There is a cat in the room

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guyper

Senior Member
French Creole
"There's a cat in the room"

Is it possible to also say, "In dem Zimmer ist eine Katze" instead of "Es gibt eine Katze in dem Zimmer"?

Thank you
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yes, that's fine, but in both sentences "im Zimmer" would be more common than "in dem Zimmer," unless you wanted to emphasize which room it is.
     
    Last edited:

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    "There's a cat in the room"
    Is it possible to also say, "In dem Zimmer ist eine Katze" instead of "Es gibt eine Katze in dem Zimmer"?
    Both are grammatically correct but idiomatically only the first one works. "es gibt" does not express well where living beings stay. It rather applies to dead matter and (more or less) permanent situations (there may be exceptions to this).
    Let us assume that a house is on fire.
    - What is the matter? - There's a cat in the room!
    - Was ist los? - Im Zimmer ist eine Katze! Im Zimmer gibt es eine Katze!

    You could say, for example, "es gibt einen seltsamen Geruch im Zimmer".
     

    Henryk

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    The difference is that "es ist" is much more precise than "es gibt", it doesn't have anything to do with whether it has to do with living beings. Both work fine most of the time, with one always sounding a wee bit unusual. In general, you state the exact position of something by "es ist", whereas by "es gibt" you just state the approximate place.

    Hinter der Mauer ist ein Haus. (The wall is possibly pretty small and once you're on the other side of the wall, the house would instantly catch your eye.)
    Hinter der Mauer gibt es ein Haus. (The wall is possibly huge and you cannot understand the exact position of the house from this sentence. You'd also have a hard time finding it if you were on the other side of the wall.)

    As for your sentence, "es ist" would be appropriate, as "Zimmer" are usually pretty small and things could be find easily in them. If you used "Raum" of which the size could be small and large, it'd solely depend on its size. Classrooms (Klassenräume, "Klassenzimmer" is possible too) are rather small, whereas rooms in a museum are often rather large.
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    The difference is that "es ist" is much more precise than "es gibt", it doesn't have anything to do with whether it has to do with living beings. Both work fine most of the time, with one always sounding a wee bit unusual. In general, you state the exact position of something by "es ist", whereas by "es gibt" you just state the approximate place.

    Hinter der Mauer ist ein Haus. (The wall is possibly pretty small and once you're on the other side of the wall, the house would instantly catch your eye.)
    Hinter der Mauer gibt es ein Haus. (The wall is possibly huge and you cannot understand the exact position of the house from this sentence. You'd also have a hard time finding it if you were on the other side of the wall.)

    As for your sentence, "es ist" would be appropriate, as "Zimmer" are usually pretty small and things could be find easily in them. If you used "Raum" of which the size could be small and large, it'd solely depend on its size. Classrooms (Klassenräume, "Klassenzimmer" is possible too) are rather small, whereas rooms in a museum are often rather large.
    This concept of "es ist" and "es gibt" is absolutely new to me.
     

    vmrweb

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Henryk, I have to admit: that's new to me, too. (It doesn't mean I want to say it's definitely wrong, but at least I have doubts whether that's commonly known and applied.)

    Guyper, talking about the location of things as well as of living beings I'd prefer "es ist" in nearly all cases (except when you want to put the emphasis on the fact that something is being offered in some way, for example a bathroon in public, an information desk for tourists, certain tools or the delicacies at a cold buffet).
    Although it is ok grammatically, hearing "es gibt" for just describing what you can find somewhere makes me instantly think of the speaker: he's not a native.
    As for your example: "es gibt eine Katze" sounds to me a bit like as if the mentioned cat was for sale or served with sour cream and salsa ;-)
     

    Henryk

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    I think you can divide their differences into three parts: Place, temporality and when something is offered.

    Place:
    In Basel gibt's ein großes Stadion.
    Um die Ecke ist ein Stadion.
    Die Teddy-Bären sind im untersten Regal ganz links.
    In der Nähe gibt es eine Bäckerei.

    Temporality:

    Hier sind viele nette Menschen [just now]./Hier gibt es viele nette Menschen. [in general]

    Something is offered:

    Im Supermarkt gibt's neuerdings Spielzeug. = Im Supermarkt wird neuerdings Spielzeug angeboten.

    As for the place part, I don't think my suggestion is that absurd. The example sentence would, however, be a matter of temporality. I stand corrected.

    I first considered it to be a matter of place, just as in:

    Im Palast gibt's viele Teiche.
    In den Teichen sind Fische.
     
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