Translation:The apple is red; it is a red apple.
Red is an adjective. so Masculine, Nominative following der is der rote Apfel, following ein is ein roter Apfel. If this doesn't ring any bells, check the grammar tables for adjectives.
So depending on whether the article is definite or indefinite, the adjective changes? That's mental!
I feel your pain. A really good, clear explanation of adjective endings can be found here: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/adjektivendungenexpl.html
This was most helpful-- I love the chart showing clearly the choices to make before deciding how to decline the adjective. Thanks so much!
I am not quite sure that nthuleen's explanations about adjective endings are so clear.I prefer the "Hartmut's version,
Yes, although it is only the ending that changes. German adjective endings are mental, but once you have a good grasp, then the same rules apply for all newly learnt adjectives whereas new vocab keeps on coming and coming,
Only one type of word in the noun phrase gets the strong adjective ending. Indefinite articles don't have the strong endings, so the adjective gets it.
Bells what bells dead silence. Back to the" tables". Thanks for the tip.
Edit I don't know when I wrote this but I do remember being completely in the dark about adjectives. They scared me! Well, while I still make mistakes things have brightened up a lot. It took a great deal of effort and many sites (thanks to fellow learners) and it feels great being able to write better.
When an adjective comes after ist (or any conjugation of sein) etc then its easy for us English speakers because there is no need to add an ending.
When you have the "sein" verb in the sentece structure, the nominative case takes place, in this case for example: Der Apfel ist rot, es IST ein (verb sein declinate, nominative case follows, now we most declinate the adjetive) ROTER Apfel
Why not "einen roter Apfel"? Does the addition of the adjective negate the need for "einen"?
Note that when the verb "sein" is used, its object is not in the accusative tense, but it's not really acting up that object. This is the only verb I can think of which object does not become accusative. So, you have the sentence, "Es ist ein roter Apfel." but if there was another verb, such as "essen" you would have "Er isst einen roten Apfel."
From my grammar book "The nominative is used after the verbs sein, werden, bleiben, heißen, scheinen and the passive form of nennen"
I like to think of these verbs implying an "equal to" relationship between two nouns and if they are equivalent then it is reasonable that they have the same case.
BTW there are lots of verbs where the object does not become accusative but dative instead, however I'm sure that's not what you were meaning.
No. The adjective doesn't change the ending of the article. "Ein" doesn't get an ending for the masculine nominative/accusative and so the adjective (when there is one) gets the strong ending. If the article took the strong ending (R for masculine nominative) then the adjective would get the weak ending: "Der rote Apfel".
(If "ein" had an ending, it would be "einer rote Apfel".)
In the accusative, the masculine singular ending is always "en." E.g. "Ich habe einen kleinen roten Apfel." However, the nominative gets used after "sein" and "heissen." So, it would be "Ich bin ein kleiner alter Mann."
from what I'm seeing, it might also be because of the position. In the second sentence, Roter is directly affecting the apple instead of having an ist in the way. Just a theory.
So basically, the adjective (rot) in this case takes the ending as it would, for example, word "jede-" take if the sentence would be used in Dative (jeder => roter) It seems to me that German wanted to keep the language for themselves, so they made it so complicated :)
I have a question: how does one translate "this red apple is sweet"?
I assumed "dieser" because it's a der word in Masc/Nom, and "rote" because that's teh Masc/Nom/Definite article ending for adjectives. So I'd say "Dieser rote Apfel ist suess".
But google translate says "Diese roten Apfel ist suess" ??? Similarly it translates "This nice orange is round" to "Dieses schoene Orange ist rund". I expected "diese". Is it simply that google translate is broken?
You are right Google Translate is wrong. If there is anything that GT sought to be good at is getting gender and endings right, but it doesn't.
No -- "to be" is not a transitive verb that takes a direct object in the accusative case.
"to be" links a subject to a predicate that talks about that subject; and in German (and traditionally in English), the predicate is in the nominative case.
If it helps, you can think of it as "red apple" and "it" referring to exactly the same thing, so they are in the same case -- both nominative.
If a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea (such as happy or red), why aren't colors capitalized in German? Are ideas not considered nouns?
Happy and red are not nouns. They would be used to describe nouns (they are adjectives).
from my understanding when a color is referring to an object the ending of said color depends on gender/case of the object? Is this correct?
If the adjective is used as an attribute, i.e. standing in front of the noun, you are correct. Its form depends on gender, case and number, but also on the so-called definiteness (different forms after indefinite or definite articles).
But if the adjective is in the predicative position (after a form of "to be" or similar verbs), it is always in its basic form. e.g.
"Der rote Apfel" (masculine nominative singular definite), "ein roter Apfel" (masculine nominative singular indefinite), "den roten Apfel" (masculine accusative singular definite) ...
but: "der Apfel ist rot", "die Birne ist rot", "das Haus ist rot" ...
This is all well and good, but DuoLingo does so much of this, that is, throwing in a new concept without any explanation.
"When it is used with the verb sein and a predicative nominative, es can refer to singular and plural nouns of all three genders. The verb agrees with the predicative, not with es"
True, “es” is acceptable here, and for the sentence “Es ist ein roter Apfel” in isolation, where it refers to an as-yet unnamed object, it would be the only acceptable pronoun. But when referring to the apple immediately after the object has been named and assigned a gender in “Der Apfel ist rot”, it would be more common to say “Er ist ein roter Apfel”.