"Sie essen Brot."

Translation:They eat bread.

December 27, 2012

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Here "Sie" could be either "they" or "you" formal. For formal "you" "Sie" is always capitalized, so when it starts the sentence it may be ambiguous.

October 30, 2013


If not regarding the verb, "sie" means "she", "they", and "you" (when capitalized), right?

August 2, 2014


Yes, that's correct.

August 24, 2014


But how can I tell when spoken? How do German people clarify these situations? Are there any stories that revolve around this (maybe mysteries?) where the word "sie" is misunderstood in a murder case or something

December 18, 2015


Sie in the sense of she can easily be recognized by the form of the verb. Sie in the sense of formal you and of 3rd person plural can be mixed up in spoken language. If there is a chance of mixing them up, you have to clarify, mostly by gesture and looks, because if you talk to someone you look at him/her, while if you talk about someone else you often look in the direction of whomever you're talking about. I'm sure there are mix ups, but I think they are surprisingly rare. One example: http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zwiebelfisch/zwiebelfisch-sie-oder-sie-du-musst-dich-entscheiden-a-316185.html (Look at the text under the picture)

July 13, 2017


So... is there no way to tell if it's "You" or "They?" If that sentence stands alone it's ambiguous?

January 3, 2013


I think you can tell by the verb conjugation:

For example: Sie esst: She eats - verb isst is singular she and Sie essen: They eat - verb essen is plural they

November 18, 2013


Isn't "She eats" -> "Sie isst"? since "Esst" is for "Ihr" and "Isst" is for "er/sie/es"

January 12, 2014



January 17, 2014


I think so, if it comes to action verbs, I can't distinguish between "sie" (they/plural) and "Sie" (formal form of "you"/singular). "You are drinking water" and "They are drinking water" can have the same translation in German : "Sie trinken Wasser".

But in simple verb, we can distinguish it by looking at the context. It's like how you distinguish between the single "you" and the plural "you" in English. For example : "Sie sind ein Mann". I can say the subject of this sentence is singular, because it means "a man". So "Sie" in there means "You" (formal form); You are a man. While in "Sie sind Männer", the subject is plural, because "Männer" is the plural form of Mann. So "Sie" in there means "they"; They are men. Hope it helps. :)

December 4, 2013


I thought it was she, but when the word is essen, it means multiple so it would be they

December 4, 2013


I think what he means is that it could be "You (formal) are eating bread", because, you formal also ends in 'en'.

January 29, 2014


I think you are right.

January 3, 2013


Well, if it's plural, then sie means they in that sentence

January 10, 2014


Sie means She, i didn't understand the whole thing.

December 15, 2013


I think maybe the verb form "essen" defines the meaning of the pronoun "Sie"? Because, IIRC, verbs ending with the suffix "-en" are used with pronouns like "We" and "They", and "You" (formal)

January 10, 2013


So if the question asks me to fill in "esse" or "essen" in to the blank, the answer is "essen" regardless? If Sie is the formal "you" then would "esse" also be correct here? Is this question posed in a different form for some of you?

December 24, 2013


No, the verb is changed according to the subject. :)

ich esse = I eat.

du isst = You (informal, singular) eat.

er/sie/es isst = He/she/it eats.

ihr esst = You (informal, plural) eat.

wir/sie essen = We/they eat.

Sie essen = You (formal, singular/plural) eat.

December 25, 2013


Thank you!

December 26, 2013


Why is there no article for bread? There normally is for all the other nouns I've come across...

April 24, 2015


Because in the sentence "Sie essen Brot" the noun "Brot" is not preceded with an article such as "ein". So if the sentence was like this "Sie essen ein/das Brot" it would be translated to "They eat a/the bread".

Hope this answer your question. have fun learning :)

August 18, 2015


what wrong with "Sie esst Brot" , cant i fill esst in " Sie ____ Brot" sentence?

August 18, 2015


No you can't because we say "Sie isst Brot" means "She eats bread", and "Sie essen Brot" means "They eat bread".

conjugation of the verb eat/essen

Ich esse | Du isst | Er/sie/es isst | Wir essen | Ihr esst | Sie essen |

Hope it help, have fun learning :)

August 18, 2015
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