"Das ist ein Fisch."

Translation:That is a fish.

August 26, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Why not: "It's a fish" ?


Maybe it has something to do with the difference between "Es ist" and "Das ist" (personal pronoun or definitive article)


Because "Das" here is not acting as an article but rather a determiner, pointing out this vs. that. So here, "Das" means "that." That is a fish.


But "it" is not an article too. And it can be easily used instead of "that". Why is exactly "that"?


As said by Ichbineinesofa, "it is" would better translate as "es ist". "Das" is simply more demonstrative, so "that".

sfuspvwf npj


My grandma is German and she constantly use (as many other German people I know) "das" when presenting objects. Here "das" acts like a subject. I'm not a scholar and I don't know the correct terminology but this is simply how people speak. If anyone of you is familiar with Russian, think of "das" (in this particular case) as "это". It happens frequently to me to hear people saying "das ist gut", "das schmeckt gut" when referring to things (or food) they are currently holding in their hands or eating. And in these cases, "that" wouldn't be correct as the focus is put on something near (more frequently, on) the speaker. Again, I'm not a scholar nor a professional teacher and I do not know how to better explain this. I'm just reporting every day conversations and manners.


Because it is both.


Why isn't it "Das ist einen Fisch?" The fish is masculine not neutral.


I think it is because "sein" is not a verb that needs Object, so we just use Nominativ. If the verb was "haben", It should have been "Das hat einen Fisch." Because "haben" needs a Object.


I was wondering about that too. I think an "action" verb needs to be used. For example, "Ich esse einen Apfel." Eating is an action verb that I am doing on the object (apple). In the practice example, the verb "sein" (to be) isn't an action verb....I think? This is why "Das ist ein Fisch" is correct.

I could be wrong, but this is the only way I can make sense of it at this point. (It would be appreciated if anyone can provide a more technical explanation!)


epicknight7 you're right. It is "ein" because the sentence is in the Nominative case. We are merely saying what "Das" ("that" in English) is.... a fish. If we were performing an action upon the fish this would change it to the Accusative case which then changes the ending of masculine articles (der -> den, ein -> einen). So:

Das ist ein Fisch. = Accusative, no change to ein

Ich esse einen Fisch. = Dativ, masculine article changes by adding -en

So, if the subject performs an action on another object, then you change the ending for masculine articles. We didn't in the example here, so the infitive "ein" is used.

P.S., for those interested, the part of the sentence "ist ein Fisch" is just a predicate phrase, meaning we are adding description to the subject ("Das", in this example) which doesn't change anything.

P.P.S. Yes, "That is a fish" is also correct, both "a" and "one" are definite articles in English so we can interchange them. How to tell the difference in German? Context. If you were yelling at someone for not bringing home enough dinner for two people they would get that you were emphasizing"one" not "a".


Not 100%ly correct:

Das ist ein Fisch. => Nominativ! The verb "sein" does not require an object. that phenomenen is called "copula".

Ich esse einen Fisch. => Akkusativ!

The verb "essen" requires the accusativ for the direct object.

"der Fisch" is a masculine noun. So it changes the article.


teehee You know, I thought I knew. I should've realized!

German grammar was never my friend, I don't know why I keep trying to make my relationship with it work.


Either way, you're explanation of P.P.S explained enough for me to understand how a and one are interchangeable in this sentence.

Thank you very much!


Also, "ein" is not an infinitive. "ein" is the most basic form of the German indefinite article, while an infinitive is the timeless (no voice nor tense) basic form of a verb.


this is a nominative not akkusative sentence


Ein only changes to einen when it is the object of the sentence (accusative)


Because it has the verb "sein"


Because "einen" is accusative and sein doesn't want accusative.


I've got marks for both "that is a fish", and " this is a fish". Is there any more specific way to indicate "that" or "this"?



If you use that and this in the same sentence, they will use der/die/das for that and dieser/diese/dieses for this. Seperately either set of words can mean this or that. If you have something farther away, you can use : "das....dort" or "das...da" kind of like we might say "that...over there"


I imagine a six year old pointing that out to his dad.


So I get that you can slow down and hear it clearly in the word-by-word audio, but I gotta say the main audio for the exercise I had (with the feminine voice) reeeeeally sounds like "das ist dein Fisch." The audio on this comment page sounds clearer.


I wrote "das isst ein Fisch" and it marked it correct (not even a typo). I was clearly wrong.


What is the difference in the sound between ist and isst?

[deactivated user]

    "isst" and "ist" sound exactly the same. In colloquial (rapid) speech, some speakers drop the "t" in "ist".


    pleaes read the "Tips and note"s in the bottom level of every "Chapter". all your questions will go out the windon... :) the smartphone course is fun and easy, but it's not good enough for deep understanding of the German "tuff" grammar.


    "It is a fish" is "Es ist ein Fisch."


    How to know I shall use "ein" or "einen"?


    einen is in the accusative case, used when the object in question is a direct object in the sentence. Naming something, e.g. a fish, is the definition of nominative, which is the case "ein" is in. Note: fish is masculine


    So here it's ein and not einen because the verb is transitive? Is that the grammatical rule for not applying the accusative here? Just to be clear, it would have been einen in the case of "Er isst einen Fisch" right?


    Transitive verbs do have direct objects. "To be" or "sein" is a linking verb and this particular verb could be replaced with an equal sign. After this verb is a word which refers to the subject and we call that noun a predicate nominative or a subject complement.


    The phenomenon of the verb "sein" (to be) you are discribing is also known by the term "Kopula".


    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/copula Yes, strangely when they use the term copula for the verb "to be" they sometimes call the predicate nominative just the predicate which feels odd to me as I learned the predicate to mean the verb with all its complements.

    The reason I used the term linking verb is because there are other verbs that can be used this way.

    Here they actually list many of the linking verbs which include "become, appear, seem, feel, grow, " Many of those are more likely to have a predicate adjective, which still refers to the subject, instead of a predicate nominative, but "to become" often takes a predicate nominative just like "to be".


    In an earlier sentence, "Der hat einen Fisch" (He has a fish) was correct. So, why is "Das ist einen Fisch" (That is a fish) incorrect?


    The verb "haben" (to have) requires the accusative, but the verb "sein" (to be) requires the nominative! Something like this we call Copula.

    That's why you have to say: Das ist ein Fisch.

    In english the copula does not exist. This is always causing mistakes in translating from German to English and vice versa. For instance you say in English "That's me.", for instance when showing a picture of yourself.

    But in German we say: "Das bin ich." and not "Das ist mich."


    So das when used at the beginning of a sentence or not followed by a noun...means this/that but if followed by a noun likely means the...


    Ein puede significar uno? Eins


    It didn't accept: "That's a fish" NEITHER "It's a fish" (I find this unfair


    Why i need to use ,a, i cannot say ,,that is fish,,




    Is "Das isst ein Fisch" an acceptable sentence for "It is eating a fish"?


    Why "this" is wrong?

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