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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Anja here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common German questions.
The question for this lesson is: What are the different versions of ein and eine and how do I use them?
Ein and eine are indefinite articles like “a” and “an” in English. You can also use these articles for the word “one” but only when you're counting. For example, ein Hund “one dog” or eine Katze “one cat.” They shouldn’t be confused with the actual number for “one”, which is Eins.
Ein is used for masculine and neuter nouns. “One man” is masculine so it would be ein Mann, while “one house” is neuter so it would be ein Haus.
Eine is used for feminine nouns. Eine Frau, for example, would be “one woman.” The indefinite article changes according to the case of the noun.
There are four cases-- nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative.
If the noun is in the nominative case, the articles are ein in masculine and neuter, and eine in feminine. For example, Es ist ein schönes Haus. meaning “It's a nice house.”
If the noun is in the accusative case it's einen (masculine), eine (feminine) and ein (neuter). An example would be Ich rufe einen Kollegen an. “I am calling a (male) colleague.”
If the noun is in the genitive case, the articles change to eines (masculine/neuter) and einer (feminine). For example, Es ist das Auto einer Freundin. meaning “It's the car of a (female) friend.”
If the noun is in the dative case the articles change to einem (masculine/neuter) and einer (feminine). For example, Das Land gehört einem Unternehmen meaning “The land belongs to a (neuter) company.”
The accusative case is the only case in which the masculine and the neuter indefinite articles are different from each other. For feminine indefinite articles, Eine in nominative and accusative or einer in genitive and dative are the only options.
If you feel like you have a handle on indefinite articles, try this fun sentence –Ich habe einen Hund, eine Katze, und ein Meerschweinchen. which means, “I have a dog, a cat and a guinea pig.”
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!
Tschüss, bis zum nächsten Mal! “Bye! See you next time!”