"We have holiday" is counted correct but isn't very good English so maybe it shouldnt be.

January 9, 2016


We've gone on holiday by mistake!!

March 2, 2016


Can it be :"Wir sind an Ferien"?

June 1, 2016


Everything is great (yeah) Coz we're on vacaaaaatioooooooooon


June 21, 2016


This is much better than Es sind ferien

October 20, 2016


If Ferien is always plural, why is the translation for Wir haben Ferien given as "We are on vacation" and not "We have vacations"

November 4, 2016


Because it's an idiom; it doesn't translate exactly, word for word. The translation is really more of an equivalent expression.

October 30, 2017


"We have free-reign"!

November 22, 2016


I wrote 'We are on holiday' and it was accepted.

December 18, 2016


"we have break"

January 4, 2017


It corrected me by saying "We have vacation". If i put we have a vacation it probably would have accepted. But the answer it gave is not correct in English

March 1, 2017


Urlaub and Ferien is the same?

March 7, 2017


Duolingo said "we are vacationing" Wtf is that even a word

April 27, 2017


I think "vacationing" is very much a word many Americans (I among them) would and do use.

May 2, 2017


Yes, it's perfectly good. "Our neighbors are vacationing in Yellowstone this week, so we're looking after their cats."

October 30, 2017


Why is the verb haben used here?

June 13, 2017


Having read the thread, this is what I think. I'm Scottish, so use "holiday" rather than "vacation" so USA friends just transpose.

  1. Wir haben Ferien : means we have holidays, say from work this week, but we are at home. In English we could say, "We're on holiday from work" or "We're on holiday from school or on vacation from university" in this context
  2. Wir machen Ferien : means we are actually away from home on holiday, and we could say "We're on holiday in Germany"
  3. Wir bin im Urlaub : means the same as 2., ie away from home, "We are on holiday in the Alps"

It would be great if a native German speaker could comment on this. Thanks

September 29, 2017


Does it mean, "we are guaranteed with holidays", or "we are off now"?

October 11, 2017


Is Ferien both singular and plural? It was used in both circumstances.

October 24, 2017


No, just plural.

November 21, 2017


Can anyone tell me the literal translation for this? What would Ferien translate to alone?

November 20, 2017


It's a word that is used for the holidays when children don't go to school -- usually only when that time lasts more than just a couple of days, but at least a week.

For example, die Sommerferien are the summer holidays (typically six weeks in Germany).

November 21, 2017


I put "We are having vacation" and it was wrong because apparently Ferien is always plural. It's funny though, because the "proper" translation for "Wir haben Ferien" on THIS discussion page is "We are on vacatioN" with no s. Hmm Duo.

December 19, 2017


Why is "We are having vacation" wrong? Duolingo tells me that "We are having vacations" is correct. I have heard many people say the former, but I have never heard anyone say the latter. Of course, there's a possibility that no one I know speaks proper English. :p

January 4, 2018


What is the difference between "Ferien" and "Urlaub"?

January 18, 2019


Could anyone explained that what does it mean? Since "We are on vacation" and "We have vacation" means totally different things for me.

April 19, 2019


I first learned German in Switzerland, so some of what I learned is a bit different. Ferien was always used to mean "vacation" and never Urlaub, at least not how it was explained to me) So, in Germany, Ferien has a different meaning? I saw below it meant just for students and Urlaub was what we would call "vacation" or "holiday"

May 4, 2019


Where does 'are on' come from here?

August 3, 2019


Why not "We are on/we have vacay"?

April 17, 2015


Because it's not a real word?

October 30, 2017


wouldn't this be equivalent to we have vacations? who says "vacation" in english?

July 31, 2013


Whilst I am not happy with the Duolingo translations involving the word 'Ferien', I disagree with you. If an English-speaking person said "We are on vacations", they could only possibly mean that they are on multiple holidays. Or perhaps that the person being referred to within the 'we' is on a different holiday to the person speaking.

August 28, 2013


In south carolina people often say "we have break" to mean a break from anything we could regularly attend .. a holiday span from daily life, a span between classes, across holidays off of school, holiday time from a job, even a span where church is not in session, .. it really seems to be about the reference of what you are taking a vacation from when one says "we have break" here.. you could even be talking about a tv show being between seasons and one could say "yeah, they're on break" .. interestingly enough it seems though with relationships we always say "we're on a break" when not dating for a span..

June 4, 2015



December 19, 2017
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