Being new to German, I am not properly affiliated with the correct grammatical use of gibt es and es gibt. All I know is that they both mean there is in English.
So in what scenarios do I use each one of these phrases correctly?

  • 17
    Minor heads-up: Many non-native speakers (I've heard it from US-Americans and Frenchmen) use "es gibt" on way more occasions than a German would, e. g. "Es gibt eine Party am Samstag." since it is a direct translation from the, in this case English, "There is a party on saturday". It's not really wrong, but a German would never say it that way. The more common form would be "Am Samstag ist eine Party". Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 8:33

4 Answers 4


The German verb has to come second. The first position can be filled with whatever. Thus the phrase "gibt es" can totally be part of statements

Es gibt in Berlin gute Bäcker.

In Berlin gibt es gute Bäcker.

As the other answer already mentions, "Gibt es" is the order you'll find in questions.

Gibt es in Berlin gute Bäcker?

AND it can be also a colloquial response to that very question:

Ja, gibt es. (Yes, there are)

Lastly, it "gibt es" can occur in sentences that use a verb-first structure to express "if".

Gibt es gutes Brot, esse ich gerne Frühstück.

If there is good bread, I enjoy eating breakfast.

  • And then there is also 3rd person singular of "geben", for instance: Er gibt es [das Auto] zurück. [He returns it (the car)] Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 19:54

The way you phrased the question kind of misses the point, since "es gibt" and "gibt es" are the same expression. The difference does not have to do with meaning or usage of this particular expression, but rather with the general rules on word order in German sentences that apply to other expressions and sentences as well. While the standard word order is that subject ("es") precedes verb ("gibt"), there are some triggers (quite a few actually - sadly, you'll have to memorize them) that require an inversion of this order (Emanuel has already mentioned some of these), e.g.:

  • questions ("Gibt es XYZ?")
  • adverbial constructions at the beginning of a phrase that indicate location or time ("In Berlin gibt es viele Menschen."; "Heute morgen bin ich in die Stadt gegangen.")

  • adverbial constructions at the beginning of a phrase that indicate oppositeness ("Dennoch bin ich in die Stadt gegangen." = "Despite this, I went to town.") but not always! cf. "Obwohl ich es wusste, ...")

  • short (elliptic) answers like Emanuel mentioned ("Ja, gibt es."). In this context, the inversion is often used for emphasis ("Willst Du wirklich dorthin gehen?" "Ja, will ich!" = "Do you really want to go there?" "Yes, indeed!")

  • conditional sentences like Emanuel mentioned ("Ist das Wetter gut, gehe ich in die Stadt." = "If the weather is good, I'll go to town.")

And many many more - I'm not a linguist and can't give you a comprehensive overview, but I guess it would make sense for you to not just memorize some expressions, but the general rules behind it.

Viel Spaß beim Lernen! :)

  • Loved your answer. In fact, I think it deserves the green check mark!
    – Lisa
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 20:22

The difference to gibt es and es gibt is very difficult.

  • Es gibt ex.: Es gibt eine Konditorei in meiner Stadt.
  • Gibt es: Gibt es hier eine Metzgerei?

Es is the subject and gibt is the verb.

  • 1
    Hi Sophie: Please don't use greetings. Be careful with upper/lowercase. Write whole sentences with sentence marks and start them with uppercase. Use the layout options, From your example, what is the critical difference: Meine Stadt vs. hier? Metzgerei vs. Konditiorei? The question mark/character? "In meiner Stadt gibt es eine Konditorei." "Hier gibt es eine Metzgerei!" Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 18:45
  • Welcome. I don't see how this adds anything to the accepted answer.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:43

"Es gibt X" = "It gives X."

"Gibt es X?" = "Does it give X?"

Keep in mind that "it gives" in German is often more accurately translated into English as "there is." Like, "Es gibt Kuchen" = "There is cake." (Or "Gibt es Kuchen?" = "Is there cake?")

  • Keep in mind also that questions in German are phrased more like in very old English, with the verb at the beginning of the sentence. Whereas today you'd ask, in English, "Do you have any wool?" you could, if you wanted to say it old fashioned, say "Have you any wool?" German questions are more like that. So "Gibt es..." is how you'd start a question.
    – Sean
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:20
  • 3
    I don't think such direct translations are helpful.
    – Robert
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 21:32
  • I wouldn't be so critical. Sometimes yes, direct translation can give some grasp what's going on there. At the end, direct "Es gibt X" = "It gives X." while the common usage is different, is meaningful too. In fact, I found this topic exactly because of this reason.
    – Niksr
    Commented Feb 10 at 18:30

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