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However, it is fairly common in my experience for people to conceptualize multiple items as a single unit in the context of purchasing, especially when following a true singular.
"A computer is 3000 dollars and ten books is 200" for example.
This form is technically grammatically wrong but is colloquially well used and accepted. Learning it the correct way is definitely better, but for conversational English, you'd still be understood and considered normally fluent if you used the singular verb.
I find "costs" much more natural to me. My best guess as to why I (and many native English speakers) might use this "incorrect" conjugation is because there is ambiguity in "two apples cost one euro". It could be read as: 1. one pair of apples costs one euro 2. there are two apples which cost one euro each
When the speaker intends to communicate #1, using "costs" is unambiguous.
Then you might wonder why German speakers find "Zwei Äpfel kosten" completely unambiguous. Wouldn't the same logic apply? Besides, even in English, you option (2) is usually expressed... well, exactly as you have expressed it: "Two apples cost one euro each".
The more I think about about it, the more I am certain that I would only use singular "costs" if the two apples were packaged together and formed one unit, in which case "two apples" would be the name of that unit. That strikes me as a somewhat special case though.
I agree with you that it is common and accepted English to say "two apples costs one dollar." This construction treats "two apples" as a single amount, which COSTS (third-person singular) a certain amount.
I answered the same way, and I reported to Duo that my answer was not accepted. However, it is worth noting that in the German example, "Kosten" is the plural (these things COST) so a strict/direct translation would be "Two apples cost one Euro"; meanwhile, the variation you shared, with a singular verb, is somewhat more vernacular or idiomatic, so Duo may or may not decide to accept it.
Here's the way I teach it to my English class: the "trick" is to remember that usually the main noun OR the main verb will end in 's', but not both. Exceptions are mainly things such as grass, which always end in 's' so they have to think about whether it is plural or singular, and pronouns.
The boy walks; the boys walk. The apple falls; two apples fall. The grass grows (on my lawn); the grasses grow (if I have planted a variety of decorative landscape grasses, for example).
The pronouns each require specific forms of the verb. Check the present tense: http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-german-verb-kosten.html
ich koste; du kostest; er/sie/es kostet; wir kosten; ihr kostet; sie/Sie kosten
I believe I this situation "costs" is grammatically incorrect. Conjugation of the verb "to cost" would be:
I cost You cost He/She/It costs We cost You (plural) cost They cost
Being that "Two apples" is 3rd person plural, you would use "cost." For example, say the store owner pointed at the apples and said "they cost 2 Euros"
kosten is the verb in this sentence.
Verbs don't have cases themselves -- their endings depend on the person and number of the subject, which in this case is zwei Äpfel (third person plural).
koste is the ending for first person singular (ich koste = I cost; I have a cost of...).
But for third person plural, you need the form kosten, e.g. zwei Äpfel kosten... "two apples cost...."