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  5. Why "Es gibt EINEN Apfel", bu…


Why "Es gibt EINEN Apfel", but "Da ist EIN Apfel"?

I thought 'da ist' and 'es gibt' are synonyms for the same expression. So why one is followed by accusative and the other by nominative? Also are there any verbs other than "sein" that are followed by the nominative case?

August 10, 2017



Here is my guess:

  1. Da ist ein Apfel

Logically speaking, that means:

Ein Apfel (subject) + ist (verb) + da (pronoun)

So Apfel is subject and therefore it goes in the nominative case

  1. Es gibt einen Apfel

That means, literally:

"It gives an apple", or

Es (subject) + gibt (verb) + einen Apfel (direct object)

So Apfel is now the direct object and it takes the accusative case.


That's what I also thought


Hi, sorry I´m not a teacher. But in my opinion they are not exactly synonyms.

Ist da ein Apfel? (auf dem Tisch) (is there an apple on the table) Ja, da ist ein Apfel. Wer oder was ist auf dem Tisch? Ein Apfel.

Gibt es einen Apfel? (in diesem Haus) (exsists an apple in this house) Ja, es gibt einen Apfel. Wen oder was gibt es in dem Haus? Einen Apfel.

Does that help?

greez Angel


That helped a lot actually, thanks!


Unlike other verbs, the verb 'sein' ('to be') does not create an object, but what is called a predicate noun--a noun (or noun phrase) that renames the subject. In other words, the subject 'becomes' the predicate noun.

"She is a good woman." The subject 'she' becomes 'a good woman' (the predicate noun phrase).

"I am a singer." 'I' (subj) becomes 'a singer' (predicate noun).

You can actually reverse these sentences, and keep the same conjugation of the verb:

"A good woman is she." "A singer am I."

This is grammatically correct, although it isn't used much in today's English, barring poetry or riddles--or Star Wars.

In German, predicate nouns take the Nominative case, just like the subject does. I hope that this helps you. :)


This did help me indeed. So which verbs 'create' a predicate noun?

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