Im confused with the use of der and das. Well what I really don't understand is why you would say "der Apfel" and then say "das Wasser". Shouldn't it be consistent on whether things are masculine or neutral? Also is their a trick to know when to use masculine or neutral with objects or things?
You're right. The gender of nouns has puzzled almost all native speakers learning German. For example, das Mädchen (the girl). Unfortunately, they have to be learned through memorization and practice. Here are some tips that I found useful when I started learning German: 1. When you say a noun, always say it with the article. By consistently doing this, you will get better at remembering the correct articles. That's probably how you learned the multiplication tables in school, remember? 2. Almost all nouns ending with -e, -ung, -schaft are feminine (with exceptions such as der Kunde = the customer) 3. All plurals have the article die.
The gender of nouns has little to do with biological sex. Here are examples: DAS Mädchen, die Sonne, der Löffel, etc.
You have to learn the gender, when you learn the word generally. For some help with this see: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa042098.htm .
You can use some elementary mnemonic technique here: Just learn: - der: der Boden (the ground); - die: die Luft (the air); - das: das Wasser (the water), das Feuer (the fire);
so: - if it is masculine ("der"), bury it! (only in your mind, of course) - if it is feminine ("die"), bring it into the air! make it airborne! - if it is neuter ("das"), burn or sink it!
The weirder the image you make up in your mind, the better!
Hope that helps a bit!