Is it accurate to say that ß (Eszett, like in "groß") is equivalent to 'double-s'? (That's what I usually search for when I need to copy-paste it to spell something and don't remember it as Eszett.)
If not, is there a difference in pronunciation (that is maybe very subtle for non-native speakers) or maybe rules about where in a word ß can be used (for example, I don't even know if it can be capitalized because I've never seen it at the beginning of a word)...?
I know that Eßen is an incorrect spelling, but I would love some help understanding why :] Thanks buds!
No, the two are not equivalent.
ß is only used after long vowels and diphthongs (and thus, never at the beginning of a word).
ss is only used after short vowels (and also not at the beginning of a word).
However, Switzerland and Liechtenstein don't use the letter ß, so they use ss after long vowels and dipthongs as well -- and so you can't tell whether in Massen means "in moderate quantities" (German/Austrian spelling: in Maßen, long vowel) or "in massive quantities" (in Massen, short vowel).
In practice, there are very few words where the non-use of ß can cause confusion, though.
The word Mahlzeit most commonly refers to a meal, not to a mealtime, despite the presence of Zeit in that word.
For example, people might talk about having sechs kleine Mahlzeiten am Tag "six small meals per day" rather than three bigger ones -- you can't have "small times" but you can have "small meals".
German doesn't have a word mahlzeit -- "meal" is a noun and so the German word is spelled Mahlzeit.
And essen is the verb "to eat", but Essen (capitalised) is a noun meaning "food".
Pay attention to the capitalisation -- it can often make a difference in German.
(Er hat Liebe genossen is not the same as Er hat liebe Genossen.)
I checked in the Colins English-German Dictionary.
What, exactly, did you check?
Was there an entry for Wir haben Essen that translated it as "We are having a meal"?
haben means to have, own, possess. Unlike English "having", it does not mean "eat, consume".
ein Essen is "a meal" -- this is a countable use of the word Essen.
This sentence, though, does not have ein Essen; it has Essen -- so the word is used uncountably. In this case, the meaning is "food".
Wir haben Essen. = "We have food."
It does not mean "We are having a meal" (= We are eating some food during a meal).
i thought 'essen' was the word for eating when using 'wir' but it is also the word for food so is the only way to tell weather someone is saying 'we have food' (wir haben Essen) and 'we are hungry' (wir haben essen) a capitalised E on 'Essen'?
I am most likely completely wrong and confused so forgive me
How about"We have meal"?
"meal" in the sense of "something to eat" is a countable noun in English, so "we have meal" (without an article) is not grammatically correct.
There is an uncountable word "meal" in English (something ground up, as in cornmeal), but that is not what German Essen means -- it's related to German Mehl (flour) instead.
So "We have meal" is not a correct translation of Wir haben Essen.