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First some background you must understand. In German there are four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. Basically, nominative is when something is the subject, the giver of the verb. Accusative is taken when something is the direct object, the receiver of the verb. Dative is the indirect object, usually the beneficiary or receiver of the direct object. Genitive is relation or possession. Das Kind gibt dem Sohn des Mannes den Apfel. Das Kind is nominative. dem Sohn is dative. des Mannes is genitive. den Apfel is accusative. By the way, that translates to: The child gives the son of the man (=the man's son) the apple.
Most verbs take accusative as an object but a couple take nominative, some dative and rarely genitive instead. Nominative: das ist sein Name (that's his name), accusative: ich kenne ihren Namen (I know her name), dative: dieses Wort gleicht deinem Namen (this word resembles your name), genitive: sie gedenkt seines Namens (she commemorates his name). Also, some prepositions always take accusative, some take dative, some take both (but not either), some take genitive. Look that up. Accusative: für einen Tag, dative: von einem Tag, either: an einen/einem Tag, genitive: innerhalb eines Tages.
Also, each noun in German takes a gender and it tends to be pretty random but there are several gender hints you can look up which say that certain noun endings tend to have or guarantee a certain gender. In general though, you just have to memorize the noun with its definite article to know its gender: der Apfel, das Haus, die Milch. One would think a tie would be masculine and a skirt would be feminine, but it's the other way around!
Here is the table:
And also for the indefinite articles (a/an):
I hope this helps! Good luck on your German journey. Don't give up!
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to use umluats in the spelling, is it acceptable to spell it Aepfel? I know Duo corrects you, but I have gotten away with that sort of spelling with "ue" using online dicionaries such as Leo, and I seem to recall that as being accepted when I took German classes. Any idea?
Yes, there are several ways
1) alt+different numbers = different letters with umlauts (http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/index.php/t49531.html)
2) install a keyboard layout that can type letters with umlauts (Apple extended, Canadian multilingual standard, German, US international, UK extended, etc.)
3) instead of using umlauts, write ae for ä, oe for ö, ue for ü; this is an accepted way to write the letters throughout the German-speaking world
Genitive is der and dative is den.
- die Männer - die Frauen - die Kinder
- (die Hüte) der Männer - (die Hüte) der Frauen - (die Hüte) der Kinder
- (mit) den Männern - (mit) den Frauen - (mit) den Kindern
- (ich sehe) die Männer - (ich sehe) die Frauen - (ich sehe) die Kinder
Is there any reason why when translating "The apples," the rensponse "Die Aepfel" is listed as having a spelling mistake? A similar thing occurs the "The oil" -> "Das Oel." Is it another umlaut rule I'm unaware of where capitalized umlauted words aren't written like that?
Well, first of all, ä is pronounced like the e in elk.
In this case, the der becoming the plural die, and the a becoming ä makes it plural. A similar pluralisation occurs with der Ofen becoming die Öfen, der Mantel - die Mäntel, die Tochter - die Töchter.
Keep in mind that this is a pretty uncommon way to pluralise. It is mostly masculine nouns that get pluralised this way (even with masculine nouns, it's fairly rare), there are extremely few feminine nouns that do so (only two), and as far as I know, neuter nouns never form their plural that way.
Edit: I finally discovered a neuter noun of that category: das Kloster -> die Klöster.
The problem is you can say a lot of things in one language that pretty well mean the same thing in another language. But on a language course you can pretty well expect to see insistence on translating the words that are given to you. Sometimes changes have to be made in a given construction because of differences in the language.
However, in this case die/the works perfectly in German and English. Duo asked you to translate two words. You chose not translate one of them. Duo has no way of knowing if that is because you don't know the word or don't understand how it is used. The computer has no way of knowing that you know the word, understand how it is used in both languages but just didn't feel like including it.
Well, first of all Zeug has nothing to do with Zug, they're entirely seperate words. As for pluralization, there are many ways to pluralize and it's helpful to remember each word with its plural form (like you should be doing with its article) until you become familiar enough with the art of German pluralization that you can almost always guess the correct plural form.
I just (purposely) spelled "apples" as "aplles" and it got counted as ok. SEE MY POINT? WHY....just WHY is this counted as correct/I get a pass on this spelling error, but when I spell it as "apple" and not "apples" its counted as wrong?!? This is inconsistent and wrong.
If a small typo results in something that is not an English word, it's considered a typo.
If a small typo results in something that is an English word, it's considered a mistake (because the system can't tell whether you deliberately used the wrong word -- perhaps because you misremembered what the German word means -- or whether you made a typo).
"apple" is an English word. "aplles" is not an English word.
It's consistent if you know what the rules are.
In German, "the apple" is der Apfel and "the apples" is die Äpfel -- so since the A has an umlaut here (Ä) and the article is die for plural rather than der for masculine, you know that it is several apples.
English has a few nouns where the plural is formed by changing the vowel (e.g. "one man, two men; one foot, two feet; one mouse, two mice"); German still has that to a much wider extent.
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English doesn't use Umlauts (the dots) to change the sound of a vowel, instead English usually just changes the vowel to suit the pronunciation: Man-Men, Woman-Women, or adds an "e" to the end of the word, but that usually changes the the meaning of the word as well as the pronunciation: Pin-Pine, Tin-Tine...
There aren't many nouns that really change their vowel sounds to indicate plurality (Foot-Feet, Mouse-Mice). English usually just ass "s" or "es" to make a noun plural. We do quite often Change the sound of Articles: This-These-Those, which is a nightmare for new English speakers...