"It is a newspaper."
Translation:Es ist eine Zeitung.
I wrote the correct answer at first, but then I though maybe I am meant to write "Sie ist eine Zeitung". But no. Am I correct to assume that "es" is used because the spentence specified something of originally unknown gender?
"Sie ist eine Zeitung" means "She is a newspaper". Er - He, Sie - she, Es - it. The neutral gender of Zeitung appeares in "eine". (I'm not a native speaker, please somebody verify this comment)
I am also beginner at German, but two notes. First, "Zeitung" is feminine, that's why "eine Zeitung". "Es" or "Das" has a different role at the beginning of the sentence, not an article 'a/an' here. Though I'm also struggling with "Es/Das" distinction.
In such a case "It is a newspaper" translates to "Es ist eine Zeitung", because the newspaper was not directly referenced before hand. But say you had referenced the newspaper already, and wanted to continue talking about it but didn't want to continue say "the newspaper". For example you said "I am reading a newspaper. It is boring." This can translate to "Ich lese eine Zeitung. Sie ist langweilig." You can use "sie" instead of "es" because "the newspaper" is feminine, "die Zeitung." Because everyone already knows what you are referencing "sie" can become the feminine form of "it".
It's depending on the context. In some cases, 'das' would be more appropriate in german, where I would use 'it' in english. Two examples:
Pointing at something on the table - Q: Was ist das? A: Das ist eine Zeitung. Opening an envelope - Q: Was ist es? A: Es ist eine Zeitung
I would translate both to 'It's a newspaper'.
In the end this was asking for the translation of "It is a newspaper" not "That is a newspaper". No matter if you take both the same. In reality "es" translates to "it", and "das" translates to "that" (unless it is part of a noun such as "das Mädchen" in which case it is "the" for "the girl".)
In reality, the most literal translation is not always the most suitable either.
But that doesn't matter, because this is Duolingo. You give it what it asks for exactly, not what you think might be a fitting or acceptable alternative in the real world.
Should be right, too, in my opinion. It might be less literal, but still fitting.
Should be nominative. As a trick, young Germans are trained to use interrogatives to find the right case. accusative = Wen? Wen ist es makes no sense, though, neither does Wem? (dative). Was (nominative) ist es? does: Es ist eine Zeitung.
I've found this, too, maybe it helps you or just anyone else with the same questions: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/nomakkdatexpl.html
Should'nt it be passive a and not active a?That is here subject is 'it' and object is 'newspaper'?I know that 'ein' becomes 'einen'.So is passive of 'eine' , 'eine' itself or is it that active 'a' is used here ?
The being verb sein takes the nominative, not the accusative. In other words, there is no object, only a subject predicate.
In other other words, even though "eine" is still the accusative form of "eine", it doesn't matter since you're using nominative here.