Google translates "In Berlin it is 30 degrees." as "In Berlin sind es 30 Grad." Is 'sind' correct here?

If so, why is the plural used? And why, if the adverb 'in Berlin' is omitted or moved to the another position does the verb is then singular: "Es ist 30 Grad", "Es ist in Berlin 30 Grad"?

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    Another option would be "In Berlin hat es 30 Grad." Oct 22, 2019 at 17:43
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    @πάνταῥεῖ as far as I know, this is rather a regional usage
    – Arsak
    Oct 22, 2019 at 17:45
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    @closevoter why do you consider this question off-topic? The OP does not simply ask for a translation or proofreading, he asks "why", in other words the rule for that - therefore it is absolutely within the scope of this site. Oct 22, 2019 at 18:10
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  • @Arsak maybe regional in Germany, but pretty much standard in Austria (using a form of sein here sounds unnatural to my ears, unless from a German). Oct 25, 2019 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


The answer is as usual: it depends.

On a first look you would say, it has to be

Es sind 30 Grad

in contrast to

Es ist 1 Grad.

The difference can be easily spotted: 30 is expressing a plural, 1 is singular. The same is true for other constructions like this:

Wie weit noch? Es sind noch 30km bis nach Berlin! How far? It's still 30km to Berlin
Wie weit noch? Es ist noch 1km bis nach Berlin!

However: You could take a different approach:

Heute ist es warm.

I'm not really familiar with grammatical terms, but you can now add a descriptor to warm

Heute ist es [sehr | ziemlich | gar nicht | 30 Grad] warm.

Speculative answer: It doesn't work with the first three descriptors, but you can (at least colloquially) leave the warm implied:

Heute ist es 30 Grad [warm]

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    Und was ist mit draußen sind es null Grad?
    – David Vogt
    Oct 22, 2019 at 20:23
  • Das scheint sich analog zu unbestimmten Zahlwörtern zu verhalten. Dort sind keine / null Kinder. Oct 22, 2019 at 21:18
  • I agree with the first part, I'm not so sure about the second. It's true that Heute ist (not: sind) es 30 Grad warm is correct (the NP 30 Grad is an example of the "adverbial accusative" just discussed in another thread, it doesn't determine the ist/sind question). Where you lose me is the last suggestion, i.e. that "warm" can just be omitted. Do you have any source for that or is that merely speculative? It's not impossible but the assumption that speakers just drop the warm is of course quite bold. (By the way, to me, Heute ist es 30 Grad sounds incorrect.)
    – johnl
    Oct 23, 2019 at 0:13
  • That's really not my point. It's one thing to claim "People say Heute ist es 30 Grad colloquially" (which I doubt, intuitively, but maybe you're right), it's another thing to claim "They say it because they omit the word warm". One is an observation, the other is an explanation for that observation. However, the explanation does not logically follow from the observation; they may say it - provided they actually do - for an entirely different reason. That's why I asked if you have a source for that claim.
    – johnl
    Oct 23, 2019 at 15:46
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    I second that speculation ;-)
    – mic
    Oct 23, 2019 at 16:21

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