Translation:The apple is red; it is a red apple.
I feel your pain. A really good, clear explanation of adjective endings can be found here: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/adjektivendungenexpl.html
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.
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.
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".)
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?
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".
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.
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.
"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”.