German Language/use of "Sie"


I am a beginner with German and would like to know when to use "er" or "sie" for "it"  Sometimes my book translates "it is" as "sie ist" and "er ist."  How do I know when to use "sie"?

Thank you, Joel

Hello Joel,

thank you for your question. I am sorry that I took a while for replying.

The fact that "it" has several translations in German is due to the fact that German nouns can have one of three different genders: male, female and neuter. The English word "the" also has several translations for this reason: "der, die, das".
So, the correct translation for "it" always depends on the noun it represents and also on the gender this word has in German.
For example, take the sentence "It is expensive". If "it" stands in for the word "jacket" here, it gets translated as "Sie ist teuer" because the German word "Jacke" is feminine - "die Jacke".
If "it" stands in for the word "hat", "it" gets translated as "Er ist teuer" because the German word "Hut" is masculine - der Hut.
And if "it" stands in for the word "shirt", "it" gets translated as "Es ist teuer" because the German word "Hemd" is neuter - das Hemd.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes

German Language

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As a native German speaker working professionally with languages, I can answer questions concerning German grammar, spelling and punctuation. I can also help with understanding and short German-English translations. As I also speak French, I might also be helpful concerning German-French translations. Translation only refers to short texts here.


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