German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to figure out what is the difference between "ist" and "es"? for example in the phrase "Mein Auto ist blau" vs. "Mir geht es gut", can you say "Mir geht ist gut"?

share|improve this question
@user: Can you please have a look at the edit history? splattne had already performed that edit an then reverted it again, probably after realizing that Hackworth addresses these points in his answer. Personally, I think it would be better to make a rollback. – Hendrik Vogt Sep 2 '11 at 10:15
"Mein Auto" vs. "Meine auto" was not issue of the question. Questions should be corrected without changing their meaning, and imho it is the right thing to do here. Providing information for ams is nice, but if the question is useful for others, and not too localized, these other aspects are off topic. – user unknown Sep 2 '11 at 11:10
up vote 17 down vote accepted

"Ist" is 3rd person present tense of the verb "sein", English translation "to be".

"Es" is the 3rd person singular personal pronoun, English translation "it".

There is no situation where you could use "ist" instead of "es". Therefore, "Mir geht ist gut" is not correct, maybe you misheard.

"Meine auto ist Blau." Several issues with that sentence:

  • "Meine" refers to "Auto", and "Auto" has neutral gender and is singular -> "Mein Auto"
  • "auto" is a noun so it must be capitalized -> "Auto"
  • "Blau" is an adjective (used as a predicate) and not the first word in the sentence, so it must be lower-case -> "blau"

So, Mein Auto ist blau (my car is blue).

share|improve this answer

ist: English is (conjugated verb "sein" – "to be")

es: English it (pronoun, 3rd person singular neutrum)

You can't use one for the other because they're completely different word types.

share|improve this answer

In the first sentence, "Mein Auto ist blau," ist is the form of the verb "to be" that corresponds to "is," which links Mein Auto (the nominative)l, and blau, the predicate adjective. "My auto IS blue."

In the second sentence, "Mir geht es gut", GEHT is the verb, and "gut" is the predicate adjective. "Mir" is the indirect object, and es (it) is the nominative. A literal translation of the sentence would be, "To me goes IT well." or "IT'S going well with me."

If you've studied Latin or Spanish, it's easy to confuse the two, because in those languages, "es" is a form of the verb "to be," just as "ist" is in German.

But in German, the two are different word forms and therefore never interchangeable.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.