This phrase has the following significance: Suppose there is a basket full of apples; I do not want just any other apple but I want THIS particular apple. So when I am indicating (as if I am pointing my finger at the object) using "αυτό" I must always follow it by the article.
That's the way I quickly understood, but then I was going to ask about «αυτό το». Thanks for the clarification. Now I'm absoulutely sure.
I mentioned above the rule in the link: http://www.ilsp.gr/files/Basic_Greek_Grammar.pdf page 98. As you can see αυτό/ή/ό or εκείνος/η/ο should have an article before the noun. So if they are used after the noun, the article is in front of the noun, not after the pronoun. Consider that an article is all forms, included the form στον/στην/στο=at/to/in/on/into/onto +the, as in Modern Greek the preposition εις=at/to/in/on/into/onto has been merged with the article τον/την/το (accusative form) to the form στον/στην/στο. Examples: αυτό το βιβλίο (this book), εκείνο το βιβλίο (that book) but το βιβλίο αυτό (this book), το βιβλίο εκείνο (that book) and also στο βιβλίο αυτό (in/to etc this book), στο βιβλίο εκείνο (in/to etc that book. As you can see there is more flexibility in the position of the pronoun αυτός/η/ο οr εκείνος/η/ο (before OR after the noun) than in English.
"το" is "the" and it is used in different ways than in English. E.g. most names take "the". Hang in there it'll all be taught.
The nouns usually go hand in hand with some kind of article. Να μία γυναίκα (there's a woman). Να η γυναίκα μου (there's my wife). Αυτό είναι το μολύβι μου (this is my pencil). Etc
Does 'αυτό' means both 'this' & 'that' in Greek? Are there no different words for this/that, these/those?
Just as in English Greek has "αυτός" for 'this' for something nearby and "εκείνος" for 'that' for distant things. There are times, however, where "αυτός" can be used for both e.g. "Who's the man in this photo?" while it's clear that the photo is near the speakers a normal reply could be "That's my father." "Ποιος είναι ο άνθρωπος στη φωτογραφία;" "Αυτός είναι ο πατέρας μου."
I don't know Greek at all, but doesn't this translate to "I want this the apple"?
"I want this the apple" doesn't make sense in English, unless there was a comma, like "I want this, the apple". "Εγώ θέλω αυτό το μήλο" translates to "I want this apple."
Don't be tricked by the article. It's a Greek rule. The pronoun αυτός/αυτή/αυτό (when used as this, and not he/she/it), is always followed by the article ο/η/το.
Αυτό το μήλο είναι κόκκινο - This apple is red.
Αυτή είναι ψηλή - She is tall.
I hope it's a bit more clear now. ^.^
Wow! Thank you! This clarified alot for me! Ihad doubts about this myself.
Glad to hear that. Maybe you'd like to have a look at these links although I'm not suggesting you "study" the alphabet because in time it will come naturally. These can be used as references.
FAQ - General Questions, Bugs & Reports
Would it be correct to think of 'αυτό το' as a set construction to mean 'this' before a noun? (I feel this is a simplified way of thinking about it)
Yes, "αυτό" is the translation for "this" which the original sentence contains so you need to include it. The "το" is just the article and you'll see over time that Greek uses the article much more than English.
So... If I understood well, the tranliteration of this would be: "I want this the apple", and this makes sense in Greek, right?
Yup, you got that right and it makes sense in Greek. The nearly constant presence of the article seems a bit odd to speakers of some languages...English in particular. But you'll get used to it. Let us know if we can help with anything else. You may also like to have a look at the Greek Forum https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/936.