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  5. "Ik heb één broer."

"Ik heb één broer."

Translation:I have one brother.

May 3, 2015



Here we are trying to teach you that één means 1 and not a, which is een. Sure, using 'a' when talking may not be an issue, but it does convey a difference in meaning.

Mind that:

  1. a and een are indefinite articles.
  2. one and één indicate a number

Anyway, I personally think that the audio is clear enough: één is pronounced differently from een.

When accepting 'I have a brother' we are throwing away the purpose of this sentence(!), which is to teach you this difference, so I ask you to accept that we're looking for "I have one brother' as the answer instead. :)


A native Dutch speaker told me you don't need the accent marks in één. It's just that most people do it anyway. Is this true? Does it depend on your region?


It's part of standardized Dutch. Both een and één are valid to refer to the number with, but one must remember that een is also the indefinite article. This can quickly cause somebody to misinterpret the number as the indefinite article, as the indefinite article is such a common word. So, to disambiguate between the two, I personally determine if I should use één using the following criteria:

  • I'm talking about the number one
  • Een would also be valid when interpreted as an indefinite article

I've provided some more information below about the reason and logic behind the accents.

A bit more information

Acute accents (´) can be placed on the first two letters of a syllable to mark stress or emphasis:

  • Dit duurt ééuwig! — This is taking forever!
  • Weet je het héél zeker? — Are you really sure?
  • Een uitstékende oplossing! — An excellent solution!
  • Dat lied is écht ongelofelijk. — That song is truly incredible.
  • Dat lied is echt óngelofelijk. — That song is truly incredible.

This is important in this case, because the article een is almost always reduced to something more like un¹ in spoken Dutch, whereas the number één is never reduced. Because of this, turning een into één will force the reader to read it in its full (unreduced) form, a pronunciation which nowadays is almost used exclusively for the number.


  • Ik heb een broer. — I have a brother.
  • Ik heb één broer. — I have one brother.

Leaving them out

Knowing this, it makes sense that the accents are not always necessary. If from the context een can only mean the number, somebody will likely already read it as één:

  • Een van de mensen was te laat. — One of the people was too late.

People will understand you just fine in this example. I feel like this is the reason you were told you don't need them.

¹ Technically this particular sound is called a schwa and is different from an u—common in a lot of unstressed syllables with an e, such as most verbs. Happens in many English accents as well, e.g. the a in about.


this one is hard to hear clearly ... on broer you can barely hear the "b" at all.

  • 1000

+1 What I heard was 'ik heb één hoor'. Which makes no sense, but neither does the audio not pronouncing the br.


+1 The male voice is consistently terrible


wait so broer - broers is family brothers and broeder/s is metaphorical "brother" as in a church member?


In addition to what El2theK said, I think it would be interesting to note that this is a linguistic phenomenon called syncope. Broer is a shortened form of broeder. Here are some other common examples:

  • leer/leder
  • mee/mede
  • weer/weder
  • neer/neder
  • veer/veder


"Broeder" can also mean your (family) brother, although its use is not very common.


'Broeder' can also mean a male nurse. :)


Yes. although there are some additional meanings to both of them. Compare 'broeder' and 'broer'.


Ok thanks for the clarification :)


Why is it not "I have a brother"? How can you tell if its a/an or 1 for the word Een



When it's "een" (unaccented), you have to determine whether it means a/an or 1 from context. In this sentence, "één" is used to unambiguously emphasize that the speaker has exactly one brother. The top comment thread provides much more info.


Have you read Esmeralda's comment right at the beginning?


as a native english speaker i too agree that your translation should be accepted


Accents over two vowels in a row? Wow, even Irish doesn't do that.


Se escucha como hoor

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