"Eine Ente ist ein Vogel."

Translation:A duck is a bird.

December 15, 2012

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


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


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

edit: this is incorrect, read below


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


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!


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".


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?


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


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.


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


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


that's why i like german. :)


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


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


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


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


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


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. :)


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


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.


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


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).


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


Duolingo calls this case predicative nominative within "Tips"



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


it's ist, not isst.


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


The duck is a bird not the duck eats the bird


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


Yes, it would be really helpful!


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.


Even further, I'd love if they would give you the opportunity to practice vocab using articles with the nouns so you can memorize their gender. I know you could do it separately, but it'd be much easier and more fun to practice your learned/introduced vocab here instead of having to look them up in the dictionary and then use a separate app like Quizlet to study.


There already IS a dictionary included with Duolingo IF you are using the web browser version. Click on the round button with 3 dots labeled MORE. One of the items is a dictionary! Hope this helps ... albeit a little late!



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'.


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


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


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


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."


What is the difference in pronunciation in isst and ist?


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).


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


i accidentally put the duck is a bird


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


Wow, Duolingo. Wise words

  • 1206

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.


Does vogel sounds like fu-gull.?

[deactivated user]

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


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


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


    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)…


    Why is a duck feminine but a bird not feminine


    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


    Sorry, just wanted to know, shouldn't it be frisst instead of isst for animals?


    It is "ist" because 'A duck IS a bird.', NOT 'A duck eats a bird.'! IF, as you probably thought, it were 'A duck eats a bird.', then it would be "frisst", not "isst", as you surmised.


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