"I am eating an apple."

Translation:Ich esse einen Apfel.

March 20, 2013



and why can't it be Ich esse ein Apfel?

March 22, 2013


Because Apfel in is accusative case in this sentence. I eat what? - an apple. Masculine indefinite article for accusative is einen. Here's more on cases and an article on declension:

Cases: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/cas_01.html
Declensions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_declension

Hope that helps.

March 22, 2013


Why doesn't the program actually go over any of this?

December 18, 2013


I'm not one to defend Duo's grammar explanations (or lack thereof), but the gist of the cases and declension is explained at the beginning of "Basics 2".


December 18, 2013


I thought "einen" was plural?

August 3, 2014


There is no plural "a" in English or plural "ein" in German. Look at the links I posted.

August 3, 2014


for an we use einen

February 22, 2015


isnt this jumping the gun a little? i'm on the fourth lesson, I havent been told about accusative case yet! no fair!

September 4, 2013


how do I know apple is supposed to be masculine?

March 21, 2013


You have to learn it. If they ask you to translate an English word to German and you don't know the gender, look it up in a dictionary. And when you learn a new word in German, don't just learn the word, you must learn the gender. The best way to do this is to learn the nominative definite article that goes with the noun (der, die, das). So for apple (if this is your first time learning the word), don't learn "Apfel", learn "der Apfel". A feminine noun like Forelle (trout) learn "die Forelle". A neuter noun like Brot (bread), learn "das Brot". There are some general rules to help you guess or remember some genders. If you search in the discussions or maybe even Google you can find some hints and tips.

Hope that helps, best of luck!

March 21, 2013


Argh! This is a big jump from the other stuff. I don't know the subject/object stuff in English let alone German.

December 8, 2013


why it can't be ich esse den Apfel ?

March 20, 2013


"an" apple, not "the" apple. "den" = "the"

March 21, 2013


Why cant it be isst instead of esse

June 11, 2013


That is what I would like to know. I can't figure out when to use esse and when to use isst.

June 14, 2013


German (and many other languages) do more conjugating than English. "I eat" but "she eats". "Ich esse" aber "sie isst". Here is the conjugation table for "essen": http://www.canoo.net/inflection/essen:V:haben

For now, just focus on the first column on the left (present - indicative) and ignore for now the forms in that column that use an eszett "ß". You may come across those forms in old books, but modern spelling for those words (in this case, not all cases) is the double "s"...esst and isst.

Don't get overwhelmed looking at the tables, just focus on the one I pointed out for now. Hope that helps!

June 18, 2013


The endings go.... Ich esse-i eat du isst-you eat er/sie/es isst- he/she/it eats so the endings to the verbs are e, st, t

June 26, 2014


first person of singular i think isst is for he,she ,it

June 17, 2013


You're right. Isst is also for "du".

June 18, 2013


Does anyone have a tip to remember if it's an accusitive or not?

October 18, 2013


If you can ask "wen oder was....(who or what... do you eat)" then it's accusative, if you can ask "mit wem oder womit... (with whom or with what.... do you play)", then it is dativ. Was ist du? Ich esse eineN Apfel. Womit spielst du? Mit eineM Apfel. Very difficult even for many German speaking people;)

November 5, 2014


http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa042098.htm is a good summary. When I learnt German though, nobody told me (until much later in my studies, at which point, I knew them anyway) about a GREAT tip to not have to remember the gender of many words ending in a similar fashion... I explain badly, but basically, here is an explanatory table: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Gender/Gender.html (I particularly like the end of this article where it mentions how articles influence how you 'feel' about words. I'm a native French speaker and definitely found it hard to switch to the German way of thinking -for me, a table is definitely feminine, but the German der Tisch made me switch my brain into thinking of it as masculine!) :)

September 25, 2015


Why is it 'esse' instead of 'isst'? I can't grasp the difference between the two >.<

January 13, 2014


Try first to put the sentence in not-ing form: "I am eating" = "I eat", "he is eating" = "he eats". Whenever you have the -s in English you use -t in German.

May 29, 2014


Yaay thanx for helping about this, I was asking how to deal with this :)

July 17, 2014


Why cant i answer 'esse ich einen Apfel' ?

February 4, 2015


That would be a question. "Esse ich einen Apfel?" And the answer is: "Ja, ich esse einen Apfel!" Subject - verb - object

February 5, 2015


What about "Ich bin esse einen Apfel" ?

May 25, 2013


That doesn't work in German.

June 5, 2013



August 9, 2013


The "I am _ing" form of expressing things in English is called the continuous aspect. It doesn't exist in standard German. There are some dialects that do use it on occasion with certain verbs in certain contexts. Both the English "I am eating" and "I eat" are translated to "Ich esse" in German (and vice versa). Hope that helps.

August 9, 2013


Thank you. It's just another loop to the learning curve.

August 9, 2013


How do we know if it is accusative?

June 5, 2013


Go here:

Click on the "cases overview" link, then go back to the original link, click on "nominative case", then do the same for accusative (and the other cases if you're interested, but maybe wait until you get a handle on the accusative).

Short version, nominative case is the subject, accusative is the direct object.
I am eating an apple. I am eating = nominative, an apple = accusative. The accusative answers the question "what?". I am eating what? An apple. An apple is accusative.

When you read the accusative link at the website I am sending you to up there ^ pay attention to the verbs that are followed by nominative. These will trip you up later on.

Hope that helps!

June 5, 2013


Ok, i understand why in this sentence 'ich esse einen Apfel', Apfel is accusative but for example here: 'Ich bin ein Mann' Mann also responds to the question 'what?' So why isn't it 'einen Mann' ?

August 12, 2013


Never mind, I found the answer hehe

For those interested:

The nominative case is also used to describe predicate nouns (i.e., nouns that are on the other side of verbs such as sein, bleiben, heißen, werden, scheinen from the main subject): Die Prinzessin ist und bleibt die schönste Frau, die die Zwerge sich vorstellen können. The princess is and remains the most beautiful woman that the dwarves can imagine.

August 12, 2013


I am confused about ein, eine and einen; and der and die!! The problem here is that we can not guess the gender of some words!!

February 11, 2014


In Duolingo, if you hover your pointer over a word in German, it shows some possible translations. If it's a noun, it also shows the gender. I noticed that in this lesson.

December 4, 2014


here is a general guess that I used when learning French, which applies nicely to German - if it seems feminine in English, it IS feminine in German. With that in mind, you just need to remember the few exceptions. (such as trout being feminine although we can't tell in English)

July 25, 2014


When to use esse and esst?

November 5, 2014


Infinitive = essen, Singular 1. ich esse, 2. du isst, 3. er/sie isst, Plural 1. wir essen, 2. ihr esst, 3. sie essen

You (all) are eating an apple = Ihr esst einen Apfel.

November 5, 2014


What's the difference between 'esse' and 'isst'?

December 8, 2014


So essen is the base Esse for Ich (I) Isst for du,er,sie,es(you,he,she,it) Essen for Sie,sie(they),wir Esst for ihr

February 4, 2015


"Ich bin esse einen Apfel." why can't this be true?

February 21, 2015


It is definitely wrong, you can not translate the English form "to be" + ...ing directly to German. "Ich bin" needs an adjective or subject, but never a verb.

February 23, 2015


Ich esse einen apfel

February 23, 2015


Why is [einen] before the [Apfel] but [das]?

February 25, 2015


why "i am eating an apple: ich esse einEN Apfel" but "i am reading a newspaper: ich lese einE Zeitung" ?

i thought the end are both accusative?

November 6, 2017


That's right, they are both in the accusative tense.

Apfel is masculine and so it takes the indefinite article einen in the accusative case; Zeitung is feminine and so it takes the indefinite article eine in the accusative case.

"I am riding a horse" would be Ich reite ein Pferd with the indefinite article ein in the accusative case because Pferd is neuter.

November 6, 2017


Why " Ich isst eine Apfel" is not correct

March 22, 2019


Why "einen" and not "eine?"

May 5, 2019
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