"We need a cupboard."
Translation:Wir brauchen einen Schrank.
Now I really feel like I need to go back to High School English class to remember what nominative, accusative and declension means. Except that when I was in that English class where we broke down sentences into their various parts, I don't remember using any of those words. I know it equates to something in English but I can't seem to figure it out. I am feeling really old now. = ]
I agree completely. .. since starting on Duo, I've realized I was not taught my native English language via the terms "nominative, accusative, dative etc". I was introduced to the 'words', but not taught language through the concepts. I struggle here to translate the sentences explaining the translations! Now I can't figure out how I know English at all!!!
In English, the distinctions between the cases are minimally important as the words do not really change no matter which case is currently being used. In German, however (and many other languages), these grammatical cases ARE very important (as are grammatical genders etc.). For example: English: A man (who - nominative) gives a man (whom/what - dative) a table (who/what - accusative). As you can see, there is no difference between a man and a man, no matter that one is nominative and the other dative. There also wouldn't be a difference if you put a table into the dative position by changing the sentence to '.. gives a table a new varnish' - it would still be a table. German: Ein Mann gibt einem Mann einen Tisch. As you can see, the articles change, endings can be affected (as on the articles here) and so, these distinctions matter a whole lot for getting the 'niggly bits' of the German language right.
I am sure that you have not learned these things in English grammar because, as detailed above, they barely matter for the English language.
Declension means changing the endings of a noun, adjective or article (ein, einen, einem, alt, alten, altem, Mann, Mannes..) to indicate certain grammatical things like number (singular/plural), case (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative) and gender (masculine, feminine, neuter). Again, the English language only really uses declension for indicating number (singular/plural) and as such, the whole concept of declension wouldn't be taught much, only be touched upon when teaching irregular plural forms (and then, I doubt the word 'declension' would really come into play).
DonFuchs1 -- that's the way the German language works shrugs Take it or leave it, really. I'm sure there are rules and phrases in your own native tongue that seem like 'nonsense' to learners. In German, you will need to contend with the fact that we have cases and aren't afraid to use them. ein can turn to eines, einem or einen, depending on which case the accompanying noun is used in.
I'd add that my first move when beginning to learn any language is deciding in advance that everything will make sense. Target language sense.
Saves so much time, frustration, and accusing course contributors of not knowing what they do :p
And makes one actually learn…
Don't worry DonFuchs1, it does get easier as you go on. It's a lot like breaking in a new pair of shoes. It's not always easy, and sometimes you have to add a bandaid or another pair of socks, but you'll get it. You just have to say to yourself this is the way it is and I Will get used to it!
Because the word Schrank is grammatically masculine, and it's the direct object of the verb brauchen (to need), so it's in the accusative case.
So you need the masculine accusative form einen before it.
A = ein?
"a" can be ein, eine, einer, einem, einen in German -- depending on the gender and case of the noun that it accompanies.