"Ist ihnen schlecht?"

Translation:Are they sick?

December 23, 2012

97 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Bikebreaker

I think this is an idiom, a shortened form of "Ist es ihnen schlecht?" = "Is it bad for them?" Don't quote me on this.

December 29, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Germandy

You are right, it comes from "Ist es ihnen schlecht?" - but it does not mean 'Is it bad for them?' (which would be "Ist es schlecht für sie?") It's simply the longer version of the question, meaning 'Are they sick?'... hard to explain, I'm afraid it's just an idiomatic expression that you have to remember..

March 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Bikebreaker

Yes, totally right. I should have said something like, "Is it going badly for them?" so as not to suggest they ate something poisonous or whatever.

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.HelloBye

Right. It goes along the same lines as "Es ist mir heiß". In German, it is rather common for this construct to be used to express opinion, or ones perception, or to inquire about these things.

September 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SaulGoodma18

Does it mean It is my hot

February 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.HelloBye

More literally it means "It is to/for me hot." It's also kinda like, "es geht Ihnen schlecht," which means "It goes to/for you badly" literally, or "It's not going well for you," except this "idiom" uses sein instead of gehen which changes the meaning to be more like "It is not well with you." At first that sounds weird, but remember that people say "That sucks" or "it is raining" in English. German just uses this indirect way of saying stuff as the standard instead of the exception. So it best translates as "You are not well."

March 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AliDadban

It says I'm hot or I feel hot.

February 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/IanCaliban

Thanks.

The implied subject tricked me into answering Sind ihnen schlecht?

January 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/royalt213

I was wondering why it isn't "Sind ihnen schlect?" That makes it make sense.

June 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

The literal sentence is "Is it bad to them?"

The subject of the sentence is "it", but that word isn't spoken/written. So any time you come across one of these seemingly backwards sentences like "Mir ist schlecht" or "Mir ist kalt" or "Mir gefallt es", you want to be especially careful to identify the subject of the sentence. Usually it's going to be an er/sie/es pronoun.

So the sentence is "Ist es ihnen schlecht?", which is shortened to "Ist ihnen schlecht?"

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/prmichaelsen

They should add this response to the tip for the sentence!

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mazen438228

Great!! Thank you

March 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Qian_Wei

Why isn't it short for "Geht es ihnen schlecht?". I'm told that you cannot say "Ist es ihnen gut", but you can say "Ist es ihnen schlecht". Is it true?

March 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Tor_Heyerdal

Because you're not actually saying that "it's going badly for me". I mean, you're literally saying that, but in practice, that's not what it actually means. It means that you feel ill. Whenever you use "schlecht" in a dative construction, you're talking about health. Another example (which is used here on Duo) would be "Meinem Kind ist schlecht." The "meinem Kind" part is in dative, so you're saying "My child is ill." As far as I know, this just doesn't work the other way around. So you couldn't say "Meinem Kind ist gut" to mean "my child is feeling well." Why it doesn't work the other way around, I don't know. But that's just as far as I know. If I'm wrong, and you can actually use it the other way around, then someone please let me know.

October 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/WAVE98

Ja. "Krank" means "sick."

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

I would say "Mir ist schlecht" would be along the lines of "I don't feel well" in English.

February 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/silmas

Are they sick wouldn't be Sind ihnen sclecht?

December 23, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Karmen2810

That's not in the spirit of the language. If you use "sind" then you would have to put a question in a completely different form...and I have to say it would not sound right, that's just not how Germans speak.

December 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/CallMeAnja

but sind goes with they, not ist?

January 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

You can say "Sind sie schlecht?" but that would mean "Are they bad?" "Ihnen" is "to them", so it can be roughly translated as "Is it bad to them?" = "Are they sick?" In this case "it" requires "is" in English and "ist" in German.

January 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/thenino85

Because as other comments have mentioned, there's actually a hidden "es" that is the subject of the sentence.

April 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BenjaminClendon

they should ill/sick to the meanings of the word schlecht

January 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DoubleLingot

ist ihnen schlecht?

March 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/goodros_nemesis

Sind sie krank would be a far more accurate translation.

June 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/goodros_nemesis

Thanks for the negative vote with no explanation. Don't thumbs down just because you don't understand.

If this was translated as it is written, it would say, "Goes it unto them badly?" The English sentence says "Are they sick?" and not "Are things going badly for them?" The connotation in English has nothing to do with their current state of satisfaction or happiness. It is asking if they are physically ill.

In the years I lived in Germany, I only heard "Ist Ihnen (or ihnen, for you sticklers) schlecht?" a couple of times. When I walk into the office coughing and blowing my nose, the receptionist asks "Sind Sie krank?" eleven times out of ten. If I told someone that I was up all night attending my children, they ask, "Sind sie krank?" If I told them my child was having complications following a surgery, it would be more appropriate to ask "Ist ihr (or ihm, or ihnen) schlecht?"

August 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Bikebreaker

Thanks for taking the time to post this comprehensive reply.

August 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NikkMcKnight

to clarify, the "ist" doesn't refer to "ihnen". "ist" is some other thing that might be bad for "ihnen".

Like, if someone says "don't feed them the old bread." The other person might reply "is it bad for them?" Ist ihnen schlecht?

If someone speaks fluently, please let me know if i'm on the right track.

July 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mjhada

Couldn't this also be, "Are they bad?"

March 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Germandy

No. "Are they bad?" is "Sind sie schlecht?"

March 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Nimav

isn't it better to say "geht es ihnen schlecht? "

November 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Gerkish

Can I say " sind sie krank"???

November 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Aulian_Fr

Yes you can

May 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/XGN3FuAf

How do you say ' Is she sick"?

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

"Ist ihr schlecht"

April 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/The-German-Hit

Why is 'ist' used? Though I don't know any word in German which can be translated as 'are', 'ist' is used only for 'is' right? And why 'ihnen'? Why not 'sie'? Please answer, I am very confused!

August 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/yaliyev

"Are you feeling bad?" Why it is incorrect?

February 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

Because "Ihnen" for "you" must be capitalized.

"You" in German is either:

  • du (singular informal): Ist dir schlecht?

  • ihr (plural): Ist euch schlecht?

  • Sie (singular formal, always capitalized): Ist Ihnen schlecht?

March 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/xjorgex

but here it's not capitalized, it says "ist ihnen schlecht?"

July 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PatriciaJH

Yes, so it means "they".

July 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/sal2154

But when you click on the word "ihnen" it gives you the word "you" as one of the choices

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PatriciaJH

Report it as a bad hint. And be aware that Duo's hints are computer generated and don't always make sense in the current context.

July 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/karenskywalker

exactly... it seems more natural if we say "are you feeling bad?" than to say "are they feeling bad?"

March 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/yaliyev

Maybe correct translation is "are they feeling bad?" because ihnen is not capitalized...

March 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dierechnungbitte

why "are you not well?" will not do?

March 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Germandy

For the formal you, it would have to be "Ihnen" (capitalized). Look at one of the comments above, too.

March 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/laidbackjanie

I just do not get where 'feeling' sick comes from the above. At least I won't forget that phrase

November 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MohamedAshraf0

why not sind ihnen schlecht?

April 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/voroninp

Because it is "Ist ES ihnen schlecht?"

April 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MohamedAshraf0

thank you

April 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

Phrases like these literally sound like "It is bad to them/They are sick/Es ist ihnen schlecht"
"It is cold to them/They are cold/Es ist ihnen kalt"
"It goes well for me/I'm doing well/Es geht mir gut"
"It pleases me/I like it/Es gefällt mir"

April 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MohamedAshraf0

thank you so much it really helped

April 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sabbath.p

I think the duolingo voice is the same as the google voice....

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/prmichaelsen

Warum nicht "seid ihnen schlecht?"

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

Because the verb is conjugated to match the understood noun "it" as in "Is it bad to you?". No matter what the pronoun is, we're always going to use "ist" because the "es" is always going to be understood.

You'll find a few instances of this, so be able to recognize dative pronouns like mir, dir, ihm, ihr, ihnen, Ihnen, uns and euch. If you see one of those, you know they're not the subject of the sentence. The subject will either be another noun in the sentence, or, like in this case, it will be an understood "es".

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/prmichaelsen

Oh, I see. So "Seid ihr schlect" asks "are you all bad" whereas "Ist ihnen schlect" asks "is (it) bad to you all".

Thank you very much for this great explanation!

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jenni7771

Are they bad? As in are they bad behaved or...

October 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

"Are they bad" would be "Sind sie schlecht?" or something along those lines.

This sentence introduces an odd manner of speaking you'll encounter occasionally. What's important is the use of the dative pronoun "ihnen". Because it's not the nominative "sie" you know it's not the subject of the sentence, so it's not "They are". This type of sentence uses an unspoken "es" as the subject, so this sentence could otherwise be written as "Ist es ihnen schlecht" or "Is it bad to them". The grammar is still a little bit confusing, but the closest approximation might be something like "Does everything feel bad to them" or "Do they feel bad/ill".

This kind of structure appears in other places too, for instance "Mir gefällt das" is actually more along the lines of "that pleases/is pleasing to me" rather than "I like that".

If you run into a sentence that seems to mismatch verb conjugations and uses a dative pronoun, it's probably one of these kinds of sentences.

October 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/KasiditEkt

why not "sind sie schlecht" ?

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

That means "Are they bad?". You can read some of the other posts in this thread for more explanation.

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/KasiditEkt

danke schön und wissen Sie why it has to be "ist" ihnen (I think ihnen is more than one person so it should use "sind")

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

In this sentence, "es" is the subject, not "ihnen" (which can never be the subject of the sentence, along with "dir", "mir", "ihm", "uns", and "euch"). The word "es" is not spoken in this case, so the sentence written explicitly is "Ist es ihnen schlecht" which literally translates to "is it bad to them".

It doesn't make much sense in English, but that's how Germans ask if someone is sick.

Likewise, to ask if someone is "feeling" cold as opposed to being cold to the touch, you would say "Ist dir kalt?" as opposed to "Bist du kalt?" respectively. There are a few similar phrases like this, and as you learn the Dative case, they'll make more sense.

Be aware that you can't always trust word order to translate one-to-one from German to English. Many languages including German use cases rather than word order to determine the function of a word.

December 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/KasiditEkt

thank you so much

December 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/YoungSpice94

In the reverse course are there tons of comments like this in which Native speakers are arguing about English word order and phrase meanings?

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/zaminm

Why not? Sind ihnen Schlecht. As I know for plural we should use 'sind' at all.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AliDadban

See JackBond above. The subject of the sentence is es

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/hechap

Are these versions of the concept, and possible translations, OK, then? Mir ist schlecht. Ihm ist schlecht. Ihr ist schlecht.
I am sick. He is not well. It is bad for her.

October 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaEveleigh

I translated as "Are they poorly?". Is poorly not a word that duo recognises? It means the same thing as sick to me?

December 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

"Poorly" is an adverb. It is not grammatically valid in that sentence.

December 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaEveleigh

Poorly is also a synonym for sick or unwell, at least where I'm from in England.

December 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

I see. It looks like that phrase is listed as informal. It's probably too colloquial and/or uncommon to be recognized in this system.

December 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaEveleigh

That makes sense, thanks for confirming.

December 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Marina656224

"Are they poorly?" is what we say where I live, too. I don't think "poorly" is informal, it's just what people say around here instead of "sick" or "ill".

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

I've lived in many parts of the US and have never heard that sort of phrase used. Since it is improper English grammar, it can only be considered informal.

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Bikebreaker

Oddly enough, English is also used correctly in places that are not part of the US! Just thought you should know.

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

I'm well aware, but it's also been well established that Duolingo's English translations only respect American grammar rules and idioms by design.

December 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Marina656224

Sorry, I should have said that I live in England. It's a common English phrase.

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Pape_

Thank you!

January 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MihiretuKe

Ich dachte die richtige Frage solte "Sind Sie krank?".

January 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/krys1301

So then, how do you say in German, "Are they bad?"

November 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AliDadban

Sind sie schlecht?

November 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SchonBaume

Sind sie schlecht? Does it imply the same meaning??

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AliDadban

No. Sie would be the subject. I'd say that means Are they bad.

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Kingeorg

I'm getting fed up with the "informality" taught at Duolingo. Germans are formal when addressing strangers, and therefore that is the standard that should be taught. I don't want to learn Idioms BEFORE learning the CORRECT way of talking. Casual talk is a SUB category of any given language, not its rule. Sind sie krank?

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

I mean, you also have to keep in mind that you're learning the language online, where all interactions use informal language. You have to learn informality eventually.

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/kunanyi

The use of schlecht here instead of traurig is similar to the English: "Are they poorly?

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/krys1301

Duo does not accept, "Are they bad?"

May 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ghaith415370

Can someone please tell me what is the role of (ihnen) here?

May 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LiliaCdR

Please can some one tell me why "ihnen" uses "ist" singular insted of plural

May 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/vickikn

don't say "are they doing badly?" that was marked wrong.

September 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Clifford896649

Ich glaube das schlecht bedeuten "bad", und "sick" war krank? Nicht war?

October 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Marina656224

"Are they poorly?" should be accepted.

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackBond

No it should not. That is invalid English grammar, and conveys a different meaning to the one Germans would understand from the German sentence.

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

on the previous sentence "he's doing bad" was accepted for "es geht ihm schlecht" yet here "are they doing bad" doesn't work?

January 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AliDadban

That's when user feedback kicks in. You should report it.

January 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/HamidReza830900

I think "sind ihnen schlecht?" Is correct. Is not?

January 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/anetka.skarpetka

Why isn't "Are they doing badly" accepted? What's incorrect about this translation?

March 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JoaoPedroRL90

Duolingo is pretty annoying sometimes! I put "Are they bad" and It wasn't accept! Schlecht is in the right way of be sick or over not being good.

April 23, 2019
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