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  5. "Wir essen einen Apfel."

"Wir essen einen Apfel."

Translation:We eat an apple.

December 24, 2012



To those who don't get the einen/den thing: these are articles in the accusative case. Accusative is a case (form of a noun) used mostly with direct objects. Take the English sentence: "I give him the apple" and break it down:

  • I - subject
  • give - verb
  • him - indirect object (give to whom?)
  • the apple - direct object (give what?)

In German we say "Ich gebe ihm den Apfel". The apple, which is the direct object, is in the accusative. On the other hand, him, the indirect object, is in dative case, hence ihm (it will be covered a few chapters later).


So all Masculine nouns in German, when used in the accusative case change from der to den, ein to einen?


well, for all masculine nouns (and only for masculine nouns), the article changes. (Accusative case is not marked on the noun itself, though the genitive and dative are marked.)

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_grammar#Cases [or any decent textbook] for more on what case is and how it's marked in German.


does 'ein,eine' mean 'a' and does 'einen' mean 'an'?thanks


No, all of them mean 'a, an' (or 'one') but are used with different cases. The difference between 'a' and 'an' in English is strictly 'the following word starts with a vowel sound'; the meaning is the same.

'Einen' is the masculine accusative indefinite article. 'Ein' is the masculine nominative, neuter nominative, and neuter accusative indefinite article; 'eine' is the feminine nominative and accusative indefinite article.


This sentence makes little sense. Are all of us supposed to be eating a single apple? Is there an apple shortage? Perhaps only one apple to go around? Should be 'Wir essen Äpfel.'


Do you not share apples between your entire family for dinner?


A lot of the phrases learnt on duolingo are like this. You're right, it doesn't make sense.


Why? You and your partner/sibling/parent (you name it...) have never sliced single apple to pieces and then shared between each other?


I hear children at my house cut up a single apple and inform me, "We are eating an apple, OK?" Isn't this something that also works in German? I do admit with all the kids after them, and the rising price of them, there is rather an apple shortage at my house....


Why can't I use ein here?


This is called accusative case, which is no longer marked in English but exists at least vestigially in German. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accusative_case, especially https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accusative_case#German


This might have already been asked/answered, but why isn't it "we are eating an apple" instead of "we eat an apple"? I thought there was no difference other than context between essen? Shouldnt it be correct too?


That should be correct. In German, there is no distinction between normal and progressive tenses.


Can someone explain to me how we use the verbs? Essen/ esse / esst ... ?


German verb conjugation is different than in English. Conjugation is how we change verb endings to match the subject, like I eat versus he eats.

The regular endings are:

Ich -e Du -st Er/sie/es -s Wir -en Ihr -t Sie/ other sie -en

Some verbs are irregular, though so you'll just have to memorize those ones


Why don't we add der, das, die Infront of Apple but add an einen?


{der, das, die} = 'the'
{ein, eine, einen, einem, etc} = 'a'


So just to be sure, there is no differance between "i eat" and "i am eating" in german right? You can only tell by the context?


Correct. By context or other words that describe it in more detail.


What is the difference with "ein" , "eine" and "einen"


They mean the same thing, but they match with nouns of different genders and cases.


Why "einen" is used instead of "Ein"?


This is called accusative case, which is no longer marked in English but exists at least vestigially in German. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accusative_case, especially https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accusative_case#German


Your patience with the "einen vs ein" questions is amazing. I just had to say.


What would the plural be for this sentence? Simply "Wir essen Apfel?"


Almost, but the plural of Apfel is Äpfel: Wir essen Äpfel


Thanks! Is that a typical way to make things plural -- simply by adding the umlaut? Or is that unusual?


It's one of several typical ways to form plurals in German, and related languages -- the very same sound change as English man > men, in fact.


Ah! That's a helpful way to look at it, thanks.


How can I tell if a noun is masculine, feminine, or neutral? Like if we weren't given the "einen", "ein", or "eine" for context.


the short answer is, 'you can't.' there are rules, but as in english there are a great many exceptions.

your best bet is probably to learn each noun with its article (der/die/das). you can also look it up; any dictionary worth its weight will tell you which class every noun is in.


Can someone explain to me when we use der, das and die?


All are used to mean 'the', so they don't really apply to this exercise, which is about the indefinite article translated 'a'. However, the answer to the question "Is there any reason why [noun] is Der instead of Die [or Das]?" is almost always "no". You can try to guess which nouns get which article by comparison with other languages (such as, for der Bär, Spanish el oso), but that only gets you so far, especially across different language families—note that while German Apfel is masculine, the Spanish manzana is not. Many people find they have to just learn it by memorization; your best bet may be to learn each noun with its article as a unit.

You can also look it up; any dictionary worth its weight will tell you which class every noun is in. Wikipedia's companion project Wiktionary often provides not only the grammatical gender marker but also a table showing the full declension of each noun across the various case and number options, including articles; for an example, see Apfel.

Wikipedia's article on German articles may be helpful for learning more about the assorted forms.


InfiniteBuffalo; thanks for all of your great Advice on the German discussion. I have lived in Germany six years and none of which i had Been incorrect on my understanding of the language. So thank you for all your help!


People care about grammar too much; if I forget to press "n" after "a", it will say I'm wrong simply because I didn't spell "an" right? Shouldn't it at least be an "almost correct" instead?


It's still incorrect.


I I thought essen was food how come it became eating ????


Essen, as a noun, is food. Essen, the verb, is the act of eating that food. Note that nouns in German are typically capitalized, which will help distinguish them, but the use of articles (das Essen, oder ein Essen -- the food, or a meal) or pronouns (Wir essen, we eat; sie essen, they are eating) will also typically be a difference.

(This is not uncommon in English either, especially among older words. An enjoyable book is often called a good read. While cats and dogs get food, livestock usually are fed feed. And so on.)


So it is qrong to say the woman eatS an apple


"The woman eats an apple." is a correct sentence in English.


So how to say, we are eating an apple..


The same way: wir essen einen Apfel.


Hi, my question is why EINEN (which i understand is masculine accusative) and not EINE (which should be the feminine accusative)? Thanks!


Because Apfel is a masculine noun in German, not a feminine one.


Thanks Mizinamo, Duolingo tells me (f) next to Apfel and that was the source of all my troubles! :D


Oh dear!

No idea why it does that -- but Apfel is definitely masculine in German.

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