"We eat the bread."
Translation:Wir essen das Brot.
I don't think it's necessary under certain conditions O.o I think that when the subject is definitive the "the" is needed but when the subject is general the "the" isn't needed, like when you make dinner and you "drink water" but if you drink a certain container OF water then you'd need a "the" like "I drank the water that was on the table". I think this practice is just to let you remember the conjugations for the verb to the proper predicates and stuff :)
Is there a rule of thumb how to determine if a certain noun is masculine, feminine, or neuter? I am having a bad time regarding their gender.
It really isn't the noun itself that is feminine, masculine, or neuter--it's the category the nouns fall under. For instance, all months are masculine, all ships/boats are feminine, and all nouns ending in -chen are neuter. There are exceptions to the rules in many categories, but you will see patterns when you learn a new noun with its article.
It's grammarical case (btw, there are 4 cases in German language), and case is ''a grammatical category whose value reflects the grammatical function performed by a noun or pronoun in a phrase, clause, or sentence''. For example, in English, you say ''Jogn kicked me!'', not ''John kicked I''. Me is I in accusative. Accusative case indicates the direct object of a verb. Get it?
We know that Brot is neuter. Therefore, if it is singular it will be das Brot. If you see a die in front of Brot it would mean that it is feminine in singular which would be wrong (according to the first sentence). The plural form of Brot is Brote. And then you would use the die because its 2nd function is to indicate plural nouns. To sum it up:
das Brot -- singular
die Brot -- wrong
die Brote -- plural
This explanation only holds for the nominative and akkusative case. In dative case you would need to change the articles, but that will be the topic of another lesson.
die is the article for feminine nouns in singular and all nouns in plural. I would say that USA is a plural in English as well. It is more than one state which is united, but you are just lucky that you don't have extra articles for plural ;-)
Another example would be the EU. It is die EU too, but here it is in singular because it is only one union and Union happens to be feminine in German
Yeah, I know about masculine, feminine, and neutral.
I must've had a blonde moment, because I forgot it's United STATES of America. xD States being the plural. I live in the UK, so hopefully you can forgive me. :P
Oh, and yes, I'm glad there's not an extra article for plural, ... although there kind of is, just not a dedicated one. :P
You can call it that way, but the vowel shift in itself has rules it follows. You can find a good explanation in this blogpost (in the paragraph before the examples in red): http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/german-conjugation-online-course/ So you could calls these regular irregularities. There are 8 verbs which behave really irregular (mostly modal verbs). They are discussed here: http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/learn-german-online-verb-conjugation-2/
And of course you have to be (sein) which does things completely on its own ;-)
Well I can't give you a logical answer to that (I don't think there is one), but for all German verbs (except to be) the conjugation for wir (we) and sie (they) is the same as the infinitive form. The infinitive form of "to eat" is essen. Therefore it must be wir essen.
If you say wir esst it sounds a bit like I would say "we eats". You can understand it, but it just sounds weird.