There are a number of questions related to "es gibt" vs "da ist". I think there are cases where only "ist", and not "da ist" can be used, and wonder what rules on how to differentiate to "es gibt" apply on these cases:

In diesem Glas ist wenig Wasser.

I'm not sure if "In diesem Glas" could be replaced by "da", ending up with an equivalent sentence. I've also heard:

Morgen ist kein Fußball.

Meaning that we won't play tomorrow. I think there is no way of using "da ist" with this sentence. But I would have never said like that, I'd have said "Morgen gibt es kein Fußball".

Why is "ist" used in this sentence, because Fußball is not abstract (following the abstract/actual concept explained here)?

  • Where is the connection of »In diesem Glas ist wenig Wasser« with »es gibt«? Aug 29, 2017 at 14:54
  • @HubertSchölnast I would say In diesem Glas gibt es wenig Wasser I know is wrong because I've seen In diesem Glas ist wenig Wasser, but not why.
    – garci560
    Aug 29, 2017 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


You want to know when to use es gibt and when es ist, right?

Es gibt noch viel zu tun.

Es ist noch viel zu tun.

Da ist noch viel zu tun.

There is much left to do.

All three sentences are valid. The difference ist da is pointing a finger to something while both es gibt and es ist just state the fact. So, playing with da doesn't help you here.

To understand the German, better take a step back from English there is:

In der Oase gibt es Wasser.

The oasis has water.

In der Oase ist Wasser.

The oasis is filled with water.

This means such a weird thing because the phrase In A ist B. means A is a container filled with B. So you have to use es gibt here, which uses the oasis as a backdrop rather than a container.

Auf dem Dachboden gibt es Mäuse.

Auf dem Dachboden sind Mäuse.

Both sentences are valid, but the first uses the attic as a backdrop for the fact "mice exist". The latter instead states mice are in the attic.

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