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  5. "It is an apple."

"It is an apple."

Translation:Es ist ein Apfel.

April 13, 2013

197 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Preetijsr89

Why did we use 'ein' instead of 'einen' for an?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Herbstzeitlose-

Nominative case. "einen" is accusative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CrisPG

But why, "Er isst einen Apfel" is right? when we say "He eats an apple"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonathanM9

Because there apple IS accusative. He would be the nominative and apple would be accusative. The way I keep it straight (my method may help or hurt others) is I think to myself that the victim is always accused of the crime. Example: She attacked him. "Him" is the accusative because she's the victim. The victim (the one that's being acted on) is the accusative and the one "attacking" is the nominative. (I have a dark mind. It's scary in here.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael-Forest

To get even more technical, this "A is B" construction is called "the copula", and, in many languages, the copula works differently than normal "A acts on B" sentences. Because we are directly relating A to B ("It is an apple"), they must share the same case. This should also be true for adjectival uses, like "The boy's hair is red", and suchlike.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William_.

"Because we are directly relating A to B ("It is an apple"), they must share the same case."--Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

@edbradl

I'm not a native German speaker so I can only offer insight as an English speaker who has been here a while. Clarification from a native speaker would help.

Looking it up, it appears (at least according to this site that in addition to sein (to be), both werden (to become) and bleiben (to remain) keep the nominative case. There might be a couple more, but I don't know them off-hand. I'm more familiar with those that are special dative verbs (helfen, glauben, gefallen, etc.) as those are the ones that usually trip me up.

That being said, in the above example using "A" and "B" as stand-ins for your sentences, "A remains B. (I opted not to use the past tense of remain) essentially means the same as "B remains A." However, "A becomes B." isn't the same as "B becomes A." because it involves a transformation. Think of a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. It better like flying, because there is no way it's becoming a caterpillar again.

On top of that, if you put "The student becomes the master." in Google Translate (I know this isn't always the best, but it's done a decent job with German from what I've seen), it gets translated as "Der Schüler wird zum Meister." If it were nominative I assume it would be zur or just der.

Whether it's the intricacies of werden, the presence of the preposition zu, an idiom or just plain wrong, I don't know. Hopefully a native speaker can clear it up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/edbradl

Does the second noun take the nominative case with other linking verbs too? In English, verbs like feel, remain, grow, seem can also create a predicate nominative. (Not just 'to be' verbs.) So if we say in German, "She remained my friend" or "The student becomes the master," would 'friend' and 'master' be in the nominative case too?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshD434453

I realize this is six years later, but I just read this and I appreciate the explanation. Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SSS100

Thanks Michael


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkSteckloff

My method is that when the verb is "is" or "are", this is a statement that the two two nouns on either side of it are equivalent. "It is a potato" means "it" = "potato". If the "it" is nominative (subject of the sentence) then so is the potato. You could as easily have said, "the potato is it." In a statement of equivalence, neither noun is acting upon the other.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarkelDog

Getting there, thanks for this tip.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vn2rAG08

Thanks for the explanation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randomisedx

But she attacked him, why is she the victim?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric_Young

Sanjay.sai lol

I think Jonathan meant to say that he was the victim and thus accusative of his assailant. A better way to remember is a slight tweak on your own observation "She attack me!"

That might also work in his example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdaMerollo

Lol Nicely put :)))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElioSalloum

it was a typo he meant that HE is the victim (not SHE)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sanjay.sai

Because men are usually viewed at fault?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pstraveler

Thanks very much. This is the first explanation that offers a reasonable look into how language evolved. This removes my biggest stumbling block to German grammar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jack_waugh

English has this as well. "I am he."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WMDT75

That actualy helps allot thanks man


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/opuscroakus
  • alot is incorrect. A lot is two words. :)

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mahmoudsab829260

How come ?? You say that she attacked him so he is the victim not she ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

That's right - he is the victim.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/herschelle12

So in one sentence sometimes is accusitive (object) and nominative (subject -person or thing that is doing the action) . I don't understand. Should we look to the noun and ask oursels is that accus. or nominat??


[deactivated user]

    The nominative is the subject of the sentence. The accusative is the object that's having something done to it. If you say "She is an apple," both "she" and "apple" represent the subject of the sentence because she IS the apple. Therefore, there is no accusative case. However, if you say, "She eats an apple," the woman becomes the subject and the apple becomes the accusative object having something done to it (it's being eaten). There is now an accusative case. Basically, you just need to look at the sentence and decide if there is a direct object receiving an action. If there is, you know to use accusative case.

    Sie ist ein Apfel=She is an apple. No object having something done to it so there is no need for you to use the accusative.

    Sie isst einen Apfel=She eats an apple/she is eating an apple. Here, the apple is clearly having an action being done to it (it's being eaten). Therefore, you need to use the accusative. This means that "ein" will become "einen." Hope that helps.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shikharsin

    Hahahaha... Danke Schön


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaime836972

    I thinks that's an excellent mnemotechnics Jon. Thanks!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tolga7t

    There is no action inflicted on the apple, so it's not accusative. JonathanM9's explanation is pretty nice.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex_25

    Thank you very much you both for this clear and simple explanation; I've discovered the worst thing about cases is you have to know very well sintax! a real hell for me :( just one question to be sure: it can be generalized? I mean, in sentences with the verb "to be" all words are always in the same case? and is always nominative?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jack_waugh

    "syntax". And probably yes, in answer to your question on "to be". Certainly in English (although in English, only pronouns are inflected for case).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex_25

    Besides it's confusing I ask what is it? an apple so direct object so accusative


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/opuscroakus

    Then it should not be included in an 18 step lesson entitled ACCUSATIVE! Why am I the only one making that connection??


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sssheridan

    With "to be" and some other verbs, the following words remain nominative:

    Wikipedia: "a subject complement or predicative of the subject is a predicative expression that follows a linking verb (copula) and that complements the subject of the sentence by either (1) renaming it or (2) describing it. It completes the meaning of the subject."

    ("to be" is the English copula; "sein"/"ist" is the German one.)

    If I'm remembering right, "this fruit is called an apple" would be another case where "an apple" is a subject complement, and remains nominative.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gantzphere

    Gah! it doesn't seem accusative. This is gonna take some getting used to.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neel98888

    how can we know that where to use ein apfel and where einen apfel?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inga89619

    Ask yourself which part of the sentence it is: ich = the subject of the sentence, esse = the verb of the sentence, Apfel = object of the sentence. Used with the indefinite Article: ein becomes einen, because it is "der Apfel" (meaning masculine gender) always look out for the gender of the noun. I hope this helps. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shiva211091

    dint understand..... can some one explain in detail.... what nominative and accusative is?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tophyr

    Nominative = subject, accusative = direct object. In English, "I/she/they" is nominative, "me/her/them" is accusative. "is" is a linking verb though, so it takes the nominative on both sides. Just like in English, where "it is me" is grammatically incorrect, and should be "it is I." A linking verb indicates more of an equivalency to something rather than an action performed on something, thus why it doesn't take a direct object.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElaineBosman

    BUT is Apfel not the accusative - coming after the verb?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    is Apfel not the accusative - coming after the verb?

    No. Because it's a predicate after a copula, not a direct object after a transitive verb.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YEEET.

    English please


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/whypapa

    But isn't "is" a conjugation of the verb to be. So going with the rule of accusative, shouldn't be einen


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    But isn't "is" a conjugation of the verb to be.

    It is.

    So going with the rule of accusative, shouldn't be einen

    No. A few nouns such as sein and werden, along with their conjugations, stay nominative. There is no direct object on which the verb, sein in this case, acts.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    isn't "is" a conjugation of the verb to be.

    Yes, it is.

    So going with the rule of accusative, shouldn't be einen

    I'm not sure what that "rule of accusative" is, but "to be" is not a transitive verb that takes a direct object. (One test is that you can't turn sentences with "to be" into passive ones: "It is an apple." cannot become "An apple is been by it.")

    sein (to be) is a copula or linking verb -- the thing on the right is not a direct object but rather a predicate, which in German is (almost always) in the nominative case.

    It might help to think of Es ist ein Apfel as "It = an apple". The "it" and "an apple" refer to exactly the same thing -- a memory aid for them having the same grammatical case, nominative.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inga89619

    It is, because of the verb "IS": although "an apple" clearly is the object of this sentence the verb "to be" keeps this object in the nominative case


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    "an apple" clearly is the object of this sentence

    Eh?

    "to be" doesn't take an object.

    One test is that you can't turn it into a passive sentence, which would make the direct object into a subject - but you can't turn "it is an apple" into "an apple is being been by it": that sentence simply makes no sense.

    "to be" is not a transitive verb that takes a direct object, "affecting" it. Instead, it's a copula or linking verb that links a subject to a complement that says something about the subject. Such complements are in the nominative case in German.

    werden (become) is similar: er ist ein guter Vater geworden (he has become a good father).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inga89619

    OK then. Thank you for that. I'm a native speaker. Great explanation, however I don't think a learner will remember all that unless. My students have gratefully received my explanation up to now..... X


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/opuscroakus

    Check the name of this lesson: ACCUSATIVE. I'm so sick of the mistakes in this app.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    Then it should not be included in an 18 step lessen entitled ACCUSATIVE! Why am I the only one making that connection??

    Check the name of this lessen: ACCUSATIVE. I'm so sick of the mistakes in this app.

    I believe the word you're looking for is lesson, but I digress.

    You're right, this is definitely something that should not be in an accusative lesson. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes and Duolingo is no exception. It's been a while since I've done individual lessons, but there is some reuse of sentences between them. It's also possible that it's a remnant of a past tree that somehow got lost in an upgrade. I know they've restructured the German tree at least twice that I can remember.

    I would say overall, the mistakes are few and far between and if you're attentive to the grammar (as you seem to be), the mistakes will only further reinforce your understanding of the language and allow for better discourse in the comments sections.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NickMeister1

    I think that DL is teaching the accusative cases by putting in examples that might be confused for an accusative case. It led me to this thread where I learned why it is not accusative. Rather than being a mistake, I think that it is good teaching technique.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/opuscroakus

    Yup, was on a lot of meds last night and working it to keep my streak. Missed that spelling.

    I know of programming trees being in Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics. Going for doctorates in both fields.

    Thanks for the validation.

    Another that is still getting comments and flags is the "Guten Tag" marked correct for "Hello". If you could give that one to another volunteer so they could fix it it would make a lot of folks happy.

    Cheers.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_Rhodes

    The verb to be is, in many languages, quite special. It is called "the copula", and its object is not put into the accusative case but stays in the nominative case.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mukep1

    Accusative changes


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/guapoperez

    why not Das ist ein Apfel?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giiang

    I'm wondering the same thing

    probably because "Das" means "That" while "Es" means "It"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beshoy_Egypt

    "Das" means This or That


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lingolyn

    Why does it say the proper form of "it" is "es" for Apfel? The way I learned it, es goes with neuter words, er with masculine words, and sie for feminine words.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    Why does it say the proper form of "it" is "es" for Apfel?

    Personal pronouns such as er, sie, es refer back to something that has been mentioned before.

    So you might have a context like this: Dies ist ein Apfel. Er ist rot.

    The er in the second sentence refers back to the ein Apfel in the first sentence.

    But Duo's sentence here is just one sentence. There is no context. There is nothing to refer back to. So it uses the neuter singular es to refer to this new object: an apple.

    You might also see that in a context such as this: Was ist das? Es ist ein Apfel. Then you would have neuter es to refer back to the neuter das.

    Compare also sentences in English such as "Who's at the door? -- It's your sister." You wouldn't use "she" here because there is no word that "she" can refer back to -- and personal pronouns (usually) don't refer forward to something later in the sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pratcliff

    I think that would be more correct. I also learned that from both a German professor and native German speaking girlfriend. It's also humorously poked fun at in an essay by Mark Twain. Perhaps they're holding off so as not to get needlessly confusing too early?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonathanM9

    Es means "it" Er means "he" Sie means "she," "they," and the formal version of "you."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EricNelson12

    Rather es means it, er means he, sie means she or they depending on context, and Sie is the formal version of you.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirndorfer

    This is very confusing - when to use ein Apfel and when to say einen Apfel.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yugonee

    Even worse is how the website doesn't attempt to give a single explanation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sssheridan

    With "to be" and some other verbs, the following words remain nominative:

    Wikipedia: "a subject complement or predicative of the subject is a predicative expression that follows a linking verb (copula) and that complements the subject of the sentence by either (1) renaming it or (2) describing it. It completes the meaning of the subject."

    ("to be" is the English copula; "sein"/"ist" is the German one.)

    If I'm remembering right, "this fruit is called an apple" would be another case where "an apple" is a subject complement, and remains nominative.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ludmila21

    So, why is it nominative and not accusative in this case ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davidscolgan

    The verb in this sentence is an equative verb, "ist," and not an action verb. As such, it equates two things as the same in some way. You can think of this sentence as "It is equal to an apple." Since "it" and "apple" are being equated, both things are in the same nominative case. You use the accusative case for direct objects, and only transitive verbs like "eat" have direct objects, because the action is being done to the direct object.

    If you can ask the question "What?" of the verb, you can use the accusative case: I eat what? An apple. It doesn't work for intransitive verbs.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gordyjh

    I must admit, I thought it was accusative as well - the object of the verb. Surely the subject is "it"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheObserver

    True, but since "it" is the apple, this means that the apple is the subject of the sentence, and so the nominative case is used.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fillipvt

    What is it? It is an apple.

    I can't really stuck this into my memory... Don't know how. Spanish doesn't have this! Or have I not noticed it? Gotta look for it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatNamo

    Italian has, but since we do not have cases, you need to know only if you are grammatically analyzing the sentence :-)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarkelDog

    Very helpful, thanks.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Remi509474

    I think it is because being is not an action. So "THIS is an apple" is nominative. "the apple is being eaten" is accusative


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kfrangos

    thank you, that's all i need to know, and what you said makes perfect sense


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hannah_26

    Why is "Er ist ein Apfel" incorrect? I thought er could also mean it.Thanks :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ccollalto

    Er = he / Es = it


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebrockn

    Can Er ever mean "it"? If der Apfel is masculine why is it "es" and not "er"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenHarper

    Yes, "er" frequently means "it." But in this case the "it" is referring to some indefinite thing. The sentence is an answer a question like "What is that thing on the table?" Since you don't know what it is, you can't use the it pronoun that matches its gender. So the "it"(es) in this sentence is speaking in generic, general terms: That thing (it/es) is an apple. If you were to continue the discussion, it would be appropriate to shift to "er" as the pronoun:

    Was ist das? Es ist ein Apfel. Er ist rot. Er gehört mir. (It is an apple, It is red. It belongs to me.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/susanstory

    I got this wrong. I put "einen" but I knew better and just wasn't paying attention. I learned German 40 years ago in high school and knew all this grammar and about the cases, but forgot it all, so I'm relearning it. The articles also change after prepositions, How, I'll have to learn. After "mit, auf, etc"

    BTW, there are lots of free public domain language courses on http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php

    Yesterday evening I listened to one of the mp3 files of a German lesson in the German FAST course.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ethan-Sloan03

    Can somebody explain why it is "es ist ein Apfel" instead of "er ist ein Apfel?" Isn't "der Apfel" masculine?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    Good thinking.

    But pronouns generally refer back to something.

    So at the beginning of the sentence, you haven't identified "it" as an apple yet, and so "it" takes the default neuter gender: es.

    If you had had a previous sentence with a noun that the "it" refers to, then it would have had the gender appropriate to that noun.

    For example. Hier ist eine Frucht. Sie ist ein Apfel. "Here is a fruit. It is an apple." The sie refers back to the feminine Frucht, not forwards to the masculine Apfel.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    Apfel is indeed masculine, but you're changing the pronoun from "it" to "he" in this case.

    In later lessons you might learn you can replace a "definite article + noun" combo with er, sie or es depending on the gender, but I think in most of those cases there is more context involved so you can take shortcuts.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cutebubblegumpop

    How in real life are you supposed to know which ein or einen do you use


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/majd.aa

    This should make it simpler:

    -ein corresponds to der and das

    -eine corresponds to die (singular)

    -einen corresponds to den

    You pick the word depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine, neuter, plural; and whether it's nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative.

    For example, einen is masculine accusative.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkSteckloff

    Es ist ein Apfel. Because "Es" is the subject of the sentence (nominative case) and "ist" signifies that "Apfel" is equivalent "Es" and, therefor, is also nominative.

    Contrast this with "It [say, a worm] eats an apple": "Es isst einen Apfel."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AcornBerries

    shouldn't it be like this: "It" is the subject, "is" is the verb, "an apple" is the object of the verb so it needs to be accusative.

    Please explain why this is wrong!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    "an apple" is the object of the verb

    No -- "to be" is not a transitive verb that takes a direct object.

    It's a copula -- a linking verb that links a subject to a predicate that says something about the verb. And such predicates are (almost always) in the nominative case in German.

    One test for being a transitive verb is that you can turn the object into a subject by making a passive sentence -- but "an apple is been by it" makes no sense.

    Another such verb is werden (to become), e.g. er ist ein guter Vater geworden "he has become a good father". (We cannot say "A good father has become by him" -- it's not transitive; and the part on the right side is in the nominative case in German, not accusative.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AcornBerries

    Thank you! Now I get it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElaineBosman

    In German the verb TO BE is a Copula and the verb following it does NOT take the Accusative but the nominative. Just a rule. Just learn it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gordontrek

    And it's been telling me this whole time that "Er" is acceptable for "it." Jaaaaaa.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/s.me

    honestly i don't understand what everyone means my accusative and nominative? is there a more simple way of explanation?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkSteckloff

    Many languages, especially Latin and Latin-based languages, have "cases" for nouns and their articles, where the form of the word might change depending on its function in the sentence. Therefore, "cases" are determined by the function of the words in the sentence. So if something is the subject of the sentence or is performing the action in the sentence, it is in the "nominative" case. If the thing is the object of the action (is being acted on by another thing), it is in the "accusative" case and may take a different form.

    In the sentence, "The man is eating an apple", the man is acting on the apple. "The man" is in the nominative case ("Der Mann" rather than "den Mann") and "an apple" is in the accusative case ("einen Apfel" rather than "ein Apfel"). We can reverse the functions, of course. In the sentence, "I like the man", "the man" is being acted upon and takes the accusative form (Ich mag "den Mann", not "der Mann"). In the sentence, "The apple is sweet", the apple is the subject of the sentence and is in the nominative case "Ein Apfel").

    English has largely eliminated cases. "The man" and "the apple" do not change form with their function in the sentence. But even in English, cases still exist, especially for pronouns. Can you identify the nominative and accusative forms of "I" and "he" in each of the following sentences? "I hit him." "He hit me."

    Since I am just beginning to learn German, I do not know how many more German cases there are. Latin has six, but I have heard there are only two more in German, so we should be grateful, I suppose.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarkelDog

    Wish I could save all these considered posts to revise! Thanks.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hamza_Boussakine

    some times Duolingo tells me that i should put ''einen'' for ''Apfel'' and now it's telling me that the right thing is ''ein'' :( i'll be so glad if i recuve any helpe


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkSteckloff

    "Einen" is used in the accusative case before masculine nouns. So use "einen" when the apple is the object of an action by someone or something: "I eat an apple" = "Ich esse einen Apfel."

    But when the apple is the subject of a sentence -- "An apple tastes good" -- use "ein". Similarly, when an apple is the equivalent of the subject of a sentence, use "ein". In the sentence, "It is an apple", "it" (the subject of the sentence) is not acting on the apple, but is the equivalent of it, so we say, "Es ist ein Apfel."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hamza_Boussakine

    It have been a while i didn't log in on Duolingo so i just saw your reply and Thank you a lot Marksteckloff it realy helped


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sophinez

    Danke to all! This discussion thread is most helpful and I must compliment all of you on your linguistic intelligence and professionalism. I rarely engage in any form of social media due to the lack of courtesy. You have humbled me and made me smile all at once!!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PriyankaCh92957

    Thank u so much ...this really helped alot


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/murdurkitt3h

    I put "Er bin ein Apfel..." What is the difference between "Er" and "Es" and the difference between "ist" and "bin/bich???"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkSteckloff

    "Er" = "he"; "es" = "it". Both are third person singular and take the same form of the verb, "ist", which = "is". This is just like in English, where both "he" and "it" use "is".

    "Bin" = "am" and is used with Ich. "Ich bin" = "I am".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CatherineH410

    No. "Einen" has nothing to do with the change in English from "a" to "an". The German change from "ein" to "einen" and "der" to "den" reflects a difference in how the associated noun is being used in the sentence ("Der/ein Apfel ist rot" compared to "Wir essen den/einen Apfel"). In English, the change from "a" to "an" is based on the sound of the next word. "A" is used with a consonant sound, "an" with a vowel sound: "An apple is round" compared to "A red apple is round."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/holly.k.ma

    Why does It give an example of Er ist ein Apfel, then change to Es


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KelseyEngelke

    Exactly, why is it not "einen"? It's der Apfel and in this scenario the direct object which should translate into "einen," shouldn't it?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IshtarIshtar

    Because the verb "to be" is an exception, and is followed by the nominative case.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustBeGlad

    yes , sometimes , Einen Apfel " sometimes Ein Apfel , very confusing !!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadalinIG

    If ''einen'' is accusative and ''ein'' is nominative,then ''eine'' is also accusative? Ex. Ich habe eine Tasse.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmedH5

    So the masculine can be accusative or nominative The feminine and the neutral can also be .... Then when do we use ein and eine and einen ??? I got confused


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmedH5

    So masculine nouns can be nominative or accusative ... Feminine and neutral nouns can also be Then when do we use ein and eine and einen?? I got confused


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeroenow

    If the sentence only relates to one object, it will be ein?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saeb.koja

    Apfel got es even though it get der how come?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dC8y1iGy

    What is the difference between ein and eine


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    In the nominative case (or with just the noun and article by themselves), ein is used for masculine and neuter nouns while eine is used for feminine nouns.

    Masculine: "der Mann" - "ein Mann"

    Feminine: "die Frau" - "eine Frau"

    Neuter: "das Mädchen" - "ein Mädchen"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kentchester12

    I open this page from spainish lecture. Why it explain german instead of spainish? Fix this please..


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/THEW1LD0NE

    why ein instead of einen?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    The case here is Nominative and not Accusative. @JonathanM9 and @Michael-Forest do a great job of explaining it above.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bruce878691

    Oh! After multiple questions involving eating (essen), on this one I misread "ist" as "isst." Now I get it. Yes, the verb "to be" acts as an equal sign, so the object of the sentence is treated the same as the subject


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gibbyj623

    Ein means one, not an


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    It means both, unless you're referring to the numeral in which case it's eins. In this case ein takes the place of an indefinite article so it probably means a/an.

    https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/wp/readinggerman/definite-indefinite-article-all-cases/


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniyela.B

    Why when you write "an apple" is einen but then here is ein. Why?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

    It's a different case. A few here already explained it pretty well.

    You probably saw a sentence like "Ich habe einen Apfel." which is a different case.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jon632485

    In the north western region of germany where hochdeutsch is commonly spoken, one would use the male pronoun for male nouns, female pronoun for feminine nouns and neutral pronoun for neuter nouns. Therefore er ist ein Apfel is correct


    [deactivated user]

      Es ist eineApfel


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mh5nBf

      Please may someone explain this nominative and accusative


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      They explain the cases pretty well here.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lee102609

      My problem is knowing when to use ein or einen or eine. Its all very confusing, same with die das den and der.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tiki834534

      When can i use "ein" , "eine" and "einen"... i am a confused


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      Don't forget "einer", "einem" and "eines"! It generally depends on which case you're in and what gender the noun is.

      https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/wp/readinggerman/definite-indefinite-article-all-cases/


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bela.espindola

      I don't understand.

      Why is: Sie isst einen Apfel. and Es ist ein Apfel. What's the difference, IDK when use ein or einen...


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Why is: Sie isst einen Apfel. and Es ist ein Apfel. What's the difference

      essen (to eat) is a normal transitive verb that takes a direct object -- the thing being affected by the verb.

      You can say "An apple is eaten by her" -- the apple is the thing undergoing the eating.

      But sein (to be) is not a transitive verb. It does not take a direct object. "An apple is been by it" makes no sense. The apple is not "being been" -- it is not undergoing the "being". "to be" is not a verb with an object here.

      Instead, "to be" is a copula or linking verb -- it links a subject to predicate that says something about the subject. Such predicates are (almost always) in the nominative case in German.

      If it helps you remember, you could think of "It is an apple" as "it = an apple" -- "it" and "an apple" refer to the same thing -- and they are in the same case in German (the nominative).

      Thus you need accusative Sie isst einen Apfel when the apple is the direct object of the verb, but nominative Es ist ein Apfel when the apple is the predicate.

      The same difference between der Apfel (nominative) and den Apfel (accusative). For example, Sie isst den Apfel. (She is eating the apple.) versus Das ist der Apfel. (That is the apple.)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PiyushShar825919

      Guys, please clear this doubt, ein, eine and einen, where to use them? And in simple language. Please dont use technical english grammer like "accusative" etc.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      Guys, please clear this doubt, ein, eine and einen, where to use them?

      You use each when the case and gender call for it.

      And in simple language. Please dont use technical english grammer like "accusative" etc.

      It's actually spelled grammar.

      Why not use technical details? How would you explain to somebody learning English why you say, "I gave it to him.", instead of, "I gave it to he."? Or how about how to solve an algebraic equation without knowing basic arithmetic? It'd be kind of tough without technical details like multiply & divide or subject & object, right?

      Now imagine not only needing to know the case (nominative, accusative, dative or genitive), but also the gender (which English doesn't have). Seems like a good reason to get your foundations in order. You're selling yourself really short if you're avoiding cases. How are you going to know what to do with prepositions if you don't know cases?

      Also, it's mostly a German technical detail. The Wikipedia article on grammatical case states:

      English has largely lost its inflected case system although personal pronouns still have three cases, which are simplified forms of the nominative, accusative and genitive cases. They are used with personal pronouns: subjective case (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, whoever), objective case (me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom, whomever) and possessive case (my, mine; your, yours; his; her, hers; its; our, ours; their, theirs; whose; whosever[3]). Forms such as I, he and we are used for the subject ("I kicked the ball"), and forms such as me, him and us are used for the object ("John kicked me").

      So, if you've gotten this far and not been discouraged, I implore you spend a couple hours looking at cases. It seriously helps. I was once where you are. Maybe with a stronger starting foundation, but I was still there. I came into this knowing NOTHING about cases, but I spent time looking each one up and it helped. Like, a lot.

      ein, eine and einen, where to use them?

      Once you invest the time into learning the cases (you can skip genitive for now), it's easy to look at a chart like this and figure out which to use. From there, it's only a matter of memorization.

      German is a fun language, but it's also very technical. I don't think you'll get very for without first learning some of the important and prevalent details.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GokulKrish412396

      How did it become nominative? How can we know?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      sein (to be) and werden (to become) take the nominative on both sides.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ela190659

      Why ein not einen?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      einen would be masculine accusative, which you might use (for example) for the direct object of a verb.

      But there is no verb here that takes a direct object (the apple is not been by it -- "to be" is not a verb that takes an object).

      "to be" is a linking verb or copula, that links a subject to a predicate that says something about the subject. Such predicates are (almost always) in the nominative case in German.

      Thus you need masculine nominative ein Apfel.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarionBlackstock

      why is Apfel not accusative?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      Conjugations of the verb sein (ist, bist, seid, etc.) make it nominative. It's just a thing to remember. There are better explanations elsewhere in this discussion.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Near_000

      Ein Apfel Einen Apfel


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachael781714

      because being isn't doing


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PetrHavelk4

      Es ist ein apfel was not accepted as correct


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Akosua593045

      Ein Einen These two are so confusing.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      So you've gotten eine, eines, einem and einer down?! Nice!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElaineBosman

      I STILL cannot grasp this. Apple is the Accusative - the object of the verb (it is) as I see it. Apple being Masculine.... accusative masculine is einen.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_Rhodes

      You will just have to commit to memory that the COPULA (a technical term used for the special verb "to be" in many languages) DOES NOT TAKE THE ACCUSATIVE.

      I don't know of any other way to explain it.

      Maybe this article from Wikipedia will help. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copula_(linguistics)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      As @Keith_Rhodes mentioned, the best way to remember is probably rote memorization.

      For me personally, knowing there is no direct or indirect object here is what I would use to determine the case. I like this method because knowing this helps you differentiate between between accusative and dative later on which can be even trickier, depending on the person.

      While I haven't personally done any of these, it looks like the nominative and accusative exercises at German.net do a good job of showing the difference.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      the object of the verb (it is)

      No. "to be" is not an action verb that acts on an object.

      One clue is that you cannot make the verb passive, which would turn the object into a subject -- "An apple is been by it" makes no sense.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/majd.aa

      In this case, apple isn't the accusative but the nominative, since it is the subject of the sentence, nominative masculine is ein.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OLR92
      • 1360

      It is an apple is: Es isst ein Apfel.

      I am eating an apple is: Ich esse einen Apfel

      I am so confused. Please help


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/majd.aa

      that is correct, this should make it simpler:

      -ein corresponds to der and das

      -eine corresponds to die (singular)

      -einen corresponds to den

      You pick the word depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine, neuter, plural; and whether it's nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative.

      For example, einen is masculine accusative.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElaineBosman

      The verb TO BE in German is one of a few that does not take the accusative after the verb. Just a rule.

      Elaine


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Er not es

      No.

      Personal pronouns such as er or es refer back, not forwards.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lincoln150795

      Hello, I am struggling to identify when to write ein, eine and einen. Is it the same thing as der, das, die and den? No rules, you just have to learn singular, plural, masculine and feminine? Thanks.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      I am struggling to identify when to write ein, eine and einen. Is it the same thing as der, das, die and den?

      Yes.

      ein corresponds to der and das

      eine corresponds to die (singular)

      einen corresponds to den

      No rules, you just have to learn singular, plural, masculine and feminine?

      Um, those are the rules. You pick the word depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine, neuter, plural; and whether it's nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative.

      For example, einen is masculine accusative.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marziye11862

      i wanna know,if the apfle word is masculine world??? be cause in Doulingo explanation was writed, there is no change for neuter?????? shouldn't we use einen for apfel?????


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      if the apfle word is masculine world?

      The word is Apfel (capital A-p-f-e-l), and it is indeed masculine.

      shouldn't we use einen for apfel?

      Not in this sentence. We use the nominative case after the verb "to be", so ein Apfel is correct.

      einen Apfel would be the accusative case form.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithMaddox1

      It's called "predicate nominative" (at least in English). My understanding is that a long time ago in English, if a noun was the object of any verb (including "to be"), it was conjugated as such (in the accusative). Eventually, English stopped changing nouns to show if they were in the nominative or accusative, though it still does for pronouns. So for example, we would say "He gave him the apple." "He" is the subject, and "him" the object. Eventually, English grammarians studied Latin and Greek grammarians, who decided it was more logical if two nouns connected by "to be" were in the same case. So the English grammarians decided to do the same thing. That's why we are supposed to say "It is I who at the apple," even though it seems more natural to say "It is me who ate the apple."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NorasDad

      There is no generic "it" in German. Apfel is masculine; therefore, the correct pronoun to use in this case is "er."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Apfel is masculine; therefore, the correct pronoun to use in this case is "er."

      Pronouns refer backwards to a noun, not forwards.

      This sentence might be part of a conversation like Ich sehe etwas. Es ist ein Apfel.

      The es refers backwards to etwas and agrees with it in gender (neuter). It doesn't refer forward to ein Apfel, which you haven't talked about at this point and which you therefore can't replace with a pronoun.

      Compare English "Who's at the door? It's your daughter." -- not "She's your daughter", because you haven't talked about a woman yet and so cannot use "she" to refer back to that woman.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NorasDad

      Your answer, although well argued, is based on a conversation that we don't know happened. My answer is based on the sentence as written. As you know, pronouns replace nouns, and the noun being replaced is a masculine in the nominative case; therefore, "er" is the correct answer if there is no context given.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      the noun being replaced is a masculine in the nominative case

      This is where I disagree.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NorasDad

      Which means "er", nicht wahr?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      There is no generic "it" in German. Apfel is masculine; therefore, the correct pronoun to use in this case is "er."

      What happens when you have a sentence with only the pronoun "it" and no nouns to refer to? Something like, "It is over."

      It almost seems like you need ... hmmm, what's the word? Something ... generic? Yeah that's it. It almost seems like you need a generic translation for "it". I would use "es" in this case.

      Comparison of "es ist vorbei", "er ist vorbei" and "sie ist vorbei".

      How come "es" makes up the bulk of the entries when most German nouns are masculine from what I remember? Keep in mind, this is also taken from books that contain context. What I propose is a one-off sentence without context because you told minizamo:

      Your answer, although well argued, is based on a conversation that we don't know happened. My answer is based on the sentence as written. As you know, pronouns replace nouns, and the noun being replaced is a masculine in the nominative case; therefore, "er" is the correct answer if there is no context given.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikolai329723

      Why "es", not "er"? "Apfel" is masculine.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Why "es", not "er"? "Apfel" is masculine.

      Pronouns refer back to something previously mentioned. Apfel comes later in the sentence and so its gender is irrelevant.

      Compare this situation in English:

      • Who's at the door?
      • It's a salesman. / It's your sister. / It's Jehovah's Witnesses.

      We don't say "he's a salesman" or "she's your sister", because the pronoun doesn't refer forward to something you haven't mentioned yet.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ndmedeir

      Is "er ist ein Apfel" also correct because the gender of "Apfel" is masculine?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Is "er ist ein Apfel" also correct because the gender of "Apfel" is masculine?

      No.

      Personal pronouns refer backwards to things you have already mentioned, not forwards to things that occur later in the sentence.

      You might say, for example, Was ist das? Es ist ein Apfel. Er ist rot. where es is neuter (like das) and only the last sentence has er since it refers back to ein Apfel.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsaacSchwa2

      If "ein" is nominative, and this lesson is called "Accusative Case," then should this example be removed from this lesson?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anandakindian

      "Es ist einen Apfel."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      "Es ist einen Apfel."

      That sentence is ungrammatical in German and therefore incorrect.

      Don't use the accusative case after sein "to be".


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CadenceDeacon

      How do you know if it nominative or accusative?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vaishnaviwadkar

      We should be using einen rather than ein as the sentence it self says that "an apple"


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      The use of "a" and "an" in English depends only on the sound of the following English word.

      There is no grammatical difference between them.

      They both translate to ein, eine, einer, eines, einem, einen depending on gender and case of the following noun.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ansh431485

      Why ein apfel is correct though we say an apple


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Why ein apfel is correct

      It isn't. The correct spelling is ein Apfel with a capital A.

      though we say an apple

      Whether we say "a" or "an" in English is irrelevant to what the German word will be.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Priya1928

      Please shi shi batao bhot bekaar app hai


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrentLeven

      What about "Er hat ein Apfel" or "Du hast einen Apfel"? Emphasis on whether the correct answer ein/einen. Does an apple become accusative in this sentence?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      Apple is accusative as you suggest and therefore would use "einen" for both.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lazer321

      There are 2 subjects. The subjects are 'it' and 'apple'. If you ask a question such as "Who is it?", the grammatically correct answer would be "It is he/she", not "It is him/her".


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meisnerb

      ein=a or one einen = an in all other lessons


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenHarper

      No. There is no grammatical connection between the shift from "ein" to "einen" and the English shift from "a" to "an".

      The German shift has to do with the function that the word "Apfel" plays in the sentence: is it the subject or the direct object ("Ein Apfel hängt am Baum"/"An apple hangs on the tree" compared to "Der Mann isst einen Apfel"/"The man eats an apple.")

      The English usage of "a" or "an" simply depends on the sound that comes after it: an apple, a red apple, an ugly apple, a blemished apple. This a phonetic (sound) rule, not a grammar rule.

      In the first pair of sentences, Apfel/apple is the subject. In the second pair, Apfel/apple is the direct object.

      You are correct, however, that "ein" can be translated as "one." But so can "einen."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vibhavari18

      Why it is " es ist ein apfel " and not " es ist einen apfel ? "


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      This has been explained multiple times on this page already.

      Please read all of the comments before posting your own. Thank you!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adri-R

      "Das" is ein Apfel sounds much better as translation in my opinion.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Faith858813

      It should be einen because ein = a not an, an is einen but einen could also be used for a.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeoTubNinja

      It should be einen because ein = a not an, an is einen but einen could also be used for a.

      This is absolutely wrong. Indefinite articles in German work NOTHING like they do in English.

      In English, which one you use is purely dependent on the letter/sound the corresponding noun starts with. Vowels get "an", consonants get "a".

      In German, what letter/sound the noun starts with is irrelevant in choosing the correct article to use. Instead, you need to use the noun's case and gender to determine the appropriate one. In this instance, the case is nominative and the gender is masculine. As this table indicates, the ONLY article that should be used is "ein".

      IF your statement were true (which it's not, but if it were), that "einen" = "a" or "an" and "ein" = "a", what the heck do "eines", "eine", "einer" and "einem" mean?!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith_Rhodes

      NO, no, no, no, no. This thread is over five years old, and there have been many explanations over the years about the verb sein, about it being what grammarians term a "copula", and explaining that in German, as in many other languages, the copula is followed by a noun in the nominative case.

      If you want to learn a language, you need to learn the grammar. You can do this either the way children learn their mother tongue (by listening to competent speakers and "magically" discovering and assimilating the rules), or the way foreigners traditionally learn: from language-teaching resources.

      Duolingo works like the competent speaker helping a child. If you refuse to accept that Duolingo is fulfilling the role of "competent speaker", you are just going to get frustrated and you won't learn quickly.

      Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.