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I know it is: Wir lieben Autos.

Why it is not: Wir lieben die Autos.

Second question:
If I know only the word liebe, how do I know that I must use the word lieben?
Is there some website that provides all the variations of the word liebe?

  • I made a mistake. I thought it was the article das that is used for plural, it is not. It is the article die. The question changes. Why it is not: Wir lieben die autos. – Auto Dec 28 '14 at 17:43
  • Welcome to German Language SE. Please ask only one question per, well, question. Also, I do not fully understand the circumstances of your second question. – Wrzlprmft Dec 28 '14 at 18:01
  • @Wrzlprmft I think the second question is about the conjugation of "lieben" in the first part of the question. As in, why is it "Wir lieben" and not "Wie liebe" (like the noun). But I might be wrong. – Kodama Dec 28 '14 at 18:07
  • Yes Kodama. Is there some website where I can find all these conjugations or how to learn them? – Auto Dec 28 '14 at 18:12
  • I don't know a specific place to learn them, but it's one of the basic things in learning the language. I'm sure you can find some guides when you google for german conjugation. I haven't watched it myself, but I just stumbled upon this video that seems informative. Maybe it helps: youtube.com/watch?v=BufD0Am_VBo – Kodama Dec 28 '14 at 18:22
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You use the article when you talk about specific cars and you leave out the article when you talk about cars in general. It's the same in English:

We love cars. --> Wir lieben Autos.
We love the cars. --> Wir lieben die Autos.
We love those cars. --> Wir lieben diese Autos.

Most commonly, you will want to say you are interested in cars in general, so you will use "Wir lieben Autos.", but if you for example see a specific car, you can say "Ich liebe das/dieses Auto".

Regarding your second question. "Liebe" (with a capital L) is the noun love. The verb is "lieben" without capital l (to love). In the case of "Wir lieben Autos", "lieben" is the conjugated form of the verb in first person plural.

Ich liebe --> I love
Du liebst --> You love
Er/sie/es liebt --> He/she/it loves
Wir lieben --> We love
Ihr liebt --> You love
Sie lieben --> They love

  • Thank you. Just one more thing, I checked the commercial and it says Wir leben. Is it lieben or leben? – Auto Dec 28 '14 at 18:09
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    @Auto What commercial? Leben and lieben are different words. "Wir leben" is "we live" and "Wie lieben" is "We love", but both are correct. – Kodama Dec 28 '14 at 18:11
  • @Auto Yeah I just noticed the old VW commercial. I guess that was just one of those witty marketing decision to say "We live cars" instead of "love". :D You wouldn't really say it. – Kodama Dec 28 '14 at 18:19
  • No no, it's Opel commercial;) Anyway may I ask also why you wrote "Wie lieben" in a comment above, should it be "Wir lieben" or what? – Auto Dec 28 '14 at 18:23
  • I just mistyped: I meant both Opel and "Wir" instead of "Wie", but I couldn't edit anymore :D The conjugation is as I wrote in the answer. – Kodama Dec 28 '14 at 18:27
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There are two kinds of articles in German:

Bestimmte Artikel: (definite articles)
Singular:
männlich: der, dessen, dem, den (Nominativ, Genitiv, Dativ, Akkusativ)
weiblich: die, deren, der, die
sächlich: das, dessen, dem, das

Plural:
alle Geschlechter: die, deren, den, die

Unbestimmte Artikel: (indefinite articles)
Singular:
männlich: ein, eines, einem, einen
weiblich: eine, einer, einer, eine
sächlich: ein, eines, einem, ein

Plural:
alle Geschlechter: (-), (-), (-), (-) (void expression in all cases)

In your example you use Akkusativ Plural. The definite article is »ein« and the indefinite article is a void expression (no word). It is exactly the same as in english.

So:

Wir lieben Autos.
Wir lieben (void article) Autos.

Is a sentence where Autos has an indefinite article. So this sentence means:

We love cars.
We love (void article) cars.

Meaning that you love any or some cars. Which cars exactly you love is not determined.

But:

Wir lieben die Autos.

Is a sentence where Autos has an definite article. So this sentence means:

We love the cars.

Meaning that you love a special set of cars. Which set this is must be determined by the context.

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With a single sentence such as "Wir lieben die Autos" everybody will be wondering which cars the speaker has in mind, as "die Autos" clearly means a special group of cars. In the sentence "Wir lieben Autos" this is a general statement referring to all cars or any car.

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