German indefinite pronouns
- 1.What are indefinite pronouns in German?
- 1.1.List of most important indefinite pronouns
- 2.Declension of German indefinite pronouns
- 2.1.Regular declension
- 2.2.Declension of man, jemand, jeder
- 2.3.Not declinable indefinite pronouns
- 3.Usage of German indefinite pronouns
- 3.1.Types of indefinite pronouns
- 3.2.'Manche' vs. 'solche'
- 3.3.'Irgend-' in German
- 3.4.'Man' in German
- 3.5.Indefinite adjectives vs. indefinite pronouns
What are indefinite pronouns in German?
Indefinite pronouns in German are used for undefined subjects or objects. They have the function of generalizing.
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
Some of the indefinite pronouns are declined like demonstrative pronouns.
The table shows the declension at the example of 'einige' (some)
- 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||jemand||jeder (masculine)||jeder (feminine)||jeder (neutral)|
- 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
The 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 persons: man, jemand, niemand
indefinite pronouns for things: etwas, nichts, alles, ein bisschen, ein wenig
indefinite pronouns for persons and things: alle, einige, jeder, irgendein, kein, manche, mehrere, ein, welche
'Manche' vs. 'solche'
These words are used to speak about undefined groups of persons or things
|Usage||used for a limited amount of a whole||used fore differend things or persons of the same kind.|
'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
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