Hilfe mich! Die, der, das and den!
I have a massive issue!
I know, Die, der, das are feminine, masculine and neuter. But why does it say, "Die, Apfel," Instead of "Das Apfel," or maybe "Den Apfel," please help me!
I don't even know what "den" means.
In German we have four cases, and just as Klastiron said you change the article for the noun depending on case, number, preposition, or certain verbs.
Nominative: der Apfel (sg) ; die Äpfel (pl)
Genitive: des Apfels (sg) ; der Äpfel (pl)
Dative: dem Apfel (sg) ; den Äpfeln (pl)
Accusative: den Apfel (sg) ; die Äpfel (pl)
This is how masculine nouns change their articles.
die Frau ; die Frauen
der Frau ; der Frauen
der Frau ; den Frauen
die Frau ; die Frauen
and finally neuter nouns:
das Kind ; die Kinder
des Kindes ; der Kinder
dem Kind ; den Kindern
das Kind ; die Kinder
Unfortunately, you will have to learn the gender of the nouns by heart. However, there are some endings for nouns which have always the same gender. Nouns ending in -ung, -keit, heit, -schaft, -ur, -ei are always feminine.
Apfel is a masculine noun. The definite article can change forms based on case, number, prepositions, or certain verbs. Here are some examples of it in sentences:
- Der Apfel ist rot. -> The apple is red. Der Apfel is in nominative (subject)
- Ich esse den Apfel. -> I eat the apple. den Apfel is in accusative (direct object).
- Ein Wurm ist in dem Apfel. -> A worm is in the apple. dem Apfel is in the dative case because of the preposition "in", and is describing a location (two-way preposition you'll learn later). Also, "in dem" shortens to "im".
- die Äpfel sind rot. -> The apples are red. die Äpfel is the plural apples. Also, notice the dots over the Ä.
Wait so if I say.
Der Äpfel sind lecker. (The apples are tasty)
Would be like that.
I don't have a good example for den... errrg.
Den Top ist Heiß is like that?
I don't have a good example for dem.
So if it's a plural it's Die.
A subject is Der.
Das is uhhh... neutral?
but for example if I'm talking about a guy for example I would say Die? A guy Der?
I'm so confused!
Let me break down your examples one by one.
Der Äpfel sind lecker.
Apfel (singular, without the umlaut) and Äpfel (plural, with the umlaut) are two different words. Keep that in mind.
"Die" is the German article for ALL plurals, no matter which gender they take in the singular form. Do not confuse this with the singular feminine "die." Although the singular would be "der Apfel," in your example, you should use "die Äpfel" instead, since it is plural.
In this sentence, "Äpfel" is your SUBJECT. This means it is in the NOMINATIVE case. Since "Äpfel" is plural and nominative, the article should be "die." Die Äpfel sind lecker.
Den Top ist Heiß.
Side note: Don't capitalize adjectives (heiß).
In this example, "Top" is again the SUBJECT. This means it is in the NOMINATIVE case. And this time, it is singular. Since it is singular, nominative, and masculine, we know that the article here should be "der." Der Top ist heiß.
Every singular noun must be masculine (der), feminine (die), or neuter (das). This does not ever change. If you are not sure which gender a noun is, you have to look it up in a dictionary. It is best to learn the article WITH the noun. When a singular noun becomes plural, the article changes to "die" (so it looks like the feminine article, but it is not the same).
English only has one definite article: the. German has multiple words for this same concept. At this point, you really only need to know four of them:
Every single noun is automatically assigned one of these articles. In other words, every single noun is either masculine, feminine, or neuter. There is no pattern to this, really; you just have to learn the article at the same time you learn the word.
You used "apple" as your example. You will NEVER see "die Apfel" or "das Apfel." You will see "der Apfel" and "die Äpfel." <--That last one is the plural "die," NOT the feminine "die." You will be able to tell 1) because of the umlaut and 2) through context.
Now, you also asked about "den." German has more than four words that can replace the English "the." Some others that you may see are "den," "dem," and "des." These have to do with cases, which are a more advanced grammatical concept. To put it very simply: When the apple is the subject of the sentence, it will be "der Apfel." When it is the direct object in a sentence, the article will change to "den Apfel." When it is the indirect object in a sentence, it will change to "dem Apfel." I would suggest that you not worry about this right now. You will learn about cases in time.
Der, die, and das as you have described are subjects of the sentence. Once they become and object of the sentence or other parts of speech, the case will change depending on how you use it, for instance to den or dem. Die Aepfel (Apfel with an umlaut over the A) is plural. It sounds like you are just beginning German, you'll get to the other cases as you progress. Good luck!