The biggest mystery of Swedish by far and unfortunately, there's no definitive rule how to go about.
"En" and "ett" are the two genders in the Swedish language: neuter (neutrum) and common (utrum), which represents "en" and "ett". There are some general rules that could help you out. "En" is used 75 % of the case, so if you don't know, use that and you'll hopefully end up on the correct side. Then there are some categories of nouns that are very typical neuter gender, for example animals. Almost all of them, definitely more than 75 %, are neutrum. I can actually only come up with two animals that are common gender and those are "ett lejon" (a lion) and "ett får" (a sheep).
But in the end, you have to learn them. Hopefully, you'll end up "getting a feel" for it after some practice, but that's about it.
I appreciate the explanation because one thing DuoLingo seems to lack is basic background infomatin on languages.
I first came here after having studied Spanish in school so it didn't matter much to me, but when it came to German and Swedish it got very interesting very quickly.
Jag lär mig svenska och tala lite svenska. Been busy for little more then a month now. It’s a fun language to learn. Some words are harder to pronounce or just don’t seem logical to me, coming fron the Netherlands where almost every letter is pronounced the way it looks like. Like ren (reindeer) which is pronounced more like ri-an and djur where the d is silent.
Han äter ett äpple isn’t hard to pronounce though. You should try Katterna tycker om hundernen (the cats like the dogs). Also, sone sentences are so funny. I ran into björnen tycker om vegetarianen. The bear likes the vegetarian. Haha!
Correction: whereas the 'a' ending in Spanish is nearly always feminine, with the main exception being a few words derived from Greek, 'o' is the masculine ending, again with just a handful of exceptions, eg 'la mano' = 'hand'. The 'e' ending can be for either masculine or feminine nouns and adjectives.
I can see why that would be tempting, just consider two things before you actually start doing that.
Despite the ongoing campain trying to introduce "Hen" as a gender neutral word in swedish it has not been nationally accepted yet. Hen is actually a swedish word, and have been for quite some time, the only thing is that it does not mean "a person [not gender specified]" it is a not so commonly used word for a special kind of grinding stone.
Even if "hen" had been accepted as a gender neutral word for a person you would still get an error if the sentence you where trying to communicate was "He is eating an apple" and wrote/said "Hen äter ett äpple" because that would mean "The/a person [not gender specified] is eating an apple".