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  5. "Es ist ein Apfel."

"Es ist ein Apfel."

Translation:It is an apple.

March 6, 2013



how can we audibaly recognize if "it is an apple" or "it eats an apple" apart from real life context?

April 16, 2013


The "an apple" in "it is an apple" takes the article ein because the verb "to be" equates two things. In this sentence, both "it" and "apple" are nominative case. "It is an apple" = "Es ist ein Apfel."

The "an apple" in "it eats an apple" takes the article einen because the apple can receive the action "eat." In other words, "apple" is accusative case here and the article changes. "It is an apple" = "Es ist einen Apfel."

Tl;dr - ist and isst is pronounced the same way. If the object is masculine singular, the article attached to it should be able to let you know if the verb is ist or isst. If the object is feminine, neuter or plural, context is the only way to tell the difference.

April 16, 2013


You have a mistake in your post (your mind must have wandered while you were typing).

Second paragraph:
"It is an apple" = "Es ist einen Apfel."

This should read "It eats an apple" = "Es isst einen Apfel."

May 18, 2013


Es ist ein Apfel - it is Nominative, "It is an apple"

October 6, 2018


Danke agenTsi merci

March 11, 2019


I don't think anyone who previously replied to your post actually understood what you were asking. The truth is you can't tell the different because they SOUND the exact same. This is a bad question placed in the wrong part of the program. Keep up the good work.

June 26, 2019


put it

July 22, 2019


how will I know when to use ein Apfel and einen Apfel?

July 26, 2013


"Einen" if the subject is doing something to the apple - "Ich esse einen Apfel." "Die Frau isst einen Apfel."

"Ein" otherwise - "Das ist ein Apfel." "Es ist ein Apfel."

August 11, 2013


Vielen dank!

April 25, 2018


Thanks a lot......

April 10, 2018



June 27, 2018


If the apple does the action it is ein if something is doing the action TO the apple it is einen

January 28, 2015


So I typed "Es isst ein Apfel" and it translated it as "It is an apple" But isn't "isst" the he/she form of "to eat"?

August 28, 2013


The way I get it: To be: sie/er/es ist ein apfel To eat: sie/er/es isst einen apfel

February 11, 2014


makes sense

June 15, 2018


I did the same thing! I am also interested in the difference.

November 8, 2013


For me too and it even said correct! Probably should report problem?

February 19, 2014


Why "That is an apple" is not correct?

July 23, 2019


why this cannot mean "this is an apple"? or "that is an apple"?

December 7, 2018


this is an apple, or that is an apple are correct too, are they not?

December 7, 2018


Why doesn't 'this is' work for 'es ist?'

January 16, 2019


Why is "THAT is an apple" wrong?

April 12, 2019


Why It is an apple good and this is an apple not?

May 21, 2019


Es ist or es isst ?

June 11, 2018


I want to learn the german ABC... Where is that option???

May 16, 2019


"an apple" shold be "einen Apfel" , isnt it???

September 4, 2013


All forms of "ein" mean a/an/one. There is no rule in German like the English "an" before a vowel.

September 4, 2013


can someone please tell me the difference between ein and einen?thanks

September 13, 2013


Same word, same meaning. The difference is the case. For masculine nouns in nominative case it is "ein". For masculine nouns in accusative case it is "einen". Any follow up questions can probably be answered here: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/370405

There is probably info there that you don't need, but there are several links that should be helpful.

September 14, 2013


Can i translate This into "This is an apple" ?

December 24, 2013


Aparently not.. I did so and it says im wrong

May 21, 2019


I am having difficulty hearing the difference between ist and isst. Are they pronounced the same?

May 28, 2018


Wouldn't it be das ist ein apfel vs. es ist ein apfel? The current learning objectives are isst, esse, esst, essen, not es or ist - so possibly there is a mistake?

August 29, 2018


In pronunciation questions, most of the time I feel I'm totally correct but it does keep making me wrong. Sometimes I go crazy. Am I the only one here with this problem? Somebody help, pls!

September 8, 2018


einen apfel

October 24, 2018


They sound exactly the same

January 23, 2019


How can we tell ist and isst apart!?!

February 14, 2019


This was a tricky one, i enjoyed it because it forced me to think for a second. Most questions i can respond to almost without thinking :)

February 19, 2019


Merci agentTsi danke

March 11, 2019


Give lingot <3

July 27, 2019


In Portuguese the verb "to be" is "intransitivo" which means that it does not need a complement/an object. I concluded that since the noun "Apfel" is not recieving the action of the verb (the verb is "intransitive"), we need to use the "basic form", not the "accusative". If I am right, we will never use the accusative with the verb "to be" (and also not with no other intransitive verb)

August 26, 2019


How come it is "ein Apfel" not "einen Apfel" Then what about what we studied in the former part?

October 31, 2019


Dear Hohenems... The link you provided has been checked by me, but you still please need to move from technical terms at this point in time to more simpler terms for me... My question therefore is: Why not "einen Apfel"? If you say it's in the nominative form, what is in the nominative form, "Es" or "Ist"? and how and why is it in the nominative form? Cheers

May 2, 2013


Here's another way to think about it. The subject of the sentence, "es," is in the nominative case. The subject of a sentence--that is, the thing that "acts," is always nominative--thus, der, die, das.

In this case, "Es ist ein Apfel" means Es = "Apfel"; the sentence essentially says the two things are the same thing, so they're also both the same case--which means the Apfel is also nominative case.

(In case you're interested--in English, "ein Apfel" in this sentence would be called a predicate nominative, which means that it's the same thing that the subject of the sentence is.)

May 2, 2013


Hey Chris, I wrote up a nice long paragraph to help you, then accidentally hit the "back" button and lost it. So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to write up a "discussion" detailing my process for answering the questions I had when I first started learning German with Duo. Then I'll post the discussion in the German forum, complete with links and step by step instructions. Then I'll come back here and give you the link to my discussion. The discussion will be a general "how to", but I'll use the sentence "Es ist ein Apfel" as an example, and hopefully I address all your questions and other people's questions too. I will not explain what "nominative case" is but I will point you in the right direction. Also, I know that when I ask questions sometimes the person answering starts using terms that I don't understand (and never learned in school), so I'll do what I can to keep it simple. This might take me an hour or so, but it is a slow day at my work today, so I'll enjoy doing it. ;) Cheers.

May 2, 2013


Cheers then.. l'll check back in a bit.

(Please note: I've also been doing my research. By research, I mean the LINKS you and the other experienced DUO staff members or personnel or moderators provide to us individuals (WE BEGINNERS), and I must say that the LINKS basically move on to websites with more complex topics about the German Language. The LINKS sometimes take you to pages that have little English translations of the German words, so how then does one take the time to learn that (I cant use the German-English dictionary to translate a website page because that simply takes me from learning the initial German word which I was initially seeking; in this case: Einen Apfel or Ein Apfel, to a more advanced form of other German languages, which I cant possibly know right away - The reason why? Because I'm still a BEGINNER - please note that).

May 2, 2013


Here you go:

All links should be English (unless I copied one wrong). I tried to explain things step by step in a simple style that hopefully non-English natives can also follow and get a use out of (I tried to imagine if I was a French speaker trying to learn German through English...). Hopefully this helps you and answers the "ein" or "einen" question. As always, if you have anymore questions just ask (either myself or other Duo members).

May 2, 2013


"an apple" shold be "einen Apfel" , isnt it???

June 20, 2013


Read through the discussion thread. Your answer is listed at least twice. Hope that helps!

June 20, 2013


only it it's having something done to it - that is, it's the object of an action (verb) by an subject

February 7, 2014


So the act of "being" is not conjugated in German?

August 7, 2013


I almost got this wrong. The error i made was "It is a apple", instead of "an" apple. This is confusing as i thought "an" was "einen". Can someone help me out?

August 16, 2013


Ein and all of its forms mean a/an/one. The reason for the difference in spelling is due to gender and case. See this chart... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_articles

August 16, 2013


In English, a = an, but "an" is used before a noun that begins with a vowel: an apple an orange an elephant BUT a banana a carrot a dog

August 16, 2013



September 1, 2014


Why "ein apfel" not "einen apfel"?

September 14, 2014


Shudnt it be einen apfel?

October 21, 2015


Bla bla

December 30, 2015


Sometimes it is EIN APFEL, sometimes it is EINEN APFEL... damn good how am I supposed to know the fricking difference?

November 20, 2013


see here:

ein Apfel liegt an der Tisch (...lie on the table)

Du isst einen Apfel (you eat an Apple)

September 19, 2014


It's einen if the apple (or any other masculine word) is having something done to it. For example if it's being eaten... "er isst einen Apfel".

If it just "is" (e.g. das ist ein Apfel), then it's "ein". If it's doing something to something else (I'm struggling to think of an example of that!) then it's also ein.

September 19, 2014


Why not 'eine Apfel' ?

March 6, 2013


Apfel is masculine - der Apfel, ein Apfel

March 6, 2013


Why not EINEN Apfel? I've met such a construction before at this site

April 7, 2013


Because it is in nominative form. You are right though that usually it would be "einen" and accusative form, but "ist" shows you that you are describing a predicate noun. This link should help you (second paragraph):

April 7, 2013


It would never be "eine Apfel" because Apfel is masculine, der Apfel. It is only feminine in it's plural form, "die Äpfel"

April 4, 2013


Äpfel, the plural of Apfel, is still a masculine noun O_o

April 7, 2013


it must be "es ist einen Apfel." why is it "ein Apfel" ?

May 18, 2013


Hi there xyxross! This question was answered in the thread already. In the future, please read through threads prior to asking your question. There is a good chance it was already asked and answered.
Read through the thread and/or read this link for your answer:

May 18, 2013
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