Word of the Day – “es”

es-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a meaning at one of the most basic words ever:

es

 

Es can mean fusion crust and unicorn and towel. And even girl. Isn’t that fascinating.
Now you’re all like “Well, duh… it’s because es means it. Boring. Talk about something useful instead. We’d have a few ideas like conditional or written past. ”
And you’re right. Es doesn’t sound like an interesting word to talk about. It means it and that’s it. Except it isn’t. There are some differences between German es and English it  and there’s specifically one use that trips up many learners because the es doesn’t seem to make sense.
So today we’ll take a detailed look at es. We’ll check out what it is used for, how it compares to English and how it is translated. It’ll be a little nerdy today but it’s worth it and at the end we’ll all be … esperts. Hahaha.
Meh… let’s find out of whether the explanation will be better than the jokes.

We can distinguish between four different use cases for es. They are not all completely different from each other but it’s helpful to treat them all separately. The first function is of course… the pronoun

Es – replacing stuff

The English it is a third person singular pronoun and it can replace anything that is not a human being. Chair, idea, dog, abstract concept… they all can be it.
German es is also third person singular, but German has a different system, commonly called crappy gender system. In German, it’s not about what a noun is but about what article it has. Es is the right choice whenever the noun has a  das in the dictionary. And for things that have a der or a die es is NOT the right choice.

  • Do you know the tree. Yes, I know it.
  • Kennst du den Baum? Ja, ich kenne es.... WRONG… like… really!

I’m sure it must be hard to believe for native speakers of English but the second example sounds super hyper turbo wrong. Baum is masculine. It is der Baum and not das Baum and so es cannot in any way refer to Baum. Es can only refer to grammatical neuters.

Grammatical gender is really calling the shots most of the time. The line only blurs a bit if we’re talking about an actual person.

Grammatically correct would be es but people do use sie too and both are allowed. With es it sounds a bit more technical, with sie it’s more personal. And the more distance there is between the word Mädchen and the pronoun, they more natural sie will feel.
So, es and it have the same function (replacing nouns) but they use different systems and not every it will be an es in German. When there’s a noun involved… mind the gender.
The only time when you don’t have to think twice is when you use es to replace … facts.

  • “Thomas will be a bit late for the meeting.”
    “I knew it.

Here,  it doesn’t stand for a specific noun but rather for a fact. The fact that Thomas will be late. For such facts, English uses it which makes perfect sense because it’s not a person. The Romance languages like French for example have only two genders, feminine and masculine, and so they had to pick one to use in these situations. Of course they went for masculine. Apparently they’re incredibly sexists and think men rule the wo… oh wait, maybe it’s just language. I don’t know. In either case, German went for the neuter es and so it works exactly like English.

And with this example we’re already at our next use for es.

Replacing sentenc-es

In the example with Thomas not taking his job seriously enough the es was basically replacing a sentence (because facts are expressed by sentences). But it doesn’t always have to be a full statement. What matters is that es can replace things that are expressed with a verb.

Es stands for im Regen joggen zu gehen. This is the subject in the main sentence.

  • What is fun?”
    To go running in the rain.”

And we could technically put this subject into the first position.

  • To go running in the rain is fun.
  • Sleeping                                   is fun.

The structure of these two sentences is exactly the same. But the running-part is rather long and especially in English we’re used to putting such side clauses after the main sentence. So we move it.

  •  _____ is fun, to go running in the rain.

Now we have an empty spot in our main sentence. And grammar is going bananas. “Ahhhhhhhh… empty spot in the beginning! Fill it. FILL IT!!!!”
But we’re used to grammar’s OCD so we’re just like “All right all right, we’ll insert a pronoun. Chill out dude.” And as we’ve learned the pronoun to replace sentences or verbs is… es, or it. In English, this it is often called a dummy pronoun or dummy subject. These constructions are very common

And they’re not limited to subjects. It also works for direct objects.

The logic is exactly the same. We don’t want (or even can’t) integrate the whole part about the dishes into our main sentence, so we put it after and use the pronoun es instead.
What’s interesting is that the use of such a dummy-es is not always needed. It’s different for every verb. And not only that.

In the first example, at least for German, the es sounds fine, in the second not so much. So it ALSO depends on the context it is used in. And as if that wasn’t enough, in German it even depends on where the dummy is to be placed. An object dummy can never be placed in the beginning.

  • Es verstehe ich, dass du nicht…. Wrong

A subject-dummy on the other hand works best in first position and may well sound out of place elsewhere

  • It would be better for me, if I…
  1. Es wäre besser für mich, wenn ich….

  2. Für mich wäre (es) besser, wenn ich…

  3. Besser wäre (((es))) für mich, wenn ich…


    (
    We can’t really recreate that in English because we can’t move around
    the boxes as freely but I hope you get an impression anyway.)

In the first version 1 the es is a must have. Without it the sentence would sound like a question. In version 2 it is a nice-to-have. It sounds a bit better when it’s there but that might just be my personal preference. People use it either way. In version 3 finally it’s a should-probably-better-not-have. It’s not wrong, it just feels much more natural without it.
So the bottom line of all that… the use of a dummy es has a lot to with what’s idiomatic and it differs from German to English. That sucks but the good news is that all you need is a lot of Sprachgefühl. Well, okay I guess that isn’t really good news.
In either case, it’s not a big deal if you miss one or put on in too many. The only phrasing where es really MUST be used is this initial dummy subject we had in the beginning. And that’s exactly the same in English.

Now, this sentence brings us directly into our next section… because not every es in the beginning is a dummy subject.

es – tasty vanilla filler

When you’re learning German you’ll sooner or later come across a sentence like this:

Such a sentence confuses many people. What’s with that es in the beginning. Is it the subject? Is it a translation for there will be?
When you try to look that up online or ask your teacher, chances are that it’ll be called a dummy subject or delayed subject or something. But that’s not really what’s going on. They’re similar but this es should be considered…. pure filler. Let’s take the example and see how we ended up with that. We know that German can move boxes around quite freely.

  • [Nach Berlin]   fährt    [ein Zug]  [um 10].
  • [Um 10]              fährt     [ein Zug] [nach Berlin].
  • [Ein Zug ]            fährt     [um 10]   [nach Berlin].

All these are fine. However, sometimes the speaker feels like ALL the boxes should come after the verb for, you know, reasons. If we do that we’ll get this.

  • ____ fährt [ein Zug] [um 10] [nach Berlin].

And we all know what that means. Grammar-tantrum. And for good reason because if position 1 is empty, the sentence sounds like a question. So we have to fill it and we fill it with the emptiest pronoun possible. Es.
Now you might be asking “Wait a minute… that is exactly the same explanation we had earlier. So why isn’t it a dummy-es?”
That is a good question. The thing is that the dummy-es stands for something. This one, the filler-es, stands for nothing.
“But doesn’t it just stand for train?”
Well, that would make sense but there are good arguments that the es is NOT standing for the subject.

  • Three kids have seen the horse.
  • [Drei Kinder] haben [das Pferd] gesehen.
  • [Das Pferd]     haben  [drei Kinder] gesehen.

These are the normal versions. WE have two boxes here, the subject (three kids) and the direct object (the horse). Now, because, you know, reasons, we want to have both boxes after the verb. So we have to insert es so as to not have the first spot empty.

Es could be standing in  for the horse. I mean why not, right? But the sentence wouldn’t change if we the kids see die Kuh (the cow). And then the es cannot stand for it anymore because Kuh is die. So, it’s not a dummy object. If es were the subject the verb should be hat, because es is singular. But the verb is haben, because kids is plural.  That is a strong hint that es is NOT the subject.
But a hint alone is not enough. Here’s another example.

This is one of those weird subject-less passive constructions German can do. All we have is a location (at the meeting), a time (yesterday) and an activity (to talk) but no subject. Still, we can take this sentence and move all the boxes behind the verb.

Now we have an es. But we’ve established that the sentence has no subject and it doesn’t need one. In fact it can’t have one, because reden in active voice can’t really take an object. So cannot be es the subject here.  It is really just a filler. Pure structure. Grammar wants position 1 to be filled and so we take the pronoun that carries the least information possible. Es.
These structures with such a filler-es are certainly special but they’re not rare. You can definitely hear them in daily conversations.
There’s one very important caveat to be made though, if you want to build these yourself. This whole “let’s move every box after the verb” only really works fine for impersonal third person statements.

  • Es hat jemand Suppe gekocht.
  • Es hat mein Bruder Suppe gekocht…. meh
  • Es habe ich Suppe gekocht…. WRONG

The first one is fine, the second one is pushing it, the third one broke it. The structure simply doesn’t work when the subject is ich or du. I don’t really know why.
Anyways, English does not have such a filler-es, at least not that I can think of, so some of you are certainly wondering how this filler-es is translated. There is an there are are good translations but often you’ll just have to move the subject first … depends on what’s idiomatic in English.

Cool
So that was the filler-es and the big question that remains is

WHY? (imagine an echoe)

Why would German do that? Why would it move everything after the verb and then introduce a filler-es that means nothing and stands for nothing? And the answer is… no idea. German does it because it’s possible, I guess. And it’s not limited to a certain register of language. You can find examples in technical writing, in political talk, in the super market but also in novels and poetic lyrics.It’s even in a song title of a famous German Schlager.

And I think we’ve actually deserved some corny Schlager because… we’re done. This was our detailed look at th
“NOT SO FAST!!”
What? Who… who said that??
“It was I, it”
Uhm … what?!
“It, you idiot. I’m it. It the ubiquitous. And you forgot about me. “
Oh…  oh my goodness you’re right. I’m so sorry.
“No biggie.”
Damn… I guess Schlager will have to wait a little longer. I really thought we were done.
“Well, sorry man, for raining on your parade like that.”
Nah… it’s okay. It’s just what you do.

The es around us

German and English both have this weird es that we use mainly in context of weather.

These were all more or less about climate but it’s not limited to weather.

And in German it is also part of another a few very common structures

The German versions have a quite different structure than the English ones.  The es is the subject in both cases. In the first one es “walks” around the topic of the movie and in the second one es, whatever it is, “gives” us this cool store. Thank you, es, by the way! I really appreciate it.
“You’re welcome.”
Now, in all these examples this es has a clear role (subject) but it doesn’t stand for anything… or at least it is totally subjective what it stands for. Like

“It’s raining.”
“What is raining?”
“What do you mean… it, I guess.”

The word is pure function and because it doesn’t stand for anything, not all languages have it. In Italian for example you’d just say

  • Rains.

This makes perfect sense and it just sounds incomplete because of the grammar we’re used to in German and English.
Is this es really so different from the others? Well, they’re all close to each other. Like the pronoun and the dummy-es this weather-es has a grammatical function (in this case: subject), like the filler-es it doesn’t stand for ANYTHING. But unlike the dummy and the filler, it doesn’t disappear just because you change around stuff.

  • It‘s nice outside today.
  • Today it‘s nice outside.

But hey … I actually just got a call from the “who-cares”-police. And they’re right. You don’t need to be able to tell the different “es”s apart and analyze what they are grammatically.  I just thought it would be good to give you an overview over the different things es can do and about the filler-es in particular because that is confusing for many people. A quick recap. Es can be:

  • a pronoun for anything with a das, not to be used for die or der, no matter you’re talking about
  • a pronoun for facts
  • a dummy pronoun for sentences, usage highly depends on context
  • a function-less and meaningless filler in the beginning of a sentence simply because the speaker chose to cram all the information after the verb.
  • the weird es that makes our weather and “gives” us cool convenience stores

And now you can forget everything :).
Everything deleted? Good.Perfect time for a

Es- surprise quiz: Are you nerd enough?!

Which es are you dealing with? Will it stay in the sentence when the order is changed? (normal pronoun, sentence pronoun (dummy subject/object), filler, rain-“es”)

  1. Es ist warm in Berlin.

    rain-es, In Berlin ist es warm.

  2. Es kommt ein Star nach Berlin.
    filler, Nach Berlin kommt ein Star.

  3. Es geht darum, dass du nie abwäschst.
    rain-es. Darum, dass du nie abwäschst geht es.

  4. Es ist schade, dass du nie abwäschst.
    sentence pronoun/dummy subject, Schade ist ((((es)))), dass du nie abwäschst.

  5. Es gibt hier ein leckeres Bier.
    rain-es, Hier gibt es ein leckeres Bier.

  6. Es heißt Störtebecker und ich trinke es echt gerne.
    regular pronoun; Störtebecker heißt es und ich trinke es echt gerne.

  7. Es hat jemand angerufen.
    filler; Jemand hat angerufen.

  8. Es hat viele Leute gestört, dass der Film so leise war.
    dummy subject; Dass der Film so leise war, hat viele Leute gestört.

As always the solutions are in blinding yellow. Just mark them to read them. And don’t worry if you didn’t get everything correct. It’s really not that important.
If you have any questions about today’s post or if you have come across and es that you can’t really make sense of, just leave me a comment.
And now turn up the volume and enjoy some German Schlager*… from the 70s. I think Scarlett Johansson’s older sister is in the background…. gee,she has no sense of rhythm whatsoever.

(*Warning: video might lead to fremdschämen. Watch at your own peril)

 

 

Till next time :)

 

for members :)

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Chris
Chris

Why does “es gibt” mean “there is”?
Can I also say “es gab” to mean “there was”?

DanM
DanM

What is going on with “es” in this sentence? I’m baffled. “Vom Haltestelle sind es 100 meter zum Hotel.” “sind” and “es” do not agree in number. The 100 meter is of course plural and would fit with “sind”. But english would be “It is 100 meters from the busstop to the hotel”, where It is the subject and is is the verb. So it seems as though it should be “ist es” in the German sentence…but it is not.

Alan Hochberg
Alan Hochberg

This is very helpful and explains (sort of) why I occasionally see a correct German sentence beginning with “Es sind…”, while “it are…” would be incorrect in English. “Es sind” and “es gibt” seem similar, but “es gibt” is far more common and I’m not sure I could explain the difference to someone. Any thoughts on this, anyone? Thanks.

alexviajero
alexviajero

In Spanish, both “there is” and “there are” are translated as “hay” (when using them like the German “es gibt”, i.e. when “there” doesn’t indicate a location of anything. Eg: “there is my book” would never be “hay mi libro”. So, “there is” and “there are” are idiomatic constructs the same way “es gibt” is in German and “hay” is in Spanish.

berlingrabers

“It wants to eat it” is definitely right for the fox and chicken in English, assuming you don’t know (or care to specify) the actual sex of the animals.

So for the filler-es, I’ve said something like this:
– Morgen Vormittag muss ich zu Hause bleiben, es kommt nämlich ein Techniker um das Internet einzurichten.
– Tomorrow morning I’ve got to stay at home – there’s a technician coming to hook up the internet.

To me the “there’s a technician coming” feels a lot better in English than the simpler “a technician is coming” in this case. To some extent, it’s just the rhythm, but there’s also a sense of taking the focus off the technician himself, or at least of broadening it out to put the whole situation explaining why I have to stay home in view. Does the “es kommt ein Techniker” feel similar? Would a native speaker choose that phrasing in that situation?

David P
David P

Having “it” refer to two different objects in the same sentence is ambiguous and not proper English. Especially on things like standardized tests the rules become stricter where “it” as a pronoun should refer to the most recent noun. In realty you could get away with only naming one animal and the “it” would be assumed to be the other animal.

Salome
Salome

Hallo!

Thanks for another great lesson, It’s hard to find such specific topics in grammar books so this is super helpful!

Some questions:
For femenine and masculine nouns, the right pronoun to use is sie and er richtig? Hence they don’t care about cases correct?

Der Stuhl ist kaputt. Er ist kaputt.
Would that example be correct?

It is just completely unnatural for me to be using personal pronouns to replace things!!

Danke

MacFeagle
MacFeagle

– It’s two weeks till Christmas (is that correct?)
‘Till’ always sounds like American usage, British usage would be – It’s two weeks until Christmas.

Thanks again for a very useful topic amd for providing such a unique service.

alexviajero
alexviajero

Great post on a word that is a bit more complex than it first appears. I chuckled at first glance; it reminded me of Bill Clinton’s famous quote during his Grand Jury testimony back in the late 1990s. He responded to a prosecutor’s question with the observation, “It depends on what the meaning of the words ‘is’ is.” Thanks for your terrific work shared with us throughout this year, and best wishes to you for a wonderful 2015!

alexviajero
alexviajero

Oops. I meant to write “…meaning of the word” not “words”…

Lourenço
Lourenço

I don’t know about the other romance languages, but in portuguese we have some leftovers of the latin neuter gender. Like these:

[eng.] – [masc.], [fem.], [neu.]
This – este, esta, isto
That (near) – esse, essa, isso
That (far) – aquele, aquela, aquilo
He / she / it – ele, ela, ilo*

* “ilo” is not used anymore and I doubt anyone would recognize it as a word, as we don’t actually have the neuter gender.

But the other ones are everywhere. And we use them mainly to replace facts and unidentified things, like:

Who did this? – Quem fez isto?
She told me that yesterday. – Ela me contou isso ontem.
Bring that to me! (must be far) – Traga aquilo para mim!

These pronouns are used a lot, but most people don’t realize they’re remnants of a former gender. We still call everything a “he” or a “she” and if the object is specified than the pronoun takes the masculine or the feminine form accordinly:

Who did this mess? – Quem fez esta sujeira?

This post made me think about these things, I just thought I’d share :)
If anyone knows if this is the case with the other romance languages, I’d really like to know.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo

In Italian we have the same with:
he / she / it = egli / ella / esso
But, thanks to the use of implicit subjects, all of those pronouns are rarely used and thus sound really technical/formal.

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader

Das Dummy-es-Prinzip is eigentlich sehr einfach: “leeres” “es” funktioniert bei etwas Unbestimmtem.

Es kommt um 10 Uhr ein Zug/ein Techniker – prima
Es kommt um 10 Uhr der Zug/der Techniker – falsch

Es haben drei Kinder ein Pferd gesehen – ja
Es haben diese drei Kinder ein Pferd gesehen – nein

Albert
Albert

I think there’s another important use of “es”, which is to replace some state or quality. Example:

“Ist die Tasche grün?” “Ja, sie ist es.”
“Ist die Übung schwierig?” “Nein, sie ist es nicht.”

No idea what the actual technical, grammatical term is for that, however.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Lourenzo, Spanish has neuter gender, and it is used all the time like in Portuguese, but also with adjectives used as nouns (lo bueno, the good), or clauses (lo que hay que hacer, what needs to be done), “lo” can be both an article or a pronoun, and is very common and basic. If you are interested about gender and words, an article in the New York Times showed some research where two groups of German and Spanish students were asked to make associations to words that meant the same, but had opposite genders in their respective languages, the point being how languages shape people’s minds even through purely arbitrary events, like the gender of the word. Germans associated qualities typically masculine like, strong, solid, powerful, to the word key, which is masculine in German, while Spaniards associated key with shiny, golden, small, even capricious…the opposite happened with bridge, which is masculine in Spanish, and they came up with sturdy, big, old..:) while for Germans (bridge is feminine) associated with lovely, artistic, clean…:) There were other words, but I can’t remember. I can’t remember either if the gender of the students themselves was a significant factor, but I don’t think so. Back to the Romance languages, at least in Spanish, there are such things as plural masculine, plural feminine and plural neuter, but are easy to come up with, while, as I understand, German has one only, but hard to figure out plural.

alexviajero
alexviajero

I’m not trying to belabor the discussion of the Spanish language word(s) for “it” within a post explaining the German use of “es” (it), but for all of those/us Hispanophones who get periodically frustrated with complicated German points of grammar, this is one where Spanish has German beat hands down in terms complexity, rules, exceptions to the rules, and so on. As pointed out in another comment, the idea of “it” is usually left implied in Spanish when “it” is the subject (nominative case). So, that’s rule number one to learn. The verb is just conjugated in the third person singular and the pronoun “it” is implied (which is also often the case for omission of the subject personal pronouns, I, he, she, we, etc., as well).

When “it” is the direct object, it is “lo” (masc), and “la” (fem). This is true in Spain and Latin America. However, when the direct object is a male person (and not an “it”) the “lo” changes to “le,” but only in Spain (it remains “lo” in all of Latin America). When “it,” is an indirect object, masculine or feminine, it is expressed as “le” in Spanish. However, when the direct object and the indirect object are both expressed as the pronoun “it”, then “le” becomes “se”, not to be confused with the “se” which is also the pronoun used to express reflexive verbs (in third person singular, and second person formal or plural (but only second person plural in Latin America, not in Spain where that reflexive pronoun is “os”.)

This is only a brief of the most common usages for “it”.

Examples:
Joe gave the dog a bone = Joe (le) dio un hueso (al perro.)
Joe gave it a bone = Joe le dio un heuso.
Joe gave it (the bone) to it (the dog) = Joe se lo dio.
He gave it to it. = Él se lo dio.
Joe gave the cow the milk = Joe (le) dio la carne.
He gave it (milk) to it (the cow) = Él se la dio.

So, in these example, “it” is represented by: le, lo, se, and la. And we didn’t even talk about “ello” which also means “it”… :-)

alexviajero
alexviajero

Note to self: Proof read. “La carne” should have been “la leche” in sentence 5. Guess I was hungry ;)

rami
rami

Hi my Freund
What do you think about this case:
“Sie kann noch nicht tief tauchen ….. Sie muss es noch üben”

APC
APC

Awesome post today. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen that dummy es at the beginning of a sentence and could not figure out what the heck it was doing there. Makes so much sense now. Thanks!!!

Andres C.
Andres C.

“Es” ist ein bisschen komisch, dass Deutsch und Spanisch, das gleiche Wort für die gleiche Dinge benutzen. =)
“Es” un poco cómico que el alemán y el español utilicen exactamente la misma palabra para la misma cosa. =)

It’s a little funny, that both German and Spanish use the exact same word for the same thing (although for different grammatical reasons).
I hope I wrote the sentence correctly in German.

APC
APC

In my experience, Spanish doesn’t really have a good translation for “it” is a subject. “Es” does not mean “it” in Spanish. “Es” is the third person singular form of the verb ser. It can mean “it is” “he is” or “she is”. I would say the closest thing Spanish has to “it” as a subject would be “ello” but that is rarely used. “It” as a direct object is “lo” or “la” in Spanish, and sometimes “ello” or “ella” if it comes after the verb. But usually if you want to say “It verbs” you would just say the third person singular of the verb–Llueve. Nieva. Me duele (it hurts).

Anonymous
Anonymous

LLueve. Nieva. are impersonal, no subject (or an impersonal subject), and no it, or “es”. That is almost a philosophical difference with German. Me duele (something, ie: la cabeza, my head) is different. It has a subject, but is omitted in context. It is also in so-called reflexive form… I recommend reading post by author on German reflexive verbs, it is almost the same in Spanish, meiner Meinung nach…

Anonymous
Anonymous

Well, in the context of phrases with subordinate clauses, “Es macht Spaß, im Regen joggen zu gehen”, the subordinate clause is replaced by the German neuter pronoun “es” and the Spanish third person conjugation of the verb ser: “es”.

Es divertido / Es macht Spaß
¿Que cosa? / Was?
Ir a trotar bajo la lluvia / Im Regen joggen zu gehen
Es divertido ir a trotar bajo la lluvia / Es macht Spaß, im Regen joggen zu gehen

So both are acting here as so-called “dummy subjects”.

English needs to have there both the pronoun (it) AND the verb (is). It may be one of those rare cases where it gets to be more complex than German and Spanish :)

APC
APC

I’m not sure what you are saying here. My point was that “es” does not mean “it” and in Spanish they hardly ever use their word for “it” as a subject, whether it be el (with accent), ella or ello. They just omit it as the subject. And “me duele” is not in reflexive form. “Me duele” means literally “It hurts me.” As I was saying, the “it” part is omitted in Spanish because it is the subject, and Spanish tends not to use “it” as a subject. To be reflexive, it would have to be “Me duelo” which doesn’t make sense unless you are talking about a masochistic act–“I’m hurting myself.”

So the point here is that Spanish is not like German or English where you need a word–either “it” or “es”–as the subject of a verb. Spanish for the most part does away with it. Once in a long while, you may hear “ella” or “ello” to mean “it” but that is extremely rare in my experience.

deleted
deleted

APC, “dolerse” is both intransitive and reflexive, just like “irse” or “reirse” , (which does not mean I laugh at myself)…They are in the reflexive FORM, (a mí me duele., not a mí duele, or la cabeza duele…) I think German has the same stuff. Reflexive in the sense they require the pronoun, not that the action of the verb falls down on the subject, like “peinarse” , to comb oneself, it makes sense to me…I agree that reflexive can mean several things…

Anonymous
Anonymous

“”Es” es lo que es”
But “es” is is…for us, and “es” is it (sometimes) for them, the same thing? :)

Andy
Andy

Die Musik hoert sich aber schoen an! Wer spielt das schoene Klavier?
Es spielt ein franzoesischer Mann das Klavier.

????

Anonymous
Anonymous

A little off topic, but is there a real difference in meaning between “ich würde gern….” and “ich möchte…” I keep on seeing them translated as “would like”. How Germans really approach liking in general seems different, I see a lot of variation (ich mag, gern or gerne with the verb, es hat mir gefallen, even ich liebe..etc..) The lines between liking, enjoying, loving, pleasing, being fond of, with or without would, feel however different than the German equivalents. Gerne, gern itself is pretty interesting. Maybe I’m wrong. A couple of examples would be great. Vielen dank.

Anonymous
Anonymous

“And we all know what that means. Grammar-tantrum.” -(blank) fährt…….

Is the tantrum because German requires the verb to be in second place? About.com on German syntax: “No matter which element begins a German declarative sentence (a statement), the verb is always the second element” It sounds as there is no possible compromise about that…..It can also explain other parts of your post.

Ed
Ed

I’ve seen the sentence, “Es sind einfache Mädchen,” and it translated to “They are simple girls.” Is this use of “es” common?

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Sehr hilfreich danke!

Aber ich verstehe noch nicht genau wie man “es sind” benutzen würde. Mein Gehirn vergleicht das immer mit Englisch, was überhaupt nicht hilfreich ist!
Könntest du bitte uns ein paar mehr Beispiele geben?

zB, würde man diese Phrasen so benutzen:

1) es sind zwischen Dezember und Januar die Wochen, in denen man eine kleine Pause von der Arbeit nehmen kann.

2) es sind nur die Beispiele die fehlen, bevor man die ganzen Sätze verstehen kann

3) es sind einfach die Sachen, was man braucht, zu gelingen.

(Entschuldigung wenn sie sehr falsch wäre – ich bin gar nicht sicher!)