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"c'est" is translated as 'this is', and thus using it would make your sentence 'this is eats an apple', which doesn't make sense. You can think of "c'est" as a shortened form of 'ça est', where "ça" means 'this' and "est" means 'is', just like "l'homme" is a shortened form of 'le homme'.
You asked the question so long ago that you probably won't see this, but hopefully it helps someone!
A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing, whether concrete (e.g., chair, dog) or abstract (idea, happiness). In French, all nouns have a gender - they are either masculine or feminine. The gender of some nouns makes sense (homme [man] is masculine, femme [woman] is feminine) but others don't: the words personne [person] and victime [victim] are always feminine, even when the person or victim is a man.
It is very important to learn a noun's gender along with the noun itself because articles, adjectives, some pronouns, and some verbs have to agree with nouns; that is, they change depending on the gender of the noun they modify.
There is no easy way to determine the gender of every noun, and you have to remember the gender with each word. But a number of patterns in suffixes and word endings are helpful: some tend to indicate masculine or feminine nouns (be careful with the exceptions).
Please have a look at this comment on noun genders in French:
pain sounds like "pahn", however, in french the "n" is nasal so think about someone who caught a cold trying to say "pahn" that's how it sounds, actually it barely sounds at all. The symbols of its pronunciation (IPA) would be /pɛ̃/. Or click the word to hear it pronounced alone. Pomme sounds like "pohm" or in symbols /pɔm/. You can also check the pronunciation of this dictionary. Clikc the speaker icon: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french/pain/ http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french/pomme
Hope it helps!
In French, there is no continuous tense (for example, we say: "Elle mange", whether in a definite or indefinite period of time.).
If the action is currently happening, you can use the idiomatic phrase "être en train de" to express the idea of continuity (ex: "Elle en train de manger une pomme." for "She is eating an apple."), or just the simple present (ex: "Elle mange une pomme" for "She eats an apple").
If you hover over the English progressive tense (ex: "is eating"), you will get the hints for the French conjugated tense ("mange").
If the meaning of the sentence is "in general", then use the English present simple (ex: "(En général) elle mange des pommes" for "(In general) she eats apples."