The German indefinite article (ein, eine, ein) | Declensions


The indefinite article.

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The indefinite article is: ”ein-

The indefinite article is used in situations when an object or person are unknown or they don't have a name. In general at the beginning of a tale/story/telling when we specify a noun we use the indefinite article, but along the story after identifying and repeating the same noun we already use the definite article.

Example:

> In einem Wald steht ein Haus. In das Haus lebt ein alter Mann. Der alte Mann hatte einen Hund. Der Hund war sein bester Freund. 

Observe how the indefinite article transforms into definite article along the story.

ein Haus → das Haus, ein Mann → der Mann, ein Hund → der Hund

Translation:

In a forest there was a house. In the house lived an old man. The old man had a dog. The dog was his best friend.

a house - the house, an old man - the old man, a dog - the dog

 

The declension of the indefinite article is made according to the case of the noun it precedes. Often the case of the noun is given by the shape of the indefinite article, because the noun alone can't offer informations about their own case. 

Integrarea articolului intr-un caz se face pe baza întrebarilor ajutătoare specifice fiecărui caz în parte. The integration of the idefinite article in a case is made possible with the help of questions which are specific for each case.

Helping questions for determining the cases:

Nominative case: (wer?), (was?), - The subject of a sentence, that which carries out the action

Accusative case: (wen?) who?,  (was?) what? - The direct object, that which is acted upon; (wohin?) where to? where from?

Dative case. (wem?) to who?, whom? (wo?) where?

Genitive case. (wessen?) whose?

Singular:

Case

masculine gender

feminine gender

neuter gender

Nominative

ein Mann

eine Frau

ein Kind

Accusative

einen Mann

eine Frau

ein Kind

Dative

einem Mann

einer Frau

einem Kind

Genitive

eines Mannes

einer Frau

eines Kindes

Doesn't apply for plural!

Examples of phrases that ask for nominative case: (Who?; What? - The subject of a sentence, that which carries out the action)

> Eine Frau hat ihre Tasche verloren. (A woman lost her purse.) 

Who lost her purse? A woman.

> Ein Fenster ist zerbrochen. (A window got broken.)

What got broken? A window.

> Ein Freund von mir hat sich sein Bein gebrochen. (A friend of mine broke his leg.)

Who broke his leg? A friend.

> Auf der Straße liegt ein Fahrrad. (On the street lies a bicycle.)

What lies on the street? A bicycle.


Examples of phrases that ask for accusative case (Who?; What?
The direct object, that which is acted upon)

> Ich habe einen Freund getroffen. (I met a friend.)

Who did I meet? A friend.

> Mein Vater kommt von eine Sitzung. (My father comes from a meeting .)

From where comes my father? From a meeting.

> Ich habe einen Mitschüler bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen. (I helped a classmate with the homework.)

Who did I help with the homework? A classmate.

> Ich esse einen Apfel. (I am eating an apple.)

What am I eating? An apple.


Examples of phrases that ask for dative case: (to who?; whom?; where?)

> Ich bin in einem Garten. (I am in a garden.)

Where am I? In a garden.

> Einem Kind ist schlecht geworden. (A child became sick.)

Whom/to who became sick? A child.

> Ich schenke meine CD Collection einem Freund. (I gave my CD collection to a friend.)

To who did I give my CD collection? A friend.


Examples of phrases that ask for genitive case:  (whose?)

> Das Heft eines Schülers... (A student's notebooks.)

Whose notebooks? A student's.

> Das Kind einer Frau hat sich beim spielen verletzt. (A woman's child hurt himself while playing)

Whose child hurt himself while playing? Al woman's.

> Die Tasche einer Frau ist gestohlen worden. (A woman's purse got stolen.)

Whose purse got stolen? A woman's.

 

The denied indefinite article

The denied indefinite article is ”kein-”

- it's declension is the same as in the indefinite article's case

- it applies also for plural

- it's translation is: "no", "not a", "not any"

o   example:
kein Mann = no man
keine Fraun = no woman
>

Case

masculine gender

feminine gender

neuter gender

plural

Nominative

kein Mann

keine Frau

kein Kind

keine

Accusative

keinen Mann

keine Frau

kein Kind

keine

Dative

keinem Mann

keiner Frau

keinem Kind

keinen

Genitive

keines Mannes

keiner Frau

keines Kindes

keiner