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  5. "Er isst seinen Apfel."

"Er isst seinen Apfel."

Translation:He eats his apple.

March 15, 2013



Does this mean he is eating his own apple, or that he is eating another man's apple?


Yes, but if it's someone else's apple, there's probably a lot of emphasis and indignant pointing involved.


You're posting this because of sin/hans, right?


It's a feature of the Swedish language, mainly used to avoid conflict :) 'Han äter sin äpple' means 'he eats his (own) apple' while 'han äter hans äpple' means that he is eating someone else's apple, and probably shouldn't be!


Russian language has it better. Possessive pronoun Свой m (своя f/своё n/свои pl) means his/her/its/their own, so it's same word for each gender.


If only all languages had the sin/han thing!


Italian has it as well, eventhough not everybody uses them both: that'll be "(il/la) proprio/a" (his/her own) and "(il/la) suo/a" (belonging to someone else). In commonly spoken language people tend to only use "suo/a" because you can put a lot of context in your sentence, but it is nevertheless more correct to make the distinction :)


Great to know, since I've been dying to learn italian! I think these kind of distinctions make a language take longer to learn but at the same time are easier! Thanks for the info :)


Er and ihr sound so similar !


ihr sounds like "ear" and er sounds like "air"


I do not understand why is seinen, and not seine. what is the difference?


Because its an akkusative form. in nominative apple (Masculine) would be "ein" (a) so, in this case the nominative would be "einen" (a) so the action affects the "thing" which is the apple. it can not be seine because in that case the gender of the word has to be a feminine.


Why is "he is eating its apple" incorrect? What if he took an apple from a donkey and was eating it? In English, we would then use an impersonal pronoun to talk about the donkey.


Exactly, i wrote it like that just to see if it would be accepted, seems to me it should be ok....deutsche sprache schwere sprache


it should apply for "her" too


Yup. I was marked wrong for that also.


Can anybody explain why it isn't "her" please?

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The owner of "seinen (his) Apfel" is a male person, while "ihren (her) Apfel" would be of a female person.
Er isst seinen Apfel. = He eats his apple.
Er isst ihren Apfel. = He eats her apple.

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Gern geschehen.


I always get questions similar to this wrong, I don't know anything about which words are feminine or masculine or neuter.


so if Apfel was feminen would it be Er isst seine Apfel?


Exactly, since the accusative only gives change to masculine pronouns.


The word deine is both accusative and possessive?


Yes, deine is an accusative form of a possessive word.


seinen also work for neutral( i.e it) so is it correct " He is eating its apple"


What's the difference between sein and seinen


It's sein when it's followed by a neuter word, it's seinen when it's followed by a masculine one. This, however, is applied only in the akkusative (which is kind of when it describes an object instead of a subject)


Could this not also be 'Ihr' isst? It sounds a bit like it?


It sounds quite right to me. Other parts of the sentence reveal that it has to be "er":
Er isst seinen Apfel / Ihr esst euren Apfel.


So in that vein, Er isst ihren Apfel & Sie isst seinen Apfel would be his eating her apple and her eating his apple?


Yes it seems correct to me.


Yes,,,this is my qu.


Germandy is right. It is not possible the combination "Ihr isst", in that case would be, "Ihr esst". besides there´s a noticeable way to pronunciate each one.
Er = (E like Elephant and, A like Apple, "EA") Ihr = ( I like Inside, and A, like Apple, "IA")



is "seinen" used for "his" before masculine German nouns only in the accusative case?


Yep. If it's not accusative but nominative, "his apple" is sein Apfel.


I beg to differ: Er isst SEINEN APFEL. Wen oder Was isst er? Seinen Apfel. Hence Akkusativ. Alltough SEINEN is Genitiv: Wessen Apfel isst er? Seinen. You can always find out by asking this questions:

Nominativ: Wer oder Was? (Who or What?) Genitiv: Wessen? (Whose?) Dativ: Wem? (Whom?) Akkusativ: Wen oder Was? (Who or What?)

Apparently the questions for Nominativ and Akkusativ are the same in English.

Hope it still helps


Thanks man, this helps me a lot


"Seinen" is not a genitive. It is a possessive pronoun and matches the case of the object possessed.

The genitive form would be "seines" for a male owner and a male or neuter object owned, and "seiner" for a female object owned.

One of the few verbs in German that use the genitive is "gedenken" (to commemorate).

Er gedenkt seines Vaters.
Er gedenkt seiner Frau.
Er gedenkt seines Kindes.


Your examples still do not use the genitive form of a pronoun -- they're just using the possessive adjective.

The pronoun would be Er gedenkt seiner.


Yes, my examples do use the genitive form of the possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns are declinated like adjectives in German to match the case of the object owned.

Your example contains a pronoun and it is the genitive form of the pronoun, but It is not a possessive pronoun at all. It is the genitive of the personal pronoun "he".

Nom.: Er ist hier. (He is here.)
Gen.: Ich gedenke seiner.
(I commemorate him.)
Dat.: Ich gab ihm das Buch.
(I gave him the book.)
Akk.: Ich sehe ihn. (I see him.)


We may be using different vocabulary.

For me, there is a distinction between "possessive pronoun" (which is a pronoun and stands instead of a noun) and "possessive adjective" or "possessive determiner" (which stands before/together with a noun).

For example, "my book" uses the possessive adjective "my", while "your book is blue but mine is black" uses the possessive pronoun "mine".

Or in German, mein versus meins.

Your examples are not pronouns because they occur together with a noun.


Now I understand. It actually is a difference in vocabulary. What's called a "possessive adjective" in English is called a "Possessivpronomen" in German. We usually do not make this distinction between "mein" and "meins" as in your example, both are called Possessivpronomen. In German we consider "mein/dein/sein/ihr..." as pronouns as they stand for the owner (the king's speech/his speech). Sometimes "Possessivartikel" is used for this usage of the Possessivpronomen.

Please compare: https://www.deutschplus.net/pages/Possessivpronomen


So does nominative pronoun always come first when forming a sentence, since it acts like a subject of the sentence?


No, it can get shuffled around for emphasis, because the articles tell us what's subject, and what's object. So "Der Mann beißt den Hund" is unexpected, but "Den Mann beißt der Hund" happens all the time.

Beginners like us should probably not do this, though. For one thing, even if we get it right, native speakers are likely to figure we got it wrong, and go with the word order.


How can you tell its not Äpfel?


Äpfel is pronounced "Ape-full" while Apfel is pronounced "App-full" I hope I helped!


Wait, i thought "Ä" was pronounced like the "E" in "Bed."


The easiest way to remember how to pronounce a vowel with an umlaut is to curve your lips as if you are saying the oo in "cook." So to say Äpfel, begin by saying "A" as in "ape", but curve your lips. The sound you end up with is how to pronounce it the Ä.


That would be "seine Äpfel", because it's plural accusative.


Äpfel means "apples." Apfel means "apple."


I have a very hard time differentiating Ihr from Er when the robot lady speaks.


How would you say "He eats her apple." ? Er isst ihren Apfel?


That's correct


Sein or seinen ??


How would you say "He eats her apple as well!" Er isst ihren Apfel auch!"?

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The correct way to say it is: Er isst auch ihren Apfel.


Why not "ihr" instead of seinen? Like in the "die Katze trinkt ihr wasser" case? I'm so confused!


Ihr is used for her, seinen is used for its, the "en" is added because it is an accusative case.


This example/question is not testing the right case that we are supposed to be learning. This is a genitive "his" for possession. As a direct object, the accusative case should be asking us to label the apple as "the" or "an".


Why not seine Apfel ,, or sinen Äpfel ?


seine Apfel is the correct form but not in this accusative case. The "en" is added when the noun is masculine. And Äpfel is plural.


Why don't you use ''sein'' here? What do we use ''seinen''? What's the difference?


What is the different between ....Ihr and Er....


Ihr means you (you guys) Er means He


Why is it "seinen" which seems plural with a singular noun?


It is not plural, it means that the sentence is in an accusative form


I don't understand why 'isst' is used in some cases and 'Essen' is used in others?


Verb conjugation


Essen with a capital E, used as a noun, means "food". "Isst" is the conjugation of the verb essen, meaning "to eat", for the 3rd person (he/she/it or er/sie/es).


Can someone please explain the difference between Sein and Seine/Seinen?


Sein is neutre and masculine means his or its, seine is feminine and means her and seinen is sein in masculine in accusative cases.


why not ihn Apfel, ihn is also in Acc. Case


ihn = "him"; seinen = "his".

It's not "him apple" but "his apple".


Seinen Apfel seems new...


why "seinen" instead of "deine" ?


What is the difference in pronunciation between “ist” and “isst”?


No difference in pronunciation.


So, i think that i get it - the accusative of this would be "einen Apfel", so therefore, to make it his, it is changed to 'seinen'.


Could you say, "Seinen Apfel isst er?"

  • 2182

When you want to emphasize that he eats an apple and not an orange, or that he eats his apple and not hers, then you can say it this way.


Why can I not say "Er isst sein Apfel"?


Because the apple is the direct object and so has to be in the accusative case.

And Apfel is masculine, so you need the masculine accusative form of the possessive -- which is seinen.

sein would be either masculine nominative (e.g. sein Apfel ist rot "his apple is red") or neuter nominative or accusative. Er isst sein Brot would be correct, for example, since Brot is neuter and so the correct accusative form here would be sein.


Its apple. A non human's apple?


Question: when listening to this sentence, it sounds more like "Er isst einen Apfel." It is hard to hear or notice the s in seinen in this sentence. Is there a way to know for sure whether someone's saying einen or seinen, or does it purely depend on context if their pronunciation isn't extremely specific?


Can't it be " he is eating their apple"


No. "their apple" would be ihren Apfel; seinen Apfel is "his apple" or (possibly) "its apple".


Why the sentence in English is at present simple instead o present continuous?


No particular reason. Both are possible translations.

"What does Billy do at school during the first recess every day? He eats his apple."

"What is Billy doing right now? He's eating his apple."

Both would be the same in German:

Was macht Billy in der Schule jeden Tag in der ersten Pause? Er isst seinen Apfel.

Was macht Billy gerade? Er isst seinen Apfel.


What does 'accusative' and
'nominative' mean? So clueless

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There are 4 cases in German: Nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. Depending on what function a noun or a pronoun has in the sentence it is set in one of these 4 cases.

The accusative is also called direct object in other languages; the dative is called indirect object.

Here are links for:
direct object (accusative): www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/direct_object.htm
nominative: http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/nominative_case.htm
indirect object (dative): http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/indirect_object.htm
and genitive: http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/genitive_case.htm


Please why seinen instead of sein

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Because "Apfel" is in the accusative case.

The suject of a sentence is in the nominative case. It says what somebody or what something is doing.
The accusative case shows who or what is receiving the action of the subject.

In the sentence: "Sein Vater isst seinen Apfel." you have twice the possesive "sein", the first in the nominative form (question: Wer isst? Answer: sein Vater isst), the second in the accusative form (question: Was isst sein Vater? Answer: seinen Apfel).


What's the difference between isst and frisst?


Please re-read the lesson notes where this is explained: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Animals-1

The lesson notes are on the website for nearly every new unit -- please read them before starting a new one.

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