"I am eating an apple."

Translation:Ich esse einen Apfel.

March 20, 2013

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


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.


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


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".



If you hit the "tips" button at the beginnig of a lesson, it'll give you more information about the grammar.


If you are using the mobile app, these options won't appear. However, if you use the desktop site then you can see that Duolingo offers information and examples before you start answering questions. I suggest going through a couple levels each lesson on the desktop site before using the mobile app to finish them.


I thought "einen" was plural?


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


Bcz ein changes to einen when the noun or pronoun acts on it


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


Same. I kick ass at writing and grammar in english, but I have zero clue what any of the names are for anything. Verb? Haha, whats that? ❤❤❤❤ if I know what an accusative case is lol.


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


how do I know apple is supposed to be masculine?


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!


Why cant it be isst instead of esse


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


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


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!


The link isn't responding :(


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


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


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


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.


How do we know if it is accusative?


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!


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


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;)


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!) :)


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


How can I tell when to use isst vs essen?


Why do we use "esse" and not "isst"in this case?

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