Unit 2: Cases, Present Tense

7. “es gibt” and “man”

es gibt

es gibt = “there is” and “there are.” Example:

Es gibt jetzt zwei Zeitungen in Darmstadt.
There are now two newspapers in Darmstadt.


The pronoun man can be translated directly as “people,” “they,” and “one”.

Man sagt, es regnet.
They (people) say it is raining.

Sometimes it makes more sense in English to use an even more abstract way to translate man, by using English passive voice. For example:

In schlechten Zeiten kürzt man die Budgets.
In bad times, budgets are reduced.

Keep in mind that the essential meaning of man is that the speaker cannot or does not want to specify a subject for the sentence’s main verb. The next two examples contrast a situation calling for direct translation with one requiring a more abstract translation:

Wie sagt man “Hund” auf Englisch?
How does one say “Hund” in English?

Man sagt, daß Deutsche pünktlich sind.
It is said that Germans are punctual.


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