In my book it says:

Das Bild steckt im Papierkorb.

I was wondering if one could also say

Das Bild ist im Papierkorb.

as we do in English.

Does the same go for "stehen" and "liegen"? For example:

  1. Das Bild steht auf dem Tisch. -> Das Bild ist auf dem Tisch.
  2. Das Bild liegt im Regal. -> Das Bild ist im Regal.
  • 1
    Except that it's more natural that a picture "stands" in the shelve and "lies" on the table. But that's very fussy.
    – Em1
    Jul 29, 2017 at 18:31
  • 1
    The more specific words carry more meaning. "Das Bild steht im Regal" gives you a more specific mental picture than "Das Bild ist im Regal". Also, to me, "Das Bild steckt im Papierkorb" sound nicer, more literary, than a bland "Das Bild ist im Papierkorb". It conveys a little more meaning. If someone asked me "Wo ist das Bild?" I would use "ist". Otherwise, to tell a story, or describe a scene, I would use "steht", "liegt", etc. to make the story a little more interesting. Jul 29, 2017 at 21:36

3 Answers 3


As a German I would even prefer "ist" to "steckt" in this case.

So the answer is: Yes. You can use the verb "sein" in this case.

  • Well, as of the trash example, "sein" is really the preferable word. However, especially with the other two examples it ultimately comes down to what you want convey. Merely the location of something; or rather how it is positioned. Coming back to the trash example, if your point is that the picture got stuck, "(fest)stecken" is again the word you'd go with. That's basically what the other answer points out.
    – Em1
    Jul 29, 2017 at 18:36
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    @Em1: "if your point is that the picture got stuck" - I think the sentence is rather meant to be an answer to the (now old-fashioned sounding) question "Wo steckt das Bild?", where "stecken" basically means "sein" and has nothing to do with the picture being literally stuck anywhere. Also, I wonder why this answer does not even mention "stecken", even though it is asked about in the question as an alternative. Jul 29, 2017 at 20:54
  • @O.R.Mapper It doesn't mention, because I inadvertently changed it. Furthermore, it's clear that it's not meant to mean "got stuck" in OP's post, I was just hinting that this is a reason to use the word. But you still bring up a good point, I haven't thought of. The question "Wo steckt das Bild?" has yet another meaning of "stecken" as the one that's obvious when hearing the answer "Es steckt im Papierkorb.". Good point, you should incorporate this into an answer.
    – Em1
    Jul 29, 2017 at 21:41

"Ist" is perfectly fine and sounds more natural to me.

You would use a more specialized verb to indicate something particular.

Das Bild steckt im Papierkorb.

could mean that it's literally stuck in there.

Das Bild steht im Regal.

implies that it's actually in an upright position, probably visible to anyone passing the shelf, as opposed to laying flat on the shelf.


It depends on the situation.

If I were describing a scene, to make things a little less bland and boring, I would use the more specific words, i.e. "steht", "liegt", "steckt" etc. They convey a little more meaning, and using "ist" all the time doesn't tell a great story.

Example: There is a big difference in meaning between a framed picture of a man standing on someone's desk, or it lying there (possibly face down). "Ist" doesn't convey that difference.

Same with "steckt". To me it has a connotation of someone having thrown it in there (in anger, possibly). So in a literary context, the more specific verbs make a lot of sense.

On the other hand, if someone would ask me "Wo ist das Bild?" I would simply answer "Es ist im Parpierkorb".

I do not agree that "das Bild ist im Parpierkorb" sounds "more natural". As I said: it depends.

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