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.
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.
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)
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
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.)
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.
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).
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).
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.
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: