What is the trick behind German Articles?
I know the words, I just get the sentence wrong all the time because I don't know the articles. How can you tell between der, das, and die? I realize der is masculine, das is neutral and die is plural/feminine, but how can you tell if the word is?
For example, I know Italian, and in Italian, if its masculine it ends in -o and so you know the article is il pretty much every time.
Why is it not like that in German? What makes it Der Apfel and not das Apfel? Die Apfel?
The unpleasant but unavoidable answer is that there is no guaranteed rule and you need to memorise them. When you learn a noun you should always learn it with Der/Die/Das because it will save you problems later on. Unfortunately Duolingo often gives you exercises with just the noun and no article or uses the indefinite which doesn't let you know whether a noun is Der or Das. It might be an idea to use a flash card app (like tinycards.duolingo.com) which will teach you nouns and gender at the same time.
Having said that there are a bunch of guidelines which can help. These are 'rules' that have exceptions, lots of exceptions in some cases. For example if a noun ends in -e it is more likely to be Die in German. If you don't know you can guess, but you'll be wrong some of the time. There's a ton of these rules and you'll find a bunch of sites which have slightly different versions of the rules quite easily. Here's one that seems quite good to me:-
Here is a website that gives some guidelines on gender and articles: http://leicht-deutsch-lernen.com/german-articles-part-1 With much practice, it does become a bit easier.
Der: (Masculine) Male People, Days, Months, Seasons, Many Non German Rivers, Nouns ending in ig (Köning), ling (Liebling), ant (Elefant), us (Zirkus), and most nouns ending in en (Garten)
Die: (Feminine) Female people, Most German rivers, Most flowers and fruit, Nouns ending in ei (Die Brauerei), schaft (Freundschaft), heit/keit (Die Gesundheit), ung (die planug), tät (Die unversität), ion (Die situation), ik (die musik), ie (die philosophie), ur (die kultur), and Most nouns ending in e (die strasse)
Das: (Neuter) Small children, most metals, infinitive verbs used as nouns, Diminutives, Nouns ending in ment (Das Expriment) um (das museum)
That was a lot to type lol
I don't think duolingo accepts da, but in real life if you forget which die, der, das to use you can always say da and German speakers will understand because they know which one you're talking about. It's like using the wrong there, their, they're we know which one you're talking about if you use the wrong one.