schuld sein

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schuld sein (irregular, third-person singular simple present ist schuld, past tense war schuld, past participle schuld gewesen, auxiliary sein)

  1. to be at fault
    Wer ist schuld? – Who is at fault? / Whose fault is it?

Usage notes[edit]

  • In formal standard and in colloquial German, the verb is constructed with an + the dative case or with dass + a relative clause:
    • Wer ist schuld an diesem Chaos? – "Whose fault is this chaos?" (more literally: “Who is at fault for this chaos?”).
    • Wer ist schuld [daran], dass die Pressekonferenz so chaotisch war? - "Whose fault is it that the press conference was so chaotic?"
  • Colloquial German also exhibits a construction with accusative object: Wer ist dieses Chaos schuld? This is particularly common with a pronominal object: Wer ist das schuld? – “Who is at fault for this?” In this latter case the construction is also seen in formal writing, albeit infrequently and with regionally varying acceptance.