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(Seemingly) Out of place 1's

So, I've been revising my German and in basics level 4, (Currently the only place I have encountered this) I have found 1's dotted around where I believe they do not belong. Mostly, it replaces an 'a' I.e A boy, A woman' It just seems odd to put the 1 in instead of the A

If anyone knows why, can you please say? Thanks!

May 17, 2018



I assume you only see this in the corrected answer and not in any source sentence, correct?

It must be a default mechanism they use in corrected answers to show that the indefinite article “a” is missing without having to adjust the article for every possible aspect of agreement. In English, there’s only “a” and “an”, which would be easily doable, but in German, for instance, they would have to account for all possible combinations of three different gender and four different case inflections.

By using 1, they save themselves that trouble and the possibility of showing an incorrect inflection in what is supposed to be the correct answer.

It looks rather odd, but once you know why, it’s no big deal. You know what they mean.


Thanks for the clarification, I'm basic level German so it didn't seem obvious. I haven't encountered this since.

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