I know there was already a similar question asked before, but I don't get it completely.

So, as I take it, you can exchange "The superhero is you" with "The superhero are you" without a big change in their meaning. For me, as a German native, the first one sounds wrong, but I actually see the reason why it is correct. In German, you would always say "are" because it doesn't matter which one is the subject:

  • Der Superheld bist du (literally "The superhero are you")

Is it true that "The superhero are you" is also correct?

When I change the order of the sentence, can I also say it in both ways?

  • "You are the superhero" (This is correct, right?)
  • "You is the superhero" (Can this also be correct? Sounds wrong to me)

In German, there is no change:

  • "Du bist der Superheld" (literally "You are the superhero")

I really have to say, some things in the English grammar really confuse me as a German speaker. ^^

Thank you for your help.

2 Answers 2


You can't say it both ways, whichever way round you write the sentence. "The superhero is you" and "You are the superhero" are correct; the others are incorrect. That's because word order matters more in English than in German, so whatever goes before the verb is always the subject. And so the two sentences actually have different shades of meaning -- the first one is a statement about a superhero, saying that he or she is you. The second one is a statement about you, saying that you're a superhero.

  • Thank you for the fast answer. I think it'll take much time until I'm able to "feel" the difference of "The superhero is you" and "You are the superhero" without think about it. I think I'll go back to school again to learn english ^^
    – Dr. Ache
    Dec 1, 2015 at 8:46

The crucial point is that in English, verb conjugation requires that the verb matches the 'person' of the subject:

[1] The superhero is you.

[2] You are the superhero.

In [1] superhero is a 3rd person singular subject and thus requires the 3rd person singular verb "is". In [2], by contrast, You is a 2nd person singular subject, so the 2nd person verb are is required.

No alternatives are permitted in English.

  • Okay, thank you for your answer. Why didn't I learn this in school? I had English for like 6 years, but we always learned the same boring stuff.
    – Dr. Ache
    Dec 1, 2015 at 8:56
  • It's because the English program you've been given is not well structured. In my country, the English they teach is poorly well taught as well as its structure. They review the same content year by year instead of advancing. Getting a good grammar book will do the difference.
    – Schwale
    Dec 1, 2015 at 12:09

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