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German indefinite pronouns

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What are indefinite pronouns in German?

Indefinite pronouns in German are used for undefined subjects or objects. They have the function of generalizing.

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List of most important indefinite pronouns

  • etwas - something
  • nichts - nothing
  • man - one/you (undefined)
  • jemand - somebody/someone/anybody/anyone
  • jeder - everybody/everyone/anyone/anybody/every(-thing)
  • nichts - nothing
  • alles - everything
  • etwas - something / a little
  • ein bisschen / ein wenig - a little
  • einige - some 
  • wenige - a few
  • mehrere -  various
  • ...

Declension of German indefinite pronouns

Regular declension

Some of the indefinite pronouns are declined like demonstrative pronouns. 

The table shows the declension at the example of 'einige' (some)

Nominativeeiniger einigeeinigeseinige
Dativeeinigem einigereinigemeinigen



  • Wie viele Äpfel hast du gepflückt? - Einige. - How many apples did you pick? - some.
  • Deutsch zu lernen fällt einigen schwer. - To learn German is hard for some (people).

Declension of man, jemand, jeder

In the table you can see the declension of man, jemand and jeder according to the German cases. You just need the masculine form for man and jemand. Jeder is declined according to the gender. These pronouns do not have a plural form.

 man jemandjeder (masculine)jeder (feminine)jeder (neutral)
Nominative man jemandjederjedejedes
Dative einemjemandemjedemjederjedem



  • Kann mir jemand helfen? - Can anybody help me?
  • Ich helfe immer gern jemandem- I always like to help someone.
  • Du kannst jeden fragen. - You can ask anyone.

Not declinable indefinite pronouns

enlightenedThe pronouns etwas, nichts, alles, ein bisschen, ein wenig are not declined. Those pronouns are always used in third-person singular and nominative case.


  • Nichts kann mich mehr schocken. Nothing can shock me anymore.
  • Hast du etwas gesagt?  - Did you say something.

Usage of German indefinite pronouns

Types of indefinite pronouns

There are indefinite pronouns of three different types:

  • indefinite pronouns for personsman, jemand, niemand

  • indefinite pronouns for thingsetwas, nichts, alles, ein bisschen, ein wenig

  • indefinite pronouns for persons and thingsalle, einige, jeder, irgendein, kein, manche, mehrere, ein, welche

'Manche' vs. 'solche'

These words are used to speak about undefined groups of persons or things

Usageused for a limited amount of a whole used fore differend things or persons of the same kind.
English translationsomesuch
  • Nicht alle Autos sind günstig, nur manche. -  Not all cars are cheap, just some. 
  • Viele Studenten lernen lagsam, manche jedoch schnell. - Many students learn slow, but some learn quick.
  • ​Das ist ein Sportwagen. Solche  sind Teuer. - Thats a sports car. Such are expensive.
  • Sudenten die schnell lernen, sind solche die es leichter haben. - Students who learn quick, are those who have it easier.

'Irgend-' in German

'Irgend-' means as much as 'some' or 'any'.

It is often added as an prefix to the pronouns 'jemand', 'etwas', 'ein', 'solche' or 'welche'.

'Irgend-' is used to enforce the generalization of the related subject or object.


  • Irgendeiner hat die Milch aus dem Kühlschrank genommen! - Someone took the milk out of the fridge!
  • Ich habe die Milch irgendjemandem gegeben. - I gave the milk to somebody.
  • Ich möchte in den ferien irgendetwas unternehmen. - I want to do something during he vacation.

'Man' in German

The pronoun 'man' means one or more unspecified people. The word 'man' is always used third-person singular and nominative form.


  • Man darf auf dem Schulhof nicht rauchen. - You must not smoke at the schoolyard.
  • Wenn es regnet, wird man nass. - If it rains, one gets wet.

For dative and accusative case we do not use 'man'. We use the word 'einem' for dative and for accusative we use 'einen'.


  • Im Winter ist einem oft kalt. - In winter one feels cold often.
  • Was einen nicht umbringt macht einen stärker. - What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Indefinite adjectives vs. indefinite pronouns

In German we have indefinite adjectives which accompany a noun and indefinite pronouns to replace the noun

  • Sie hat ein bisschen Angst. - She is a little afraid.
  • Ein bisschen kannst du dir noch nehmen. - You can take a little bit more.
  • Daniel hat einige neue Freunde gefunde. Daniel found several new friends here.
  • Einige von ihnen sind jünger als er. Some of them are younger than him
  • Meine Tante hat genug Geld.My aunt has enough money.
  • Sie hat immer genug. - She always has enough.
  • Meine Kollegen haben mir alles Gute gewünscht. - My colleagues wished me all the best.
  • Es war nicht genug für alle da. - There was not enough for everybody.
  • Leider gibt es keinen Hinweis - Unfortunatley there is no clue.
  • Keiner muss zahlen. - Nobody needs to pay.
  • Jeder Mensch weiß etwas. - Every person knows something.
  • Ich kenne jeden in diesem Dorf. - I know everyone in this village.


  1. Exercise of indefinite pronouns
  2. Exercise: Spot the German indefinite pronouns!

Exercise of indefinite pronouns

Exercise: Spot the German indefinite pronouns!

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