How Do You Say One in German? It's One of the Most Important Words! How Do You Say One in German? It's One of the Most Important Words! – MostUsedWords
How Do You Say One in German? It's One of the Most Important Words!

How Do You Say One in German? It's One of the Most Important Words!


“One” counts as one of the most common words in any language. Numerals are an important tool for communication. Knowing at least the basic numbers in the language of the country you are visiting as a tourist will make your holiday experience much smoother.

Today, we will look into how to say one in German. As it is often the case with this language, it has various endings which can complicate things a bit. However, don’t worry, we will cover all the important facts and show you the proper usage in a lot of example sentences.

 

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Our unique German Frequency Dictionaries are a great source if you want to learn German fast and effectively. We will teach you 10,000 most common words to help you understand 99% of all daily spoken language. Each entry also has an example sentence translated into English, so you can discover new vocabulary and grammatical structures naturally through context.

 

How Do You Say One in German?

 

Learning to count at least to 10 is one of the first things one wants to tackle in their target language. The same is true of German. There are two ways to say one in German. However, they are not replaceable.

 

Difference between Eins and Ein

 

“One” can be translated as eins or ein into German. They are pronounced [aɪ̯n] or [aɪ̯ns] in the IPA transcription. Use eins when you count in sequence, such as one, two, three, etc. In German, you would say eins, zwei, drei.

Eins does not have any endings. However, remember that you cannot say eins Hund (= one dog). 

If you count items, use ein, which is also an indefinite article like a/an in English. So, you can say Ich habe einen Hund. – I have a dog. Or Ich habe nur einen Hund. – I only have one dog.

As you can see in the example sentence, ein has endings depending on gender and case (more about that later).

 

When to Use Eins in German

 

  1. When counting in sequence, such as eins, zwei, drei (= one, two, three).
  2. In maths – Eins und drei macht vier. – One plus three equals four.
  3. When telling time – Es ist eins. – It is one. (But Es ist ein Uhr. – It’s one o’clock.)
  4. In phrases, such as Absatz eins – paragraph 1 or Nummer eins – number one.
  5. In the meaning of something or one thing: Eins muss ich dir sagen. – I must tell you one thing.
  6. Eins sein means to agree on something or to be in tune with something. Sie waren eins mit dem Universum. – They were in tune with the universe.

 

When Not to Use Eins in German

 

Remember not to use eins before nouns. You cannot say Ich habe eins Bruder. – I have one brother. You must use the respective form of ein in this case. Ich habe einen Bruder would be correct.

 

Declension of Ein

 

Let’s take a look at a quick overview of the endings of ein.

 

 

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Plural

Nominative

ein

eine

ein

-

Genitive

eines

einer

eines

-

Dative

einem

einer

einem

-

Accusative

einen

eine

ein

-

 

You can compare it to the endings of the definite article (der, die, das) which are similar.

 

 

Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Plural

Nominative

der

die

das

die

Genitive

des

der

des

der

Dative

dem

der

dem

den

Accusative

den

die

das

die

 

When to Use Ein in German

 

  • When you want to translate “one” into German. It is used before nouns. As in Ich habe nur ein Bier bestellt. – I have ordered just one beer. Or Du bekommst noch eine Chance. – You will get one more chance.
  • Ein (and its respective forms) is also an indefinite article (the German equivalent of a/an). As in Dazu muss man einen Namen angeben. – You must enter a name for this. Or Wir leben in einer zivilisierten Gesellschaft. – We live in a civilized society.

 


 

Ein, Eine, Eines, Einer, Einem oder Einen?

 

The translation of the heading would read something like this: “a, a, a, a, a, or a.” In order to master German endings, you must first know which gender the respective noun is. And second, you must determine which case you need.

 

Ein (for Masculine or Neuter Nouns) and Eine (for Feminine Nouns)

 

The nominative case is the subject of the sentence. As in Ein Mann muss seine Grenzen kennen. – A man must know his limitations. Or Eine Kopie dieses Dokuments wurde gespeichert. – A copy of this document has been saved.

 

Eines (M, N) and Einer (F) in the Genitive Case

 

The genitive case shows possession. It can also follow certain prepositions, such as statt (= instead of), während (during), or wegen (= because of).

 

Let’s take a look at some example sentences with eines (for masculine and neuter nouns) and einer (for feminine nouns).

 

  • Das Leben eines Kindes ist in Gefahr. – A child’s life is at stake.
  • Die Erde hat die Form einer Orange. – The earth is the shape of an orange.

 

Einem or Einer in the Dative Case

 

Use einem for masculine and neuter nouns and einer for feminine nouns. The dative case indicates the indirect subject of the sentence – e.g. “with whom.”  The German prepositions with dative are, for example, aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu.

 

  • Er begrüßte mich mit einem Lächeln. – He greeted me with a smile.
  • Ich wurde von einer Biene gestochen. – I was stung by a bee.
  • Sie geben einem Unbekannten eine Million Euro? – You give a million euros to a man you don’t know? (to give something to somebody = jemandem etwas geben)

 

One (Or the Indirect Article) in the Accusative Case

 

You must use einen for masculine nouns, eine for feminine nouns, and ein for neuter nouns. The accusative indicates the direct subject of the sentence, such as “to see somebody/something.” The German prepositions with accusative are durch, für, gegen, ohne, and um.

 

  • Wir haben einen großen Garten. – We have a big garden.
  • Er verschwand ohne eine Spur. – He disappeared without a trace.
  • Ich sehe einen Fehler in dem Plan. – I see a flaw in that plan.
  • Ich möchte dir eine einfache Frage stellen. – I want to ask you one simple question.

 

Don’t forget to take a look at our German Frequency Dictionary series. You will learn practical vocabulary and improve your German fast! Each entry also has a pronunciation transcription and basic grammar information. 10,000 example sentences are a great reading practice, too!

 

Counting to 10 in German

 

Now we have learned all the important information about how to say one in German. However, our article wouldn’t be complete without a quick overview of how to count to 10 in the German language. The good news is that the other numerals do not have any other endings before nouns. You can say Ich habe zwei Katzen. – I have two cats, and zwei doesn’t change form.

You can learn a traditional nursery rhyme to help you remember the German numbers from 1 to 10 better!

 

Eins, zwei, Polizei

Drei, vier, Offizier

Fünf, sechs, alte Hex’

Sieben, acht, gute Nacht!

Neun, zehn, Auf Wiedersehen!

 

(Translation:

 

One, two, police,

Three, four, officer,

Five, six, old witch,

Seven, eight, good night,

Nine, ten, goodbye!)

 

We hope you have found today's article helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below. We will be more than happy to answer!


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