In English the "a" can be replaced with one without changing the meaning.' She eats one apple' and 'she eats an apple' mean essentially the same thing, it's just when you want to put emphasis on 'one'. You can put emphasis with which word you stress in german. 'Sie isst einen Apfel' 'Sie ist EINEN Apfel'
The word Apfel is grammatically masculine.
It's also the direct object of the verb "eat", so it has to be in the accusative case.
The masculine accusative form of ein is einen.
That is why it is einen Apfel.
eine would be feminine -- for example, if she were eating a tomato (eine Tomate).
For a neuter noun, it would be ein -- for example, if she were eating a horse (ein Pferd).
Esst means eating and ist means is.
"means" is not really a good word in this context -- German is not a code for English, where each German word means (replaces) exactly one English word in all of its uses.
Rather, German grammar is different from English grammar, so you may have to add or remove words, or use different translations for one word depending on the situation.
For example, "is" can be translated as ist when it is a copula or linking verb, linking a subject to a predicate (typical an adjective, as in "the cow is big", or a noun, as in "this person is my sister").
But when "is" is used as a helping verb (auxiliary verb), it may have to be translated differently, or not at all. For example, "is" is used in English to form the present continuous tense of verbs, as in "John is eating". German does not use a helping verb for this purpose, so you would not translate "is" separately -- you would translate the whole verb form "is eating" as one piece, into the appropriate German verb form.
Also, as you know if you have been reading the tips and notes (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-1/tips-and-notes , final section "no continuous aspect"), standard German does not distinguish present continuous and present simple in its grammar -- and so "John eats bread" (e.g. every day) and "John is eating bread" (i.e. right now) would be translated the same way: as John isst Brot.
Conversely, you could translate John isst Brot. as either "John eats bread." or as "John is eating bread." You can't say that isst "means" only one or the other -- it can be translated as either, unless there is context which would narrow down the use of a specific verb form in English.
So you have
- ich esse = I eat / I am eating
- du isst = you eat / you are eating (speaking to one person informally)
- er isst = he eats / he is eating
- sie isst = she eats / she is eating
- es isst = it eats / it is eating
- wir essen = we eat / we are eating
- ihr esst = you eat / you are eating (speaking to two or more people informally)
- sie essen = they eat / they are eating
- Sie essen = you eat / you are eating (speaking formally, whether to one person or to several at once)
My answer was counted as being wrong
Then I'm going to bet 50 lingots that it was indeed wrong.
If you have a screenshot showing the exercise and your answer, please show it to us -- upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL of the image.
If the mistake is on Duolingo's end, I'll give you 50 lingots.
Eine Frau = a woman
When a woman (eine Frau) is the subject, the verb gets conjugated the same as though he/she/it (er/sie/es) was the subject.
The conjugation of the verb essen for er/sie/es is "isst".
"Esst" is the conjugation for the subject "ihr" (you, informal, plural).
See this conjugation chart:
You can't if you're looking at the verb only. The subject makes the difference. If there's a "du" then it's 2nd person singular, otherwise it's 3rd person singular. There are more verbs like this: vergessen, *fressen, hassen, *lassen, prassen, *fassen, *passen, hissen, *missen, *pissen (vulgar!), *beißen, *heißen, *reißen, *scheißen (vulgar!), spleißen, *gießen, *schießen, *schließen, genießen, niesen, vermiesen, *reisen, *preisen, *weisen. But not: wissen, müssen (they're irregular: du weißt, er/sie weiß etc.) Does anybody have more of these?
Instead of "a apple", you should write "an apple".
Words that start with a vowel sound (such as "apple") take the indefinite article "an" in English.
Unfortunately, Duo's corrections are not always as good as a human's in terms of finding "what the learner probably meant".
When the apple is doing something (Der/ein Apfel fällt - The apple falls) then you use der (the) or ein (a/an). When something is being done to the apple (Er isst den/einen Apfel He eats/is eating the/an apple) then you use den/einen. When words do different things in a sentence (acting, being acted on, receiving actions, owning things) they are said to be in different "cases" in German.
The man eats (The man is doing the action: Nominative Case - Der Mann. Der Mann isst.
I eat the man (the man is being acted on: Accusative Case - den Mann . Ich esse den Mann.
I gave it to the man (the man is the indirect recipient of whatever "it" is: Dative Case - dem Mann) Ich gab es dem Mann.
The man's hat (the man possesses/owns something: Genitive Case - des Mannes) Der Hut des Mannes.
In time you will learn what function a word performs in the sentence, and will know which "case" to use.
Why 'isst' and not 'esst'?
Some German verbs change their vowel in the du and er/sie/es forms -- from e to i or ie, from a to ä, or from au to äu.
essen is one of them, and so it is du isst and er/sie/es isst -- but ich esse, wir essen, ihr esst, sie essen with unchanged vowel.