four cases in German: for masculine gender--> Nominativ- der, ein, Genitiv: des, eines, Dativ: dem, einem, Akkusativ: den, einen
for the german case system is it only the articles that decline or do the actual nouns decline as well?
Only the articles, with one exception: in masculine and neuter genitive you add -s to the noun. Zum Beispiel: der Apfel des Manns - the man's apple.
That's partly incorrect. The word Apfel (apple), for example, has four forms: Apfel, Äpfel, Äpfeln, Apfels. Nouns have to be declined in German, depending on number and case. Plurals should be learnt with each word, but once you know the singular and plural, you just add -es or -s to genitive singular (you'll get used to which one to use, oftentimes both are good). Note that this is done only on masculine and neuter nouns, not feminine ones.
- des Hundes - masculine
- des Autos - neuter
- der Katze - feminine
One must also add -n to the dative plural unless the word pluralizes with -s, or if the -n is already present in the plural.
- den Hunden
- den Autos (not: Autosn)
- den Katzen (not: Katzenn)
Also note that there are weak noun declensions where Junge is Jungen in all cases, singular and plural, except in nominative singular. Certain masculine nouns take the weak declensions, I would look it up for more info.
Edit: I should like to add that it is (much) more common to write Der Apfel des Mannes, instead of Der Apfel des Manns.
Re-edit: I wrote a post not too long ago on weak nouns if you're curious, check it out here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10973844
Do you mind explaining what nominative, genitiv, dativ and akkusativ means? I see them quite often but don't really know what they mean. Danke
The nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative cases as we know them in english are cases used for certain structures of sentences. When using the accusative case, we ask, "Doing what?" For the dative, "For who/whom?" and so on. In the most basic sense, the four words just mean their respective cognates, the four cases. English speakers don't use the cases as they seem to just say things in the most comfort possible. For more information on how the cases affect German sentence structure, there are multitudes of websites and even online textbooks to skim over on the subject. Hope this helped!
"Die Frau ist ein Apfel" would be "The woman is an apple" (potentially insulting), and would sound exactly the same if spoken. Accusative case comes in to save you from your faux pa and the "ein" becomes "einen", changing the meaning of the sentence to something less antagonistic.
Essen is a akkusative verb .In akkusative verb: Der-den Das-das Die-die Ein:einen Eine-eine Ein-ein
In case a beginner gets the wrong idea... German has three genders: masculine, neuter and feminine.
When listening to speech, how does one distinguish between "ist" and "isst"? For example, distinguishing between "The woman is a human" and "The woman eats a human."
Plus "The Woman eats a human" is akkusativ while "The woman is a human" is nominative, so the difference is not just ist/isst
The woman is a human - Die Frau ist ein Mensch
The woman eats a human - Die Frau isst einen Mensch
I hate to be a Besserwisser here, but there is another distinction between the nominative and accusative sentences other than ist/isst and einen.
In the standard language, Mensch becomes Menschen in the accusative singular, as it is one of the nouns belonging to the so-called N-declension (in other words it takes the weak declension).
- Die Frau isst einen Menschen.
You can check the Duden (official German dictionary) page for yourself if you'd like:
If you're confused about the concept, I wrote an explanation a few months ago:
Edit: I forgot to mention that in the colloquial language, Mensch is sometimes left uninflected, einen Mensch. Although this is technically incorrect (and should not be attempted in the written or formal language), people probably wouldn't notice if you leave out the suffix in casual speech.
The mouse-over translation for "einen" says "a (masculine/neuter nominative)" but in this sentence "(einen) Apfel" is Accusative. I'm not surprised people are confused (esp. learners who are new to the whole case thing).
Will help to have brief explanations of grammatic terms (nominative, genitive, dative, and akkusativ)...my mind doesn't yet function at this technical level! Thanks...
How do you differentiate between "The woman is eating an apple."and "The woman eats an apple."
There is - as the others mentioned - no real continuous form in German. That might make it easier for you (one of the very few easy things in German), because you can always translate into: Sie isst einen Apfel. If we want to make sure that it is an ongoing process we are watching right now, we almost always would use "gerade" (just now): Sie isst gerade einen Apfel". "Der Postbote kommt gerade". (The postman is coming). This "gerade" would follow the verb immediately.
"The woman is eating an apple" is ongoing process and "The woman eats an apple" is kind of a statement. Go figure :)
You can say "Die Frau isst mal einen Apfel." or, probably better "Die Frau isst gerade einen Apfel." but only if you really feel the need to add emphasis.
No. It's for the accusative case. When something is the verb "receiver" of the verb. Die Frau is nominative, einen Apfel is accusative, it's the thing that's being eaten. Only masculine articles change in the accusative case: ein - einen, der - den. Not all 'ein's will take that though, neuters stay the same as they're not masculine obviously.
I have a hard time distinguishing ist from isst apart from the context. Is that true for Germans as well? Would the sentence "Das Mädchen isst ein Kind" sound ambiguous?
No it wouldn't. Germans don't normally say something like Eine Kartoffel esse ich. They might put other parts in front though. For example, instead of Ich esse eine Kartoffel in der Küche, one could say In der Küche esse ich eine Kartoffel. While those things are gramatically correct, they're not used with simple things like my first example because ambiguity is possible and it sounds, even to them, a bit outlandish.
Edit: I might've missed part of your question. Isst and ist can almost always be figured out from context. In spoken German, ist may be said a bit shorter than isst.
Ok so largely, there is a pre-established order in the German sentence redundant with the strict use of the cases, right?
Why is Apfel accusative case? How do I know when other words are accusative case?
I think you're misunderstanding the concept. The word Apfel itself is not any case, it is in the accusative case in this sentence as it is the direct object of the sentence. This is not completely foreign to an English speaker, for example: I and he are nominative, in other words the subject of the sentence; me and him, on the other hand, are accusative, in other words the direct object. English has of course lost its case system, but pronouns are a living remnant of it.
- Der Mann (nominative) sieht den Briefträger (accusative) - The man (nominative) sees the postman (accusative).
- Er (nominative) sieht ihn (accusative) - He (nominative) sees him (accusative).
No, the article declension has nothing to do with whether the following letter is a vowel. The masculine ein becomes einen when it's followed by the accusative object of a sentence. Remember, ein only becomes einen if it's a masculine ein. Neuter nouns also take ein but stay the same in the object.
Ich sehe einen Apfel auf dem Tisch. - I see an apple on the table.
Here, Apfel is the accusative object of the sentence. What is receiving the action of seeing? An apple.
Ein Apfel fällt vom Baum. - An apple is falling from the tree.
Here, Apfel is the nominative subject of the sentence. What is performing the action of falling? An apple.
By the way, the order is not always set, and can be moved around. For example, even though Apfel comes at the end of the sentence, the answer to the question "what is performing the action of falling?" is the same: an apple - so the case stays the same.
Vom Baum fällt ein Apfel. - From the tree falls an apple.
I hope this helps. Viel Erfolg! :)
- Masculine: ein
- Neuter: ein
- Feminine: eine
- Masculine: einen
- Neuter: ein
- Feminine: eine
If you're not sure when to use which case, look elsewhere in the thread - or simply google it. Good luck!
i always learned (from my teacher who was from germany) that eat was essen in german and ist is... wth
I think you're confused. What your teacher said is correct and this sentence matches that.
How do I know when to use "isst" or "esse" because i've used "Isst" on both Junge and Frau, so it doesn't seem gender specific
It isn't gender specific. You can compare it to how we say I eat but he eats – verbs conjugate in German.
I see that for men we use "essen" and for women we use "isst". Why? My doubt is can we use "esst" with woman?
Is the L in apfel silent? Because when I vocalize the L, it says I pronounce it wrong.
Accusative requires a direct object. Dative requires an indirect object. Genitive shows possession. Of course all cases exist in English, but with little to no inflection,at leat not in presend day English. English dropped all the difficult inflections of cases and such compared to its earliest form, but German has kept all of them, that's why learning German is a bit challenging at first.
I said is eating and it marked it as wrong. Isn't is eating and eats the same thing?
I don't understand the difference between eine, ein and einen! HELP! Why is it "einen Apfel" and not "eine Apfel"??
you have to learn how to determine which in which case the article should be (nominativ, genitiv, dativ or akkusativ) and then you have rules:
masculinum: N-der, ein, G-des, eines, D-dem,einem, A-den, einen
femininum: N-die, eine, G-der, einer, D-der,einer, A-die, eine
neutrum: N-das, ein, G-des, eines, D-dem,eines, A-das, ein
plural: N-die, eine, G-der, einer, D-den,einen, A-die, eine
i suggest learning it by heart, my German teacher made me learn them by heart and I know them even today....after 8 years....I don't know any German any more, but well, another story :D :P
So basically, its saying its "the woman eats a masculine apple"? Very confused. One would assume, (as a novice) that the apple, having no gender, would follow the subjects gender in the sentence... i.e. "Die Frau isst eine Apfel"... Help native speakers!
Because der/das/die/den/dem/des = the, and ein/eine/einen/einem/einer/eines = a/an.
Going good on my first day... Finding it difficult, hoping to converse atleast a tinu bit with my German colleagues visiting this December...
Yes, there is, isst. A conjugated verb will not always look like the infinitive. Just like you couldn't say there's no eat-verb in the above sentence because it reads eats and not the basic eat.
Im saying the right thing but itz apparently incorrecf. I even checked on google if i was right and i was
Im.write like this: the woman us eating an apple .And my aunt is German and he is said that is righ
I'm afraid we do not have the word "einin" in German. There must be a misunderstanding.
einin is not an indefinite article in any of the cases, in any of the genders (m, f, n or in pl.)....i don't know if it exists as a word, meaning something else, but at this level, I doubt it...maybe at c1 or c2, idk :D
Two reasons... Firstly because it would have to be 'ein' since there is no object. Secondly because there would be one less 's', it's somewhat easier to make the distinction when a person, rather than a computer, is speaking.
Edit: They are actually synonymous when articulated, but a common word like 'ist' is less likely to be articulated and will often be said noticeably quicker.
One time I translated this like in here and it was wrong because I said indefinite an instead of definite one.
Because Apfel is in the accusative case. In accusative, the masculine der and ein become den and einen, respectively. Accusative means the object or target. What is being targeted to be eaten? The apple. Who is targeting it (nominative)? The woman.
It marked me wrong for writing woman instead of lady, can Frau mean both woman and lady ?
That's very strange. You probably had a mistake somewhere else in the sentence and Duolingo's checker bugged out and pointed to the wrong word. Frau means woman, not lady; that would be Dame.
So, correct me if im wrong, but why then do they use das for Wasser and for Broht? And der for Apfel? :(
Couldn't you translate it as "the woman eats a apple"? i know its kinda wrong but it should still be marked as correct but say that it should be "an"? It's not completely wrong!
I am a person who speaks english (American). "An" is used if the word following starts with a vowel such as A,E,I, O, U. You would use "A" is the next word starts with a consonant (all other letters not a vowel). The g in girl is a consonant so "a girl" is correct. If it were a word such as eagle then you would write and say an eagle. I hope this helps.
No, it's vowel sound. For instance, you'd say "an hour" even though H is a consonant.
"Hour" is written with an 'H' but it is not pronounced. It's a graphic distinction between "our" and "Hour". As you know, "are, hour, our" often sound alike in speech. "An hour dog", for instance, would be an animal with ticks.<g>
"History" and "Historical" are funny examples of "a" vs "an". 'History' works OK as in 'A History of Alcatraz'.
'Historical' is another (there's that 'an' again) case in point. In casual speech, I'd likely say: "uh historical account of... " but in written form it would be "an historical account of...".
Were I to write "A historical account of..", it would appear precious. About as precious as the structure of this sentence. <g>
The translation says "einen" is masculine but the subject in question is feminine?
Einen agrees with the object, which is in this sentence is apple and therefore masculine.
Yes, but it is now an obsolete spelling. After a 'short' vowel double s (ss) is now used. The Swiss have never used an ß, they always use ss.
Why it's lot a people here???? Why????????????????????????????????????????????