4

In a phrase book, I came across the following two German/English pairs (my emphasis):

The kitchen and badroom are here.
Hier ist die Küche und das Bad.

The living room and bedroom are there.
Dort sind das Wohnzimmer und das Schlafzimmer.

I'm puzzled, first, by the fact that the first German sentence above is not

Hier sind die Küche und das Bad.

I'm further puzzled by the fact that the two given German sentences seem to follow different rules (one using ist and the other using sind). Please advise.

  • 5
    It must read sind in both cases. That's an error in your phrasebook. – Janka Jun 29 '18 at 16:37
  • 3
    Indeed, correct usage would be Hier sind die Küche und das Bad. However, I could imagine that in practice in some everyday situation where nobody pays too much attention and speaks sloppily, you may also hear now and then Hier ist die Küche und das Bad. Still wrong, though. But I could imagine that this sentence made it into that phrasebook that way. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 29 '18 at 18:00
  • I agree with the other comments. Note though, that "ist" will be correct in "Hier ist die Küche und hier das Bad." – Javatasse Jun 30 '18 at 16:13
1

This question was basically answered in german: Singular/Plural bei Aufzählungen

The basic information from this answer is, that there is no strict rule.

In an enumeration the verb should generally be in plural, especially in the form above.
Without the article and even more so, if the enumeration is a know phrase like "Sinn und Zweck" the Verb can also be used in singular. This is also the case the more abstract the nouns are.

Good example for this is

Der Hass und die Gewalt der Täter wird auf sie selber zurückfallen.

The Plural here sounds about as wrong as the singular in

Hier ist die Küche und das Bad.

But both possibilities are allowed.

Interesting to note is if you remove "der Täter"

Der Hass und die Gewalt werden auf sie selber zurückfallen.

sounds like the better solution.

It also seems the article makes a difference. In the cases

Die Zuneigung und die Liebe hielten ihn gefangen
Die Zuneigung und die Liebe hielt ihn gefangen

and

Der Hass und der Zorn trieb ihn zu den Taten
Der Hass und der Zorn trieben ihn zu den Taten

the first sentence each seems to be the better solution, possibly because "die" is also the article for plural.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.