"Der Apfel ist rot; es ist ein roter Apfel."

Translation:The apple is red; it is a red apple.

December 21, 2012

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I still don't get this, when you use rote and roter?


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


Link was helpful thanks. ^_^

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This was most helpful-- I love the chart showing clearly the choices to make before deciding how to decline the adjective. Thanks so much!


It is useful for me.


Thank you! The link was very helpful.

[deactivated user]


    Thank you. Sharing is caring. Ps. The pain is real!


    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,


    Thanks for the encouragement!


    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.


    Ok thanks for the help!


    Mental? Yes, you need to think about 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.


    But, the sentence uses "rot" not "rote", so what's up with that?


    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.


    Read the sections about strong vs weak inflection of adjectives here



    in this case the mixed inflection


    Same here this part is confusing.


    Wow! Thanks Duo, this is actually a very nice (important) lesson to learn! — no sarcasm intended


    Apfel is masculine shouldn't it be er ist ein roter apfel


    That's a tough one. If the second sentence directly refers to the apple mentioned in the sentence before it would indeed be "er", like e.g. in "der Apfel ist rot. Er hat eine glänzende Oberfläche".

    But here the "it" is probably an "impersonal subject". You are not referring to that apple, but rather to "the thing you see here". In this context "es ist" is the most common way to phrase it.


    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 do the 'r's at the end of a word sound silent?


    Shouldn't it be "er ist ein roter apfel" since apple is masculine?


    If you refer to "der Apfel" it would indeed be "er", such as in "Er ist rot" ("er" = "der Apfel"). But here the "it" is only the impersonal subject of the sentence like in "das ist ...".


    Thanks. But why is it wrong if in the second sentence you write "er ist"? Thanks in advance.


    In "Er ist rot" the "er" directly refers to the apple. ("It is red" in English).
    But in "It is a red apple" the "it" refers to something which (later) turns out to be an apple. This is a so-called impersonal subject. And this does not match the gender of what will follow later. So it is "Es ist ein roter Apfel" in German.


    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.


    Ah! Now that makes sense to me. Danke.


    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.


    Is it "rot" or "rote"? Is that a mistake?


    no det, nom, mas. m/n/f/pl: er/es/e/e


    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" ...


    I'm having a tougher time with adjectives than I would have imagined. Just trying to validate my understanding with this simpler sentence:

    "Der Apfel ist rot."

    (Der Apfel) is nominative

    (ist) - er/sie/es verb form

    (rot) - Used as a descriptive adjective (after the noun), so has no ending.

    "Es ist ein roter Apfel."

    (Es) - nominative pronoun

    (ist) - er/sie/es verb form

    (ein roter Apfel) - Because the verb 'sein' is used, the phrase takes the nominative in this case. In some cases (e.g. with adverbials with sense of time), the object would take the accusative. (The Internet disagrees somewhat on these statements, saying that the sein rule (math joke!) has too many exceptions to be valid.)

    ((ein)) - Article for nominative case. Because it is using 'sein', 'einen' is not used.

    ((roter)) - Referring to a chart of endings, I am using an indefinite article, so the adjective ending is 'er'.

    ((Apfel)) - Masculine noun in nominative case because of 'sein'.

    Is my understanding correct?





    Yes, you are right. And I don't think what you call the "sein"-rule has any exception. In sentences like "X is Y" is not an object at all, but a so-called predicative complement, be it an adjective or a noun phrase). And a predicative complement is always in nominative case.


    Thanks so much! That simplifies things for me. Rounding this out, I have:

    "Ich bin mit dem roten Apfel."

    (mit dem roten Apfel) - genitive, definite article, masculine so I use -en for the adjective. The article is genitive so "dem" is used.

    "Ich esse den roten Apfel."

    (den roten Apfel) - accusative, definite article, masculine so I also use -en ending.

    It's getting clearer now and I can, if not intuitively know the correct form of the word, at least am able to look it up until I memorize the tables. Luckily it's just a few items.. :D

    Thanks again for the reply.


    Apart from the fact that I can't imagine someone saying "Ich bin mit dem roten Apfel" (like no one would say "I am with the red apple") it is not genitive, but dative here. "mit" always takes dative. But the forms you used are correct.

    Genitive would be e.g. "Ich esse die Hälfte des roten Apfels".


    Dang, my mistake.. thank you for the correction. The sentence was strained but I couldn't think of anything at the the moment. I'll adjust my chart.


    red pinaple; apple red


    Man, English is simpler than I thought


    Hmm, yes, the floor here is made out of floor.


    Lol this one did my head in... When to add the word ending. I just want to check if I'm thinking about this ok... So not liking grammar lingo I'll try to explain in my own words...

    • A noun: is anything I can put "the" infront of - The house, The cat etc... In German All nouns are capitalised
    • Adjectives descibe the noun. Heavy, fat, grumpy etc

    When do you need to change the word ending?

    The Attributive adjective word endings usually "agree" with what they are describing (the Noun). This means that their endings change depending on whether the person or thing you are referring to is masculine, feminine or neuter, and singular or plural. The only time the adjective does not agree with the word it describes is when the advective comes AFTER the verb.

    • der/den thing (Noun) --Attributive adjective ends-->-en
    • die thing --adj ends-->-e
    • das thing --adj ends-->-es


    • Das Auto ist schwarz -Adjective is before the noun (**NO**!)so we dont need to change anything! Yay holiday!
    • Das Haus ist rot - Adj before noun (no!)
    • Wir haben kein schwarzes Bier. -----> (Das Bier) Adj before noun (**YES**!), noun is neutral ---> Adj ending is es ---> schwarzes

    I think that is how its working...... But getting the right ending is still elusive! There is some other majic happening... on other examples...


    Why are we talking about Tarantino's films cigarrettes?? Red Apple TM

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