I am learning with duolingo and wondering why they say

Ich esse Pizza

without the indefinite article. Shouldn't they say

Ich esse eine Pizza

because Pizza is feminine (die Pizza) so in accusative case it becomes eine Pizza.

In another example they wrote

Ich esse einen Apfel

is right. So here they used the article 'einen' for 'der Apfel'. Can you explain the difference, please, why in some cases we use the article but in others not.

  • You shouldn't say "Ich esse Apfel", but you can say "Ich esse Apfelmus". The former is a specimen, a single fruit, so you should use an article (definite or indefinite). The latter is a kind of food (made of apples), a substance of which there is no specific item. If you say "Ich esse Pizza" the amount of pizza is irrelevant, it doesn't even have to be all of the same disc. If you say "Ich esse eine Pizza" you are eating one single disc. – Rudy Velthuis Dec 23 '18 at 17:00

I'll try my best to explain it. It is not wrong to say "Ich esse eine Pizza". But no one would ever say "Ich esse Apfel". Examples were the difference is more clear are "Ich esse Nudeln", "Ich esse Reis", "Ich trinke Wasser", etc.. There it would be wrong to say "Ich trinke ein Wasser", etc.. The reason is pretty much the same as in English. No one would ever say "I trink a water" Or "I eat a rice", but people do say "I eat an apple" rather than "I eat apple". When something doesn't come in defined distinct measures, like "one apple" or "one piece of bread", etc., then you don't use the article. Pizza is something in between. When you say "Ich esse eine Pizza", then you mean that you're eating exactly one pizza, the round thing with stuff on top of it. Whe you say "Ich esse Pizza", then you're just eating pizza, maybe one piece, maybe two or maybe 42, no one knows.

  • 4
    I don't think it's wrong to say "Ich trinke ein Wasser". You can also ask "Möchtest Du ein Bier, ein Wasser, eine Cola trinken?". Although it usually refers to a glas or bottle, if used with an article. – infinitezero Dec 23 '18 at 1:08
  • 2
    Also, when you order in a restaurant you say "Ich hätte gerne ein Wasser" – infinitezero Dec 23 '18 at 2:09

It is exactly the same as in English.

  • Without article:

    So, you are from Italy. What do you eat there?
    We eat pasta, and we eat pizza.

    This means: Pizza is among the food that you normally eat there.

  • With article:

    This smells fine. What is this on your plate? What are you eating now?
    I'm eating a pizza.

    This means that you are eating a specific pizza. You don't eat the pizza your friend ate.


Ich esse Fleisch.

ist eine generelle Aussage, nämlich die, dass man kein Vegetarier ist.

Ich esse ein Stück Fleisch.

ist dagegen eine konkrete Aussage. Fleisch ist hier zwar keine abzählbare Einheit in N. Becks Sinne, aber das ist hier, bei der Pizza, nicht das Problem, deshalb m.E. die falsche Antwort.

"Ich esse Pizza"

heißt nur, dass man es nicht generell ablehnt, Pizza zu essen, kann aber auch geäußert werden, wenn man auf dem Weg zum Italiener ist, und einer sagt "Ich esse eine Lasagne."

"Ich trinke Wein"

lässt die Menge offen. Dem Kellner gegenüber geäußert kann es bedeuten, dass ich mit Wein beginne, vielleicht den ganzen Abend Wein trinken werde, vielleicht nur einen. Man kann auch einen Espresso bestellen und auf die Frage "Trinkst Du keinen Wein?" antworten: "Ich trinke schon Wein, heute jedoch nicht, ich muss noch fahren!".

"Ich trinke einen Wein."

legt sich deutlich erst mal nur auf die Menge eines Weins fest.

"Ich esse eine Pizza" ist auch nicht sonderlich spezifisch, aber Huberts Antwort kommt dem Gefragten schon näher.


It is like in English:

Ich esse eine Pizza

means you are eating a pizza, a single specimen of the food kind pizza.

Ich esse Pizza

means you are eating the food kind pizza, but not necessarily one single disc.

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