8. The Indefinite Article ein

The German word for “a,” “an,” or “one” is ein, and like the definite article, the various endings it takes can help you identify case, gender, and number of the following noun phrase. Thus, taking the examples Tisch, Feder and Bett, we have in the nominative and accusative cases:

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative ein Tisch eine Feder ein Bett keine Tische
Accusative einen Tisch eine Feder ein Bett keine Federn

There is no plural of ein, obviously, but to use kein- (“no”, “not a”) shows us that the -e ending on indefinite articles can indicate either a plural or feminine status. For example: keine Betten (no beds).

Examples of singular kein-:

Ich habe keine Ahnung.
I have no idea.
Kein Mensch weiß warum.
Nobody knows why.

Last revised on April 24, 2019.