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  5. "Werkzeug ist auch praktisch."

"Werkzeug ist auch praktisch."

Translation:Tools are practical, too.

December 28, 2012

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Wouldn't the correct German translation use the plural of Werkzeug (i.e., "Werzeuge sind auch praktisch")?


Could you explain it better, please?


"Werkzeug" can be used a count noun or a non-count noun. As there's no article in this sentence, it can only be a non-count noun. It refers to tools in general, not a single tool. In English, "tool(s)" is a count noun only. That's why you need to use the plural.


Then wouldn't it make more sense to use sind


No, a non-count noun is like hair or rice or milk… even in English you say rice is delicious, not rice are delicious.


So, Werkzeug is singular in your link but plural according to the suggested "correct" translation


Zeug can be non countable or countable, just like "water" in English. Although the countable version (a water, the waters) is less common or more literary in its usage


if Werkzeug is plural, shouldn't this read Werkzeug sind auch praktisch?


As explained in the other comments, "Werkzeug" is not plural here, the plural would be "Werkzeuge". Instead, "Wekzeug" is here used in another acceptation, as an uncountable mass noun indicating tools in general, while still being grammatically singular. You could visualise it in English as "toolery". There are similar words in English, for example "cutlery" ("the cutlery is in the top drawer") which indicates kitchenware and "stationery" ("all my stationery is old"), indicating writing and office material as a whole; both of these nouns indicate a plurality of things but are grammatically singular: they are mass nouns. "Werkzeug" here is used in the same way.


Your toolery=cutlery analogy is very helpful. Thanks!


This comment should be moved to the top for all English learners to read. Thanks for the answer.


This answer, specifically the part where you create the analogue "toolery", is much more insightful and useful than the other answers (which are, uh, actually partially incorrect anyway)


A word of thanks to all who contributed to this discussion.

To summarise, Werkzeug can be used in three ways:

a) Singular - Werkzeug b) Plural - Werkzeuge c) As a Collective Noun referring to more than one tool - Werkzeug.

Collective nouns in English would be: a) Hair - when referring to a head of hair b) Rice - as in bowl if rice ( singular - grain of rice) b) Fruit - when referring to a bowl of fruit - ( it is grammatically incorrect to refer to a bowl of fruits.)


Christian MOD, my German spouse told me that the way it is written in German, the whole sentence is singular and it should be "Tool is also practical"


Please read the other comments concerning mass nouns. How well does your spouse know English? Sure, “Werkzeug” is grammatically singular, but it can be used as a mass noun indicating a plurality of things, whereas the English “tool” cannot. It goes the other way, for example, with “information”: you can't have “many informations” but you can have “viele Informationen”.


I understand this, but the question does remain. If the op is not THE correct answers, is it A correct answer?


Which OP are you referring to?

de5260 with Werkzeuge sind auch praktisch ?

That's a valid German sentence, though it wouldn't be accepted in a "type what you hear" exercise for this German sentence, nor in a "translate this German sentence to English" exercise for this sentence.


Shouldn't 'also' be accepted as a translation for 'auch'? --- 'Tools are also practical.' or 'Tools are practical, also.'?


"Tools are also practical" is already accepted.

"Tools are practical, also" does not seem natural to me in English.

(But "Tools are practical, too" and "Tools are practical, as well", which I would prefer, are both already accepted as well.)


IMO why bother at all. Just use these nouns without articles like some asian languages and it'll be clear in contexts :)


Baltic, Slavic and most Finno-Ugric languages also don't have articles. For me ''a, an, the'' seems quite useless in English, especially, if compared to German - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_(grammar)


"Werkzeug ist auch praktisch" = "Tool is also practical" / "Tools is practical as well"

"Tools are practical, too" = "Werkzeuge sind auch praktisch"


"Werkzeug ist auch praktisch" = "Tool is also practical" / "Tools is practical as well"


"Tool is also practical" is not correct English, nor is "Tools is practical as well".

They are not good translations of Werkzeug ist auch praktisch.

The best translation is "Tools are also practical" or "Tools are practical as well" -- translating the German collective noun Werkzeug into the English plural noun "tools". (Because English doesn't use a collective noun here such as "toolery", but instead a count noun.)

"Tools are practical, too" = "Werkzeuge sind auch praktisch"

That's a possible translation, yes -- Werkzeug in German can also be used as a count noun.

It's a bit like "food" in English. It's usually used as a mass noun / collective noun (if someone eats two apples and a banana, you might say that "that food is healthy"), but is occasionally used as a count noun which has a plural, speaking of "foods". But that's not that common.

Similarly in German: if there are several tools, you'd usually use Werkzeug as a collective noun: grammatically singular but applying to all the tools together.

Using plural Werkzeuge would focus on the individuality of the various tools, a bit like how "foods" focusses on the fact that there are several distinct ones: something you wouldn't normally mention unless you wanted to emphasise this aspect.

[deactivated user]

    I understand why you can translate to "Tools are also practical", but that doesn't explain why "A tool is also practical" is not correct. In German you don't always add "ein" before a noun, so in this sentence "Werkzeug" can mean both "a tool" and "tools". Remember, that there is no context for the sentence (usual problem for DL exercises), so the meaning is not obvious and both forms should be accepted.


    In German you don't always add "ein" before a noun,

    That's true...

    so in this sentence "Werkzeug" can mean both "a tool" and "tools".

    ...but that does not follow from the first part of a sentence.

    In general, ein is used before countable nouns and omitted before uncountable nouns, much as in English. (The main difference is when talking about someone's profession or role, as in Ich bin Arzt..)

    Thus "a tool" would be ein Werkzeug -- using the noun Werkzeug countably and accompanying it with the indefinite article ein.

    Using Werkzeug without an article would only allow the uncountable, collective interpretation here, which would be "tools" in English.

    (Another exception that comes to mind is headline language, where small words are often omitted -- e.g. "Tool found at scene of crime" instead of "A tool was found at the scene of the crime". But that's not the kind of language that Duolingo uses.)


    "Werkzeug" is singular as well as "ist". The plural version would be "Werkzeuge sind auch praktisch"


    in my dictionary werkzeug is singular and ist is singular ,


    Please read the other comments: it's been exhaustively explained why it's not that simple. If there is a specific reason why you're not convinced by the explanations, elaborate on your doubt and we will try to clear it up.


    Why is "Werkzeug ist..." telling me that is a plural?


    This has been explained ad nauseam in this very discussion. Please always read the previous comments.


    I'm sorry, but these explanations make no sense to me. Tool is/tools are. Cutlery is because in English there is no plural word for more than one item of cutlery; cutlery is, items of cutlery are. Similarly, stationery does not have a plural, but in English tool has a singular and a plural - tools, which are practical. Count-noun, I assume, is an American expression, possibly for what in U.K. is called a collective noun. Even using this translation, the explanation means nothing to me.


    Well, in contrast to the English word "tool", the German word "Werkzeug" can be used a countable noun or as an uncountable noun. It's just something you need to wrap your head around.

    Ein Werkzeug ist praktisch = A/One tool is practical (In this case, "Werkzeug" is used as a countable noun. The verb is "ist" because we're talking about one tool)

    Werkzeuge sind praktisch = Tools are practical (In this case, "Werkzeuge" is used as a countable noun. The verb is "sind" because we're talking about multiple tools)

    Werkzeug ist praktisch = Tools are practicial (In this case, "Werkzeug" is used as an uncountable noun, like "cutlery". The verb is "ist" because non-count nouns are grammatically singular even though they may refer to multiple items)



    "Count noun" is a linguistic term in use in all dialects of English, as it is an academic term. Often not taught at school level, though.

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