So I've been learning Spanish on Duolingo a while now and one thing that consistently catches me out is este/esta/esto. I understand that esta is feminine and esto is masculine but where exactly does este come in?
I assume that ese/esa/eso follow the same patterns too.
"Este" is masculine. For example, "este coche" = "this car". "Esta" is feminine. For example, "esta manzana" = "this apple" ("este" and "esta" can also be used as "this one").
"Esto" is neuter. It is used when you don't know the gender or it's not really important. For example, "¿Qué es esto?" "Esto es una manzana". "Quiero esto" = "I want this".
This all works in exactly the same way with "ese/eso/esa" ("that") and "aquel/aquello/aquella" (the more distant version of "that").
You can also make them plural, but remember neither "eses" nor "estes" (or aquels) are words in Spanish. The masculine pluralis the same as the plural neuter. So "Estos/estas" = "these","esos/esas" = "those" and "aquellos/aquellas" = "those (over there)".
¡Espero que te sirva!
Two things make this maddening for us Spanish learners. First maddening thing is that someone might say EITHER "esto es una manzana" OR "esta is una manzana." It sort of depends on whether the word "manzana" is preloaded in the speaker's brain at the start of the sentence. (But one thing no native Spanish speaker will ever say is "este es una manzana.") Second maddening thing is that it seems obvious that the plural of "este" should be "estes," but it's not. Instead, "estos" is the plural for EITHER "este" or "esto." Go figger. Now we know what English learners feel like all the time :-)
I would never say "esto es una manzana". I only use esto when the object is unknown, like "que es esto?" ("que" should be with an accent of course, but I do not have "e" with accent on my current keyboard)
When you ask. ¿Qué es esto? I can answer three sentences
Es una manzana
Esto es una manzana
The two first sentence are the most common.
If you are allowed to reply "esto es una manzana", then why even bother with esta/este? I could always use esto and forget about the masculine/feminine. I do not argue with you, I'm just curious :)
We have two categories.
As I notice in the post at the bottom, in the third case, "esto" acts as a pronoun (on this case as subject of the sentence) and replace NOT at "manzana" ...
What is here.... (Esto) ... Is an apple.
When the next word is a noun, in this case, are not a pronoun and it go bound to that noun in number and gender.
Esto es un coche
Esto es una libreta
Esto es un libro
Esto es una nariz
Don't matter the gender.
You pay attention to the fact that this pronoun is demonstrative.
I realised I was losing a lot of hearts in all kinds of lessons just to this subject. I drew out a table of this/that with masc/fem/neuter and this seemed to help a lot. I was so surprised to learn that este and not esto was the masculine form as I had so wrongly assumed from it ending in an o.
However you have to pay care if they are pronouns or not.
Esta mesa me gusta... (It's not a pronoun, it does not replace the noun... Mesa.
Esta (Ésta) me gusta... (It's a pronoun... Esta replace to "Mesa"
Note. Now, the pronouns don't have accent except if the situation is confuse. Duolingo does not apply this change and will mark error if you don't put it.
Took me awhile to get this; every time I thought I had it nailed, oops! So I just kept drilling on. Samsta (comment below) has clarified it nicely. I did finally get it so good luck!
este is masculine and esto is neuter. Esto means 'this' when you are talking about a situation, conversation, event that is 'genderless" ==> "This is going to be trouble." Similarly, 'eso' means that and is commonly used in "que es eso?" = What is that?
It's almost as if a few grammar lessons incorporated into DL would be useful...
They do have short grammar lessons on the website when you begin each new lesson, but they're completely absent on the mobile app unfortunately.
Edit: Actually I just checked and only the first two lessons have the Lightbulb icon for lessons in what I've so far unlocked, so this is definitely an improvement I would recommend to Duolingo.