When to use eine and einen?

I´m still puzzled with that.. anybody knows any rule?

December 30, 2011


This depends on the case of the noun you're using as well as the gender of the noun you're using. For example, a dog is male (ein Hund) while a cat is female (eine Katze). This changes if the dog switches from being the subject to the object (the thing being acted upon by the main noun); for example, "Der Mann isst einen Hund" or "Der Mann isst eine Katze.) There's an additional dative case but that comes with more nouns in your sentence (the "am" short for "an dem" and "im" short for "in dem" you sometimes see in examples). Neuter nouns like "das Kind" use "ein" for both subjective and objective cases.

As a guideline (not a hard rule), nouns ending in "e" are female, borrowed words are often neuter, and objects or traits you often think of as masculine are often masculine.

December 30, 2011

Thank You for making tbis easier for me!! I got so confused why ein, eine and Also einen was used! Too Many a's are being used, as far as I was concerned. Now it'll be better!

May 13, 2013

eine is for feminine nouns like Die Frau and einen is for masculine nouns like der Mann. Example:eine Frau und einen Lehrer isst mittagsessen. (a woman and a teacher eat lunch together)

November 7, 2012

question in your sentence i think it should be ein Lehrer because it is the nominative case and isst should be essen because 2 people are eating like in they are eating but not 100% sure since i am still trying to figure all these out

July 15, 2013

You are right on both counts, pgrotrian. A possible sentence with isst and einen is:

Die Frau isst einen Lehrer für Mittagessen.

January 12, 2014

check out the masculine/feminine lessons' question board. there is a FANTASTIC response for some general rules to apply to guess whether a word is der/die/das. In the end, you just need to memorise a lot. But it makes it easier to have something, albeit not perfect, to start with :)

July 14, 2012

I am also puzzled with that but I get to understand it more and more when I keep on doing the german lessons

January 8, 2013

It depends on gender (m/f/n) and case (Nom./Gen./Akk./Dat.) of the corresponding noun (or the noun that is replaced if "eine[r/s/n/m]" is used as a pronoun). Quick runthrough: m: ein/eines/einen/einem f: eine/einer/eine/einer n: ein/eines/einein/einem (same as masculinum)

February 20, 2012

Although German has 4 grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive), the accusative case is ONLY distinct in the masculine. Otherwise, it is identical to nominative. So you have:

Der Hund, die Katze, das Pferd (Nominative - e.g. Der Hund ist froh.) [or] ein Hund, eine Katze, ein Pferd

In the accusative, only masculine articles change: Ich habe einen Hund / den Hund. Ich habe eine Katze / die Katze. Ich habe ein Pferd / das Pferd.

I hope that makes it clearer. I think this way of looking at it makes it much simpler. Once you know this, you just have to learn the gender of every noun... :-(

EDIT: Hey duolingo, we should be allowed put in blank lines! It makes grammar a lot easier to read!

June 17, 2012

Danke, This little rule helps much. I was learning something about that in previous lessons, but was not sure if there was anything for the other genders. Thanks much for the information.

Also, the thing with the gender, I have been studying it a little, and I find that my brain is getting to know when to use the feminine or masculine for the different words, just go with it, and you should start learning what they are little by little. Hope this helps!

I am also trying to learn if there is a pattern to the system of genders, and so far, I have not yet found one. if anyone has any information on this, please let me know.

April 17, 2013

Okay, I'll try:

M: nouns that are masculine (der Bruder);
days of the week,months,seasons(der Sommer); NSWE (Nord,Sud,...), winds and rainfalls (der Regen); nouns that end in -ich, -ig, -ling (der Honig); nouns from other languages that end in -ant, -ent, -ist, -ismus (der Jurist, der Student)

F: nouns that are feminine (die Kuh, but DAS Mädchen, DAS Fräulein); nouns formed of numbers (die Zwei); nouns ending in -ei, -heit, -in, -keit, -schaft, -ung (die Faulheit); -age, -anz, -enz, -ie, -ik, -ion, -ur, -tät.

N: cities, continents and most of the countries; chemical elements, metals and other materials; colors, letters, languages, physical units; diminutives ending in -chen, -lein; nouns formed of other words (das Lesen - reading; das Schöne - idk the exact translation..the beautiful?); nouns that came from other languages ending in -(i)um, -(m)ent (das Instrument);

Hope this helps at least for some words. This is how our teacher explained genders in German (it was a long time ago). If you find this helpful, you're free to copy paste it wherever you want. P.S. Try to learn words with the gender itself, like "der Hund", not just Hund and keep the tricky ones in your memory (das Mädchen).

July 23, 2013

that will be very helpful when I am learning any language with gender words. Thanks very much, and I think I did that partially, without knowing I was doing it. But now that I know the trick, that my brain was trying to do on it's own, I think I can help it out a bit now. ^.^ Thanks again!

August 22, 2013

You can find lists of endings that are normally feminine, normally masculine, or normally neuter, and other tricks like these, but there is really no rule. There are exceptions to these "tricks" and in reality the gender that comes along with a noun is generally arbitrary.

September 11, 2013

wow - at least i try to remember this comment too - thanks your comment.

December 22, 2016

So, the important is to learn the gender of every noun..

December 22, 2016

Yes, learn the gender together with the word wherever possible.

May 11, 2018

I would like your comment but I'm not sure which heart to click.......Any-Way thanks!

August 16, 2013

The arrow pointing up

November 29, 2013

So the upside down heart?

December 14, 2013

There are no hearts, but if you want to look at it that way, sure, yes, uh-huh.

January 8, 2014

They look like hearts to me too!

January 10, 2014

You use eine when the word to use is feminine and singular.

You use einen when the word is masculine, singular and it gets the action of the sentence.

I hope be helpful to someone, did I?

August 5, 2013

please explain in simple english, what is accusative,nominative, dative, and how to use ein,eine,einen, and den?

January 4, 2014

Haven't used this site in ages, but I'm back to answer this question. I learned Latin in school, so this all seems natural for me now. I hope this reply is clear.

A noun in nominative case is the subject of the sentence. It is the thing which "does" the verb:

I went to the shop

The dog is hungry

A noun in accusative case is the object of the sentence. It has the verb "done" to it:

I hate him

The dog eats his dinner

Dative is slightly harder. Roughly speaking, it is used for verbs with a second object, such as "to give". The thing we give is already accusative, so we need another case for the person it is given to. Otherwise we wouldn't know whether the hat is given to the man, or the man to the hat! This is usually marked with words like "to" or "for" in English. In reality though, you just have to learn exactly when to use dative in German.

She gave the hat to the man

I post the letter to her

January 6, 2014

If you are an English grammar nerd like I am, you can think of noun cases parallel to English sentence parts:

Nominative case is the subject.

Accusative case is the direct object.

Dative case is the indirect object.

January 10, 2014

Yes, I kind of know.

August 2, 2013

Also, like words ending in "e" are usually feminine, words ending in "er" are usually masculine. A lot of words ending in "el" are masculine as well (der Vogel, der Himmel, etc)

September 9, 2013

it help a lot

November 25, 2013

Yeah I mean it is just a matter of how it is used in a sentence

January 15, 2014
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