"Die Frauen essen ein Fischsandwich."

Translation:The women eat a fish sandwich.

December 27, 2012

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

I don't really understand what the fuss is about. In English people can say "we are going to grab a coffee" and it is still clear they do not mean one coffee for the whole group. I think that essen ein X could mean the act of eating X. They might eat more than one sandwich per person or one of them might not be eating at all. Uncountable nouns do not have an article in cases like that; "Wir essen Reis" (we eat rice), but you can't say "Die Frauen essen Fischsandwich" because Sandwich is a countable noun.

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TiagoMoita_PT

My point, but you expressed it so much better :-)

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

My explanation is limited by my focus on whether it should be with or without article. I hadn't considered the difference between a sandwich and sandwiches until now. This oversight might be caused by the fact that people state that it's "extremely confusing" or that they "don't like it" without offering an alternative. It's very easy to be negative, but it's not helpful unless you come up with a good reason why it should be different.

If you have trouble with "The women eat a sandwich" try reading it like this: The women eat a(n occasional) sandwich. "The women eat sandwiches" can mean that they generally eat sandwiches in the way that the Japanese eat sushi and the Italians eat pasta. By saying "a sandwich" you can distinguish that it is an event that doesn't happen all the time. "Essen" can be translated as "to eat", "eat", "are eating", "do eat" and even "are going to eat" depending on the context. That might cause some confusion with people who are used to the way in which English treats its verbs. I hope that my example made the sentence more accessible to them.

Sorry for repeating your point Tiago_Moita. I actually came here because I saw your reaction on my stream; I wasn't following this thread but I'm always happy to share my knowledge :-)

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TiagoMoita_PT

Not at all, I wasn't being sarcastic, you really were more clear, and thorough btw. I have a fairly good command of English, but I'm not much of a teacher, as my knowledge is mostly empirical and I go by intuition. Stating the sentence in the plural left no room for doubt. Nice one.

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Ger--Man

look at comet 5 below tiagomoita-PT (2 comment too the top) at Ger--Man

March 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Moke93

I think it's just hard to get used to idioms in other languages.

January 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dTos

Yeah, I think this sums it up best. I'm really surprised by how many comments this thread has had. There are sentences in languages that are FAR more idiomatic than this. I don't really think this is that idiomatic. "Hey you have time for lunch? Let's grab a sandwich". I've said this before and it's the exact same thing: It's implied that we're not grabbing a single sandwich. "The women eat a fish sandwich", sure it sounds a little weird in English, and probably could be stated better like "Die Frauen essen fischsandwiche(sp?)" to indicate "sandwichES". Or in my joking post below it actually could be taken literally, if they are sharing one. But I think the more correct, idiomatic part of it is that this doesn't make sense in English directly, and makes perfect sense in German to mean "The women EACH eat a fish sandwich".

And it's 12:28, and all this talk of sandwiches is making me hungry, so... I think I'm gonna go make a SINGLE sandwich, unless one of you wants me to make one for you as well (or WE can share mine) ;)

January 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Ger--Man

It means "A group of women had 'ONE' sandwich EACH"

March 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TheTimeDog

That must be one hell of a fish sandwich

December 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/dTos

It might just be 2 women who weren't very hungry where one said to the other "Hey, you wanna split a fish sandwich? I don't think I can eat a whole one." to which the other responded "Ok, sounds perfect."... eins Fischsandwich, zwei Frauen... Die Frauen essen ein Fischsandwich. :P

December 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Glutexo

Two girls, one fish sandwich.

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/cavakun
January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TiagoMoita_PT

Lol!

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/fmorstatter

Does this mean they all share one?

December 27, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Jam-all

Not necessarily,I think this can be understood in a meaning of "some fish sandwich", therefore "ein" is used.I hope I am not wrong.:-D

December 28, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/dieta
  • for example in a restaurant a group ( women and men ) is ordering something ... you can say:
  • "Die Frauen essen eine Suppe und die Männer trinken ein Bier"
  • in this case the waiter knows for sure "each woman wants to eat her own soup" and "each man wants to drink his own beer"
  • more clearly:
  • "Die Frauen essen zunächst eine Suppe und die Männer trinken erst ein Bier"

but of course "Die Frauen essen eine Weihnachtsgans" can also mean they all share one "The women eat a Christmas goose"

  • the sentence "Die Frauen essen ein Fischsandwich" without further context could to be misunderstood ; but not really in a normal conversion between two German speaking people

see what >"Lenkvist"< and >"Tiago_Moita"< has written

December 29, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/TiagoMoita_PT

My opinion is also: not necessarily. If they all eat their own fish sandwich, you would say it like the translation. You wouldn't bother saying "The women eat their own fish sandwich". If you said that, you would probably trying to make a point, like "They're not sharing ( / they're not allowed to share). Each one eats her own." I suppose it's the same in German then.

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertLunkez

Didn't it use ''einen Fischsandwich" because Sandwich is neuter?...but Fisch is masculine.

March 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/drewwilliam

I don't know if I'm right but my best guess would be that it must be a neuter article because the base noun is neuter. The Fisch being masculine doesn't affect the article because it functions more like, well not an adjective I don't think, but more like an "add-on" to give detail. I would assume that articles would agree with the base noun rather than change based on compound words of several nouns.

March 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Glutexo

German compound nouns always take the gender of its last part: Das Sandwich is neuter, thus every noun derived from it (e. g. das Fischsandwich) is neuter too.

March 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lunkez

Thank you, I didn't know about that...so the gender which matters is the last noun from the same word :D

March 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/HappyTrees89

In addition to what Glutexo said, the word "Sandwich" is both neuter and masculine. Thus, one can say "Die Frauen essen ein Fischsandwich" or "Die Frauen essen einen Fischsandwich" and be correct in both instances.

March 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/liminal

I only hear "Die Frau essen ein Fsichsandwich" should 'Frauen' be distinguishable?

January 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist

I hear the n, but the last syllable receives very little stress. It sounds a bit like Frau'n (including a w sound after au).

January 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/beckalina

you can tell it's plural anyhow because the verb is in the plural

January 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/babalabda

maybe this sentence is just for practiseing grammar, not for a real life?

February 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/drewwilliam

I think the biggest issue people have with this sentence is that there are two possible translations because of the way verbs work in German, and you're all only looking at one possibility rather than the other, more commonly used, one.

Yes, it can mean, 'The women eat a fish sandwich', which isn't technically incorrect but is uncommon and thus sounds odd. However, the sentence can also be translated to, 'The women are eating a fish sandwich', which is a much more common construction in English.

For example, someone might say very casually, 'Oh, they're out having a sandwich' or drinking a coffee or something, and no one would question it, and we know that probably means they each have their own sandwich or coffee.

March 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PeterGomillion

I thought fish sandwich would be a masculine noun because of fish is, go figure!

March 13, 2013
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