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What if you want to say there were eleven elves or one elf in German, how would you say that?

If elf both means elf and eleven how do you say eleven elves? I'm a writer and I prefer writing fantasy and I would like to include different languages in my novels.

January 3, 2018



What a nice game with words :-)

The english word elf has in german a male and a female form: "der Elf" and "die Elfe".

Their pluralform is in both cases "die Elfen".

So finally: eleven elfs = elf Elfen

P.S.: An elf, which thinks he is more than an elf, is he a twelf then? ;-)


...and Tolkien elves are "Elben"; singular: der Elb, die Elbin.


The others are right about the plural form. Plus, don't forget German nouns are capitalised, so you always know if it is the elf, the creature, or the number.

Happy New Year :)


You would know because "elf" would be plural. "Elf Elfen"


google translate (!) says "es gab elf Elfen" I remember a famous poem (Schiller?) that started: Es war ein alter Koenig.... so perhaps you could say: es war elf Elfen. I'm sure someone will give you a better answer soon :)

  • 2083

Heine Heinrich

Es war ein alter König, Sein Herz war schwer, sein Haupt war grau; Der arme alte König, Er nahm eine junge Frau.

Es war ein schöner Page, Blond war sein Haupt, leicht war sein Sinn; Er trug die seidne Schleppe Der jungen Königin.

Kennst du das alte Liedchen? Es klingt so süß, es klingt so trüb! Sie mußten beide sterben, Sie hatten sich viel zu lieb.


Danke! Jetz weine ich. :)


Is it for two, or four, too?


perhaps it's for four tutus. And vielleicht vier Elfen helfen elf Elfen... they are painting a pub sign for The Hand and Flower.... and there should be decorative stars between the words... but they accidentally leave out the last two, prompting one elf to call out, "You missed out the stars between "Hand" and "and", and "and" and "Flower"!" Best delivered in an East End accent, giving: "You missed out the stars between 'and and and, and and and Flower!" I suppose you could create a similar effect in German if you called the pub: "Der Grund und Unding" but that would be absurd :)


I suggest "Grund und Untergrund": "Du hast die Sternchen zwischen Grund und und und und und Untergrund vergessen!"

Reminds me of that classic, "Wenn hinter Griechen Griechen kriechen, kriechen Griechen Griechen nach." ("When Greeks crawl behind Greeks, Greeks crawl after Greeks.") ...Edit: and I forgot about "Wenn hinter Fliegen Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen nach." ("When flies fly behind flies, flies follow flies.")

...or "Hier sind die, die die, die die Kirschen gestohlen haben, anzeigen wollen." ("Here are the people who want to report those who stole the cherries.")


Ausgezeichnet! Thanks for those.


Da waren elf Elfen.


Sie hatten je zehn Zehen
(Davon nur neun neue).
Zwei schliefen, acht achten
Auf sieben Sieben.

(you get to complete this...)

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