The indefinite adjective is a special type of adjective, which describes nouns in a non-specific way. Most adjective forms in German give a specific modification of nouns, because their main goal is to provide further information. But indefinite adjectives don't do so.
The indefinite adjectives are always used in combination with a noun that they refer to. Here is a list of the most common used indefinite adjectives in German and their translation:
|German indefinite adjective||Meaning|
|etwas||any / something|
|jeder / jede / jedes||each / every|
|viele||many / a lot of|
|einige / mehrere||several|
|irgendein / irgendeine||some|
|ein / eine / ein||one|
Some of the words have different forms referring to the gender of the noun, but most of them stay the same, no matter which type of noun they belong to.
The important thing when using indefinite adjective is to always use these words in combination with a noun and to adjust the adjective to the gender and number of the noun.
Here are some examples:
As you see the adjective is always accompanied by a noun! Because otherwise the word would be a pronoun.
The difference between indefinite pronouns and adjectives in quite simple. Indefinite adjective always directly refer to a noun, while pronouns replace the noun of the sentence. To get the difference, have a look at the following examples:
|Sentence with indefinite adjective||Sentence with indefinite pronoun|
|Ich habe kein Geld. (I don't have any money.)||Ich habe keins. (I don't have any.)|
|Ich habe einige Bilder im Schrank gesehen. (I have seen some pictures in the sideboard.)||Ich habe einige im Schrank gesehen. (I have seen some in the sideboard.)|
|Wir essen einen Kuchen zum Nachtisch. (We are having one cake for dessert.)||Ich mag Kuchen. Kann ich bitte einen haben? (I like cake. Can I have one please?)|
Keep in mind that the used words are the same! But indefinite pronouns take the place of nouns and therefore the noun in the sentence is missing.
To get a further understanding of German indefinite pronouns, have a look at the chapter about it.
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