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When can one use the construction 'es sind'? 'Es' is third person singular and 'sind' is a plural verb conjugation so they look odd together.

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    You want to look up Es in the dictionary - It's one of the few words in German that look the same in both singular and plural and in all cases. So your claim "it's singular" is wrong. – tofro Jul 28 '17 at 14:06
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    Actually, when used as a pronoun, there is a plural: "sie". Wo ist das Kind? Es ist in der Schule. / Wo sind die Kinder? Sie sind in der Schule. However, es is often not a pronoun but a mere placeholder, and in this case there is no distinct plural. – RHa Jul 28 '17 at 16:12
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    "Es ist" and "Es sind" in this context are respectively equivalent to English "There is" and "There are" . – NetwOrchestration Jul 29 '17 at 9:28
  • @NetwOrchestration: Also, notice the usage "Es sind 25 Grad", which translates into "It's 25 degrees centigrade". – M.S. Dousti Oct 16 '19 at 16:05
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The pronoun "es" is not only used as a personal pronoun (like er, sie, es, …). It has several more functions in German. In these functions "es" is sometimes called a placeholder, or impersonal "es" or empty "es" (unpersönliches "es", leeres "es"), or a "dummy pronoun". A linguistic term is »expletives "es"« / English: syntactic expletive. What it means is that it fills an otherwise empty spot of a subject or object in a sentence construction. It is in this function that "es" stands independent of gender and number.

Typical example of "es" filling the place of a subject:

Es sind sechs Eier in der Packung. / Sechs Eier sind in der Packung.
Es ist ein Ei in der Packung. / Ein Ei ist in der Packung.

The question is now, why would anyone use such a sentence construction in the first place?

To an English speaker the difference should become clear in the translation:

There are six eggs in the package. / Six eggs are in the package.
There is one egg in the package. / One egg is in the package.

More thorough info can be found here: Link

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Sometimes, es looks like a subject but is not. For example in

Es sind zwei Rosen entsprungen.

the subject is zwei Rosen, and es only fills the first position so that the verb is in second position. This can be reordered to

Zwei Rosen sind entsprungen.

Here, the es is not needed any more.

  • My example is a stupid joke, btw, usually roses do not jump. – Carsten S Dec 3 '19 at 9:32
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Es sind (!) hier unten einige Beispiele typischer Verwendung aufgeführt:

Es sind noch viele Packungen Bohnen im Tiefkühlschrank.

Es sind mir zu viele Scharlatane im gegenwärtigen US-amerikanischen Kabinett.

Es sind doch keine Kleinigkeiten, die Sie da falsch gemacht haben!

Es sind 40 Liter Regen pro Quadratmeter gefallen.

Es sind die kleinen Gesten, die die Freundschaft erhalten.

Es sind noch Nudeln da!

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