1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Eine Ente ist ein Vogel."

"Eine Ente ist ein Vogel."

Translation:A duck is a bird.

December 15, 2012

142 Comments


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

I had the opposite problem: I misspelled it as "isst" instead of "ist" and it accepted it without even saying I had a typo.


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

Same here. Maybe because it is still correct and indistinguishable from 'isst'?


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

Correct, "Eine Ente isst ein Vogel" is grammatically correct, and you can't hear the difference.

edit: this is incorrect, read below


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

Shouldn't it be "Eine Ente isst einen Vogel", since Vogel is masculine and is in the accusative case?


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

I didn't think about this possibility! You are right: if the bird is eating the duck, then Vogel is the nominative object (the subject) and Ente is the accusative object (the direct object); in this case, "Eine Ente isst ein Vogel." means the same thing as "Ein Vogel isst eine Ente.". (I checked this with a German teacher to be sure).

I forgot that, in German, the terms in the sentence can be reordered in such manner (ironically, in Portuguese, my native language, this is also possible). Thank you for having observed that!


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

Tatiane, German is more flexible than Portuguese when it comes to ordering the terms in the sentence. This happens because of its declination system, which marks the syntactic function of a noun independently of where it is placed in the sentence structure.

We can reorder terms in Portuguese sentences as well, but we rely greatly on semantic features, rather than syntactic ones, to maintain the meaning and avoid ambiguities. For example, you can change "O poeta escrevia um doce verso" into "Um doce verso escrevia o poeta", but you can't invert "A menina beijou o menino" into "O menino beijou a menina" without changing the meaning.

This happens because we don't change the articles ("o", "a", "os", "as") according to the role the following noun plays in the sentence. However, German does that, which allows us to make inversions that are impossible to be made in Portuguese without altering the meaning.

In this case, if you want to say "Um pássaro come um pato", "pássaro" is the nominative object and you should use "ein", while "pato" is the accusative object, and you should use "eine". In this case, the final German sentence can be either "Ein Vogel isst eine Ente" or "Eine Ente isst ein Vogel" and, because of the declinations, both sentences mean the same thing.

On the other hand, if you want to say "Um pato come um pássaro", than "pato" (the nominative object now) should be preceded by "eine" and "pássaro" (the accusative object now) should be preceded by "einen". Again, the final sentence can be either "Eine Ente isst einen Vogel" or "Einen Vogel isst eine Ente".


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

Hi Andre, sorry but I'm still confusing. Translating to Portuguese we have: Um pato come um pássaro. It's not the same that Um pássaro come um pato. Why in this case it's not required put EINEN Vogel?


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

Muito Obrigada Andre! Muito esclarecedor. Now I understood!!!


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

Just a clarification: you can rely on syntactic features for disambiguation as well. This happens, for example, when the subject is singular and the object is plural (or vice-versa). However, this is not the case here.


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

That is correct. I think the rule of thumb here is: if you can tell the subject from the object using the case (nominative, etc.), use that; otherwise, use word order or context.


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

But if both are feminine? "Eine Ente isst eine Katze" or "Eine Katze isst eine Ente", it seems like this particular case isn't flexible, they don't change anything from nominative to acusative...


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

Crap you're right. it would be "isst einen Vogel," so it shouldn't have accepted IAmAFish's answer..


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

Cool, thanks for checking! German can be like a puzzle sometimes :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DannyDeutsch-

that's why i like german. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PiotrWawrz15

I thought it should've been "Eine Ente FRISST einen vogel?"


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

But if the bird is eating the duck, then it's correct, isn't it? "Eine Ente" is the correct accusative case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alex.m.s.evans

Wait wait no because when animals eat something you use frisst instead of isst (probably because of this confusion)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nadya2611

no they are not both correct Eine Ente ist ein Vogel = a duck is a bird but if you need to say > A duck eats a bird , you have to say : Eine Ente isst einen Vogel as vogel is muscular : der Vogel


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

That happened to me also. I thought, "A duck is eating a bird?!" What an odd sentence, lol.


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

Yes, I did too. I was thinking "Duolingo animals are ALWAYS eating each other"!


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

I know, right? The voice is true-ly talking about "The duck is a bird." hahaha. But also thanks to everyone explaining: acc and nom. Now I know that the object could be written first than the subject. :)


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

Same here, i thought how can a duck eat a bird?


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

But then you should have "ein Vogel" in acc., not in nom. "Eine Ente isst EINER Vogel". Good luck!


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

It should be "einen Vogel". You use "einer" with feminine nouns in the dative case.


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

einer? I have never heard about this so far :O


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

I just got the sentence "Eine Ente ist ein Vogel" about 6 times in a row! I have come to the conclusion that a duck is in fact a bird.


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

Why is Vogel not in the accusative? Shouldn't it be einen?


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

Because when you use the verb sein, what follows it is in the nominative case. This is because sein is a linking verb, not an active verb (I don't know the proper German terms, but this is the idea). In this case, Vogel is a predicate noun (http://www.vistawide.com/german/grammar/german_cases_nominative.htm).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fst0pped

Thank you for that link! It makes sense now. I like the idea of replacing with an '=' sign to test.


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

Duolingo calls this case predicative nominative within "Tips"

http://duolingo.com/#/skill/de/Nominative-Case


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

I'm sorry, but this is slightly irrelevant, but ducks eat birds? Just wondering.


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

it's ist, not isst.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alex.m.s.evans

When it has something to do with animals eating something you use the verb frisst instead of isst (probably because of this haha)


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

The duck is a bird not the duck eats the bird


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

The cannibalistic ducks do.


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

How strange that no-one has yet mentioned the woman's pronunciation of 'Vogel'. I've listened to it slowly several times - it still sounds like she's saying 'Vollmer', or something like that. I was wondering why Duolingo would suddenly insert a new, unfamiliar word. By contrast, the man speaking the same sentence clearly says 'Vogel'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sim-hae

Omg! I've been looking for this in the comments but nobody else is mentioning it. It sounds like "Vogne" or something to me.


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

It sounds like that, even when played on slow. Guessed it must be vogel as there was nothing else!!!


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

This is the only time i have to really use the word duck. XD


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

i accidentally put the duck is a bird


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

Wow, Duolingo. Wise words


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amma834113

Is it possible for Duolingo to actually publish a dictionary / word list with nouns that include gender? I keep getting questions wrong because it is the first time I am hearing or seeing a noun and its gender has not been introduced. Serious failing of Duolingo is the lack of a dictionary that includes gender articles


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

Yes, it would be really helpful!


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

try going online, like on a laptop or computer. They have these functions now! also look over the notes on lessons. Could help too. Happy learning.


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

I want to know "der Vogel" why not use "einen"?


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

To quote andrecunha, "when you use the verb sein, what follows it is in the nominative case. This is because sein is a linking verb, not an active verb."


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

What is the difference in pronunciation in isst and ist?


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

There is none, but as you advance your knowledge of the language you can figure out whether they're saying "isst" or "ist" via context clues (see above).


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

By the way, it's not correct I think the pronunciation of isst is /ist/ and ist more like /izt/. Also, perhaps the first one (ss) is a little longer than the second (s)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim5602

Both are pronounced the same. :)


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

"Vogel" is one of my favorite German words.. Löwen being the first.


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

Wait a minute! This sentence is translated as, "A duck is a bird." There is no "isst" in the sentence. The correct word is "ist." A duck is a bird. It is not eating a bird. I am not sure that the sentence is true, but that is what it says. It is "ein Vogel" and not "einen Vogel" because with the verb "to be" it is always a predicate in the nominative case.


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

Does vogel sounds like fu-gull.?


[deactivated user]

    You have to be really careful to write "Ente" instead of "Schwanz"...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Federico618627

    For a moment i read isst instead of ist... That startled me


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itsmesarah1

    So if vogel is masculine so we should say eine ente ist einen vogel I really don't understand


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

    The verb "to be", in all languages, never has an object: The duck does actually nothing to the bird, it is the same as the bird.
    "Ein Vogel" is a predicate of the subject, and as such, is in nominative, not accusative; so masculine singular accusative indefinite article is "ein".

    Similar verbs are "werden" (become), "bleiben" (remain)…


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

    Why is a duck feminine but a bird not feminine


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

    The grammatical gender has really not much to do with the thing; only with the word.

    The word "Vogel" is masculine, so it is "der Vogel", whether it is a female or male bird.
    On the other hand, the word "Ente" is feminine, whether it is a male or female duck.

    sfuspvwf npj


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

    i left the capital letter off the front of 'Eine' and it failed me


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

    Why not "the duck is a bird?"


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

    "Eine" means "A" not "The."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fei268113

    Please... Help me. I started to learn my favourite language :german.. But It's one of my first lessons and i m already confused. In which case we use ein and eine.?


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

    That has to do with word gender: Ente is a feminine noun, so you use "eine"; Vogel is a masculine noun, so you use "ein". This might be confusing for English speakers since English words (usually) don't have an associated gender, but words do have gender in many other languages.


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

    What if in real life you wanted to actually say the duck eats a bird? :P


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amble2lingo

    And "frisst" instead of "isst." "Eine Ente frisst einen Vogel." I always thought that ducks were primarily vegetarian, occasionally eating insects. And that diving ducks eat small fish and crustaceans. But, the BBC has recently documented ducks attacking and eating small birds!
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40445379


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

    You would use "einen" instead of "ein."


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

    Respectively, 'and' and 'fugl' in Danish!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kamal151328

    One duck is a bird doesn't seems to be correct English statement.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GlauberRib7

    Someone would tell me why "Eine Ente" and "ein Vogel"? I don't undertand the rules for the article "A/An" in German.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kara594416

    I was confused to ,and I was not able to understand why it's not " eine Ente ist einen Vogel" instead of " Eine Ente ist ein Vogel".....i was pretty sure that Vogel it's masculine. After a half hour of searching ,i find the grammar rule that says: Predicate nominatives are nouns, following the werbs SEIN,WERDEN,Heißen,and occasionally BLEIBEN. In our case ein Vogel its the predicate nominative. That actually means that the both sides of the sentence will have the nominative case.EXAMPLES: Ich (nom) bin ein(nom)Mann. Ein(nom) essen


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

    It has to do with the gender of the word. If the word is feminine (IE has a die article) it becomes eine, if it's masculine or neuter (der or das) it becomes ein.

    Note that the above only holds true if it's in the nominative case, and that the articles start to change in the other cases.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steve575091

    Im confused. Eine means "a". But i got marked wrong for putting "a". They say it should mean "one" but "one" in German is "Eines" correct?


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

    No. "A" and "one" are the same in German, as they are in the Italic Languages. This sentence is translated to: "a duck is a bird"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laura561455

    I thought that "eine" meant "an" and "ein" "a". Can someone please help?


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

    No, the distinction between "a" and "an" has nothing to do with "eine" and "ein". "a" and "an" simply differs on if the word begins with a vowel sound, while the German "ein" and "eine" depend on the gender of the noun. If the gender is feminine (die) it becomes "eine", if it's masculine or neuter (der or das) it becomes "ein".

    Note that this is only in the nominative case. In the other cases you start to get things like einen, einem and einer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/theguy07

    i thought it translated to a duck EATS a bird LOL!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel684476

    I thought vogel meant crow in deutsch, I guess I was wrong...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

    "A crow" ist "eine Krähe" auf deutsch.


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

    Here it says that the translation is ''A duck is a bird''. I wrote that and Duo corrected me that the correct translation is ''One duck is a bird''.

    What is correct? Thanks for the answer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkDickie1

    Good question. Had to figure it out without knowing the meaning of the words. More like this please.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Constancia120332

    A Duck is a bird is a correct sentence


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/geo_torno9

    Said after someone suggests classifying the duck as a reptile.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/panossk1

    Every time I think Ente is a dog or something because of the pokemon Entei.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

    Hm... It's a pity that "Enton" is called "psyduck" in english otherwise it would be a good donkey bridge.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/La-la-Land2

    oh?Duolingo have comments now?lol nice


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

    This was a type-what-you-heard exercise for me. I typed Eine Ente isst einen Vogel and got it wrong. (?!) I did not notice the lack of a pronounced n, it was timed practice, and I was going fast. In the explanation, it showed the "correct" sentence as "Eine Ente isst ein Vogel." I reported it (6/16/19). Please correct that!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

    I did not notice the lack of a pronounced n

    Well, maybe you will notice it next time. ;)

    But since "Eine Ente isst ein Vogel." is not a valid German sentence, that suggested 'solution' should be removed.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roadrocket13

    the audio for 'vogel' sounds like 'fogna'. can we get somebody to review?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

    Well, I listened to the male voice and it's pronounciation of "Vogel" is correct, so do you talk about the female voice?


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

    Why isn't it einen Vogel?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minervas37

    Because you have to use nominative here.

    Scroll down this page until you see the headline "Wann steht ein Nomen oder Pronomen im Nominativ?". There you'll find the 5 different constellations in which the nominative is used. The given sentence uses the 3rd constellation: Als Prädikativ zum Subjekt.


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

    A duck is eating a bird.


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

    That would be "Eine Ente isst einen Vogel."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mehran732347

    I can't active the listening


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

    But how do you say a duck is a monster?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djurdja690891

    Wrong. Birds are ducks, not the opposite


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/S.Boots

    Was a little amazed when I heard that duck is eating a bird


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhilipAlex4

    Has anybody heard about the word that bird is the word?


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

    I typed it correctly and then it tried to correct me with exactly what I typed...


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

    The english translation would never be used, "one duck is a bird". It is assumed that all ducks are birds, therefore no need for specifying that "one" duck is a bird.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick849244

    Why one and not a


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

    Although 'ein' can mean one, it's not a correct translation in this case.

    "One duck is a bird" would imply that only one special duck is a bird, whilst "A duck is a bird" would imply that all ducks are birds.


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

    As to a question above, we cant write Ein Ente ist einen Vogel (to make it accusative case). It is because the sentence is about the same duck. There are no 2 separate objects to name one as direct and the other as indirect object. The context is about the same one duck. Native speakers can correct me.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jackson890091

    It didn't let me learn the new animal names in German :(


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nathaniel460875

    Told me One duck is a bird. Just one, no other apparently.


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

    In German, as in many languages, there is only one word for a and one. (Sorry if it was a joke...)


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

    Eine Ente ist ein Vogel = A duck is a bird

    Eine Einte isst ein Vogel = A bird is eating a duck

    Ein Vogel isst eine Ente = A bird is eating a duck

    Eine Ente isst einen Vogel = A duck is eating a bird

    Einen Vogel isst eine Ente = A duck is eating a bird

    German is great.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eliasrivas09

    Shouldn't we say "frisst" instead of "isst"?


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

    Thanks for these examples, that demonstrate what others have explained on this page, that different articles are used before nominative and accusative nouns. If you change 'isst' to 'frisst' in each of the eating situations, I think they are all correct.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmritaAnan2

    Join my club KNQDAX but only for girls


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmritaAnan2

    Join my club KNQDAX ( Only for girls)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Filip405164

    I have misspelled "A fu*k is a a bird" and guess what. Correct! O.o


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

    I wrote it correctly but it showed wrong its already the second time I am facing this


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

    When a picked Die Ente for bird in the last question they say I'm wrong. Then make me translate the phrase "A duck is a bird". Ahhhhh.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/countrylife4me

    I don't get the = thing at all?!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/osama.shal

    Actually whatever i say in the "speaking " sentence it is always correct ..if u say "eine katze ist ein Haustier " it will be correct


    [deactivated user]

      It's a bird? Wow. NICE OBSERVATION!!!!!one!!111!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicholasst392111

      This was a little bit hard


      [deactivated user]

        I put "enta" instead of "ente" is that legit? it was correct too!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ayna900265

        I'm confusing!! Hahaha


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

        I wrote 'A F!@# is a bird.'


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

        Ducks is not birds, ducks is just ducks with wings!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Legostrike3

        They had me pick the correct translation, and they had 'A duck is a bird' and 'A duck is an bird', so i picked both. they may not be grammatically correct in English, but they mean the same thing.

        not cool Duolingo.

        Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.