The three Germanic languages are already starting to get mixed up in my head. I like to repeat the sentence after the speaker and I said: Een jongen ate den Apfel.
We have: De- words (the) · De stoel (the chair) · De aap (the monkey) Het- words (the) · Het kind (the child)
You can place "een" (a/an) before all the words · Een stoel · Een aap · Een kind
But: ·HET stoelTJE (little chair) ·HET aapJE (little monkey) ·HET kindJE (little child)
So if you make a word "smaller", it becomes a het- word
So, the issue here is with English. 'eats' can mean 'does eat' OR 'is eating'. Ik eet or de jongen eet has a specific meaning: it is happening now.
"I eat apples" (Ik eet appelen) in English can be a declaration (I am known to eat apples), and if we add a definitive article - I eat THE apples - it becomes ambiguous. It sounds strange to a native speaker but it is technically not improper grammar and carries the same meaning as 'I am eating the apples.'
Better example of this in action: I sleep. ("And now I sleep.") It is ambiguous and could also mean that you do (at times) sleep, depending on context, but does not sound so strange as "I eat."