The use of ein and einen

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by BurnRose, May 26, 2009.

  1. BurnRose

    BurnRose New Member

    I'm working hard to learn German properly. Can anyone please explain to me the proper usage of ein and einen?


    Der Hund
    ein Hund
    die Frau und einen Hund
    *why did it change from ein to einen?

    der Apfel
    Sie isst einen Apfel
    *why is it not ein Apfel?

    Or is this one of those things that just need to be memorized?
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Sie isst einen Apfel (accusative-male "ein Apfel")
    Sie isst den Apfel (acc, male "der Apfel")

    Sie isst eine Kirsche. (accusative,female)
    Sie isst die Krische.

    Sie isst ein Brot. (accusative, neuter)
    Sie isst das Brot.

    As you can see the article just changes for male nouns. Nomative "der"/"ein" changes to accusative "den"/"einen".

    "die Frau und einen Hund" this ir wrong. It must be "Die Frau und ein Hund..."
  3. BurnRose

    BurnRose New Member

    Sorry what it said was "Sie hat einen Hund."
    It is from the Rosetta Stone program (which doesn't explain things for you)
    I'm learning from many different sources but this always confused me.
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  4. killerbees Senior Member

    Philadelphia, PA
    English [US]
    Der Hund is masculine and as Frank78 said, the masculine indefinite article "ein" becomes "einen" in the accusative. All it means is that "einen Hund" is the direct object of the sentence, so, in the case of "Sie hat einen Hund", the dog is what she has, which is why the article changes.
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  5. BurnRose

    BurnRose New Member

    Thank you Frank and killerbees, it makes sense now.
  6. Derselbe Senior Member

    Deutsch, German, ドイツ語
    It's up to you, but if you ask me, Rosetta Stone is not recommandable to study any language. It's good that you're learning from different sources but Rosetta Stone shouldn'e be one of them. People who were using Rosetta Stone for studying usually end up making five mistakes in one sentence.

    We have some English natives here who speak excellent German. I'd suggest you to ask them what sources they were using.
  7. BurnRose

    BurnRose New Member

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for sources of learning German besides actually going there and submersing myself. I would love nothing more, but not an option at this time. It's hard to learn on your own with no one to talk to about it or to share with. I'm learning from every source I can get my hands on, but i'm intimidated to speak to write sometimes because of my mistakes and lack of knowledge for quick sentence structure, but I do have a very large vocabulary.
  8. killerbees Senior Member

    Philadelphia, PA
    English [US]
    Personally, my first recommendation would be to never feel intimated. As a non-native speaker, you just have to accept the fact that you are going to make mistakes sometimes.

    Aside from that, I like to learn through media and contemporary literature. I was forced to read a lot of 19th century German literature which was great, but didn't really yield any practical knowledge of the language [I could read die Harzreise, but didn't know the words for traffic light or cardboard], so I found reading recent novels extremely helpful.

    Media, in the sense of film, radio shows, etc., is a great way to hear how people speak, but I think the only [or best] way to learn is to just do it. You'll probably be corrected often, but you won't learn if you never know when you're wrong [or, at least, when you sound funny.]

    I also agree with Derselbe, this forum is a fantastic resource.
  9. Derselbe Senior Member

    Deutsch, German, ドイツ語
    First of all I'm happy to hear how eager you are. I don't know your exact motivation to study German but don't forget that it should be fun as well and in the end it's all about communication with other people, so don't feel intimidated or something like that. Also, I don't think you need to be in Germany to study German. Actually I think that can be disadvantageous too. I very often meet exchange students who speak very good German, but they all started studying all the ugly stuff like grammar back home before they came. If I compare their Gemang language skills with most of the foreigners who have been living in Germany for 20 years and more I have to say that it seems to be not the worst way to start studying back home and go to Germany after you have already achieved a certain basis.

    I think one reason for this is that, unlike English (with has much more vocabulary), the German language expresses a lot of things by means of grammar. Some people think you could speak German without studying declensions, but in my opinion that the main part at a beginner level. It's a very cumbersome progress, but once you understood all those adjective and gender based declensions and basic syntax rules you have mastered a major part and you will be given remarkable credit by German natives.

    I think what you need in order to do that is a good - not too easy - grammar book. Sometimes people sell too easy text and grammar books and try to make students thinks that they wouldn't need much effort to study a language because of a new "approach" or "method" or whatever. Personally, I think there is no way to sidestep studying declensions and that's going to take efforts.

    Unfortunately I can't recommand you a certain book but I'd start by looking for a good grammar or textbook at a bookstore. And of course, if there's something you don't understand fell free to ask any question here.

    And don't forget to have fun!

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