"An elephant does not eat grass."
Translation:हाथी घास नहीं खाता ।
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This sentence (in english) means "elephants in general do not eat grass". It is a general statement and not means one elephant (if so, the english sentence would be 'one elephant do not eat grass').
So the corresponding translation (for the generalised statement) should not contain "ek"
I dont understand,
"एक 'noun'" is often accepted in duolingo to mean "A(n) 'noun'". In english you can use "a(n)" to mean there is one of a thing, like "I have an apple" or to refer to a nonspecific noun (indefinite article) "an apple is round".
Since hindi doesnt have a definite article (like "the") it seems like usually whenever you use a noun on its own it is assumed to be specific. So हाथी (singular) on its own is "the elephant", unless you use एक to specify that this is a nonspecific elephant. From that understanding I would think that I need to use एक here.
I understand that I am wrong but I can't find a way to intuitively know when I should use एक and when I should not. Is this just something to be memorized?
i think एक in hindi is really needed when you mean "one" (1), not necessarily "an", which even en english is used to talk about nonspecific things. In this sentence with elephant, using एक would mean one specific elephant, as well as if you wanted to talk about 'the' elephant that is there or here, in which case you'd have to use vah or yah. since it is a general statement, a generalization, a universal truth or things like that, hindi does not use articles, so you can translate it in english as 'an (nonspecific) elephant' which represents the elephants worldwide, or 'elephants' as a group of individuals. that's my wild guess, please correct me if i'm wrong.
*Kipling's Jungle Book, that is.
Rudyard Kipling grew up in (British) India, and the story's at least implicitly (I think some place names may be mentioned though) set there.
Note that as a colonial-era text it might (I don't know for sure, just guessing) not be that well received by all.