German Indefinite Articles


In German we have two main indefinite articles in the nominative case: ein and eine. The German indefinite articles, ein/eine, are used just like the English letter "a" or "an".

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In English and in German we have the “indefinite article”, or “der unbestimmte Artikel”. 
In English, the indefinite article is either “a” or “an”, depending on the spelling of the noun. In German, the indefinite article changes based on the three genders. In the nominative case they are: ein (masculine), eine (feminine), and ein (neuter). The indefinite article is used when talking about a non-specific noun and definitions, when talking about something we lack information about, or when referring to something for the first time.

There are several other words that follow the same declension as the indefinite article ‘ein’ : The negative article “kein”, and the possessive adjectives “mein, dein, sein, etc”. 

The endings of these ‘ein-Wörter’ are listed below along with the indefinite articles :

1. The Indefinite Article in different cases: 

Below is a chart for how the indefinite article changes based on gender and case. Notice that we do not use the indefinite article to refer to plural nouns. 

indefinite article1968e1b5d089490091f5e9ea4285d248 jpg

Das ist ein Hund. This is dog. (singular, masculine, nominative)
Ich habe einen Hund. I have dog. (singular, masculine, accusative)

2. The negative article

The endings of other ‘ein-Wörter’, such as the negative article “kein” are all identical to the indefinite article and its endings. Unlike the indefinite article, we can use the negative article to refer to plural nouns. 

negative article jpg

Das sind keine Rosen. These are no Roses. (plural, feminine, nominative)
Ich habe keine Haustiere. I have no pets. (plural, feminine, accusative)

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.