they - the person: I just know that they have red hair

Toadie

Senior Member
English
In English, when you're talking about someone, you say "they" if the number/gender is unknown or currently undefined. For example:

"Who are you looking for?"

"I don't know... I just know that they have red hair."


Is is a direct translation into German? (sie) Would this be correct:

"Wen suchst du?"

"Ich weiß nicht... Ich weiß nur, daß sie roten Haare haben."
 
  • Quelle

    Senior Member
    Deutschland Deutsch
    I'm afraid, but we don't have an equivalent of "they" as you described.
    I'd paraphrase your example: Ich weiß nicht. Ich schaue nach jemand(em) mit roten Haaren. It could be a woman or a man, but only one person.
    In other situations you can use the impersonal "man" (not defining number nor gender).
    Man sagt,... - They say...
     

    b00nish

    Senior Member
    German - Switzerland
    No, I don't think that it works out with "sie".

    Currently there is no german word with the requested function crossing my mind.

    In your example I'd say

    "Ich weiß nicht... Ich weiß nur, daß diese Person rote Haare hat."

    -> the 'requested word' (which probably does not exist) is replaced here with "this person". You could also use "er oder sie" ("he or she").

    (But in the case that you refer with "sie" to "diese Person" you could say 'Ich weiß nur, dass sie rote Haare hat.' But this does only work if "diese Person" was explicitly mentioned before. If this is not the case "sie" [with 'hat'] will be interpreted as the female form and "sie" [with 'haben'] does either way not work in this context, I think (well, it would mean something, but absolutely something else than wished))
     
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