ein/eine both means a
"means" is a tricky word.
If you think of it as being "equals, is completely identical to" then it's not the right word.
ein can translate into English as "a" or as "an" (depending on the following English word).
eine can translate into English as "a" or as "an" (depending on the following English word).
"a" can translate into German as ein or as eine (depending on the gender and case of the following German word), or as various other forms depending on gender and case.
"an" can translate into German as ein or as eine (depending on the gender and case of the following German word), or as various other forms depending on gender and case.
It's not a 1:1 translation.
Mann is the normal, nominative, form.
Manne is dative and
ein appears with
Mann, the nominative form only.
In most Western languages you will come across "declinations", which modify a noun depending on what function it serves in a sentence and what and how a verb uses it. The modification typically is visible as different word endings in nouns. Even though English has these declinations as well, many of them are not visible, i.e. the same noun in different declinations is often spelled exactly the same.
In German, however, the declinations of a noun are often very unique and easily distinguishable from one another. This makes it harder to learn, but more easy to identify, if you are familiar with the declinations of a noun. There are four different declinations or "cases" in German and English: Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative.
The declinations of
Mann, along with the definite and indefinite article are as follows:
der/ein Mann (nominative)
des/eines Mannes (genitive)
dem/einem Mann(e) (dative)
den/einen Mann (accusative)
The articles in front of the various declinations of a noun must harmonize with the respective declination, i.e. the articles are declined as well as the nouns they appear with and they must match the declination of the noun. So, you cannot say
ein Manne, since
ein is nominative and
Manne is dative.
The parentheses around the
e indicate that the
e is optional.
Manne is less commonly used. I'd say it's mostly used in a poetic context, whereas
Mann as a dative form is colloquial use.
Here, I found something on Wikipedia on the topic that describes it better (it's in the section
General rules of declension):
Dative forms with the ending -e (dem Gotte, dem Manne) are mostly restricted to formal usage, but widely limited to poetic style. Such forms are not commonly found in modern texts, except in fixed expressions (such as im Stande sein "to be able") and for some certain words (e.g. (dem) Hause, Wege or Tode) which are, however, quite numerous; in these cases, omitting the -e would similarly [be] unusual.
Not sure what you're asking. You learn genders with the nouns and then apply the correct word ending to them as well as any adjectives, pronouns or articles that go with those nouns.
For instance, in nominative singular, the three forms of
ein in the three genders are:
Ein Mann. (masculine)
Eine Frau. (feminine)
Ein Mädchen. (neuter).
Word endings change when nouns appear in different cases and counts.
For instance, in the following sentences, the three nouns from above appear in accusative singular:
einen Mann. - I see a man.
eine Frau. - I see a woman.
ein Mädchen. - I see a girl.
So, in the above you will notice that word endings are different between nominative singular and accusative singular for masculine nouns. For feminine and neuter nouns, however, they are identical between the two cases.
There are two more cases in German, genitive and dative, all with yet another set of different word endings.
That's the German language. We don't have only one "type" / gender of nouns but three. A word used with the wrong gender would just sound wrong / funny. You only see the three genders with the definite article ("der, die das", in English "the") as with the indefinite article the one for masculine and neuter are the same words ("ein").
So the difference between "ein" and "eine" is not in the meaning but only in a grammatical sense. Masculine and neuter words need a "ein", femine words need a "eine". You just have to learn the gender for each noun.
In German nouns can be of three different genders: masculine (male), feminine (female) and neuter (neither male nor female).
So, the English "the" has three possible translations, "der", "die" or "das."
"Der" is used with masculine nouns, "die" is used with feminine nouns, "das" is used with neuter nouns.
I've always wondered, is there any indication that German is moving towards the English habit of writing common nouns with initial small letters?
Not in any official way.
People texting might leave out capitalisation -- but they also often leave out punctuation.
What would be wrong with ein mann?
there is nothing inherently wrong with it it's just a convention after all what would be wrong with writing i went to the park yesterday and i met sean meaney there
Shouldn't it be Eine Mann
No. eine is used before feminine nouns (e.g. eine Gabel, eine Person "a fork; a person") while ein is used before masculine nouns (e.g. ein Löffel, ein Mann "a fork; a man") or neuter nouns (e.g. ein Messer, ein Mädchen "a knife; a girl").
You have to learn the grammatical gender of each word; it's not usually possible to guess it.
the app said I was wrong! So, who's wrong or right?
My money would be on the app being right and you being wrong -- the German course is fairly mature by now and it's rare for correct answers to be wrongly rejected.
Nobody can see what you wrote, though, so that's just a guess on my part. If you would like help finding your mistake, you'll have to show us a screenshot -- upload it to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur) and tell us the URL of the image.
Without a screenshot showing exactly what you wrote and what kind of exercise you had, the best anyone can do is guess.
the correct answer
No such thing.
There are several accepted translations here, so talking about "the" correct answer (as if there was only one) is nonsense.