Es or das?

The pronoun es (it) is used:

  • to replace a word, part of a sentence, or a whole sentence:

Das Fahrrad ist schön. Es ist neu.

The bicycle is nice. It's new.

Sigi, du solltest Anna anrufen! Warum hast du es nicht gemacht?

Sigi, you should call Anna! Why haven't you done it?

-Wer arbeitet im Hotel? -Ich weiß es nicht.

Who works in the hotel? ‑I don't know (literally “I don't know it”).

  • in fixed expressions and with impersonal verbs:

-Wie geht es dir? -Mir geht es gut.

‑How are you doing? (literally “How is it going to you?”) ‑I'm good (literally “It is going well to me”).

Es regnet heute.

It is raining today.

Es schmeckt mir nicht.

I don't like how it tastes (literally “It doesn't taste to me”).

  • to replace an adjective:

Mein Vater ist jung. Mein Onkel ist es nicht.

My father is young. My uncle isn't (literally “My uncle is not it”).

Das (this, that) can be used as a pronoun to refer back to a previous statement or replace a noun:

-Wie viel kostet der Pullover? -Das weiß ich nicht.

How much does this sweater cost? ‑I don't know (literally “I don't know that”).

-Wie heißt das Hotel? -Das heißt Brandenbutt Hotel.

‑What's that hotel called? ‑It's called the Brandenbutt Hotel.

-Kannst du das Problem erklären? -Nein, ich verstehe das nicht.

‑Can you explain the problem? ‑No, I don't understand it.

Note that using das as a pronoun is slightly informal.

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