# ein vs. eins

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Weiße_Rose, Sep 11, 2011.

1. ### Weiße_RoseNew Member

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Portuguese - Brazil
Hallo, Leute!

Why when we are counting in German, we say: "eins, zwei, drei...", but we say:"ein viertel Kilometer", "ein Kilo" and so on, however, without a letter S at the ending of the word which represents the number "one"?

What is the difference between "ein" and "eins"? Must we apply the number form "eins" only when we are really counting in sequence?
Why does this number-word loses its final S sometimes, and when does it occur?

2. ### HutschiSenior Member

"Eins" is a number word (Zahlwort) - it is used as digit or number (Ziffer or Zahl).

"Ein" can be used as indefinite article and it can be used in combined words like "einhundert".
When it is used instead of an article to indicate the number, it is "ein" without "s", too.

"Ein" can mean "one" and "a/an", depending on context.

Despite numbers, "eins" can have other meanings, for example in school, it is the best grade (Zensur) in Germany. (In Russia it is the worst grade, by the way.)

"Eins" can also be short for "eines". "Eines ist klar, es gibt einen Unterschied zwischen "Eins" und "ein".

In case of numbers, it depends on the position which to use. I give some examples.

1 - Eins
10 - Zehn
11 - Elf
21 - Einundzwanzig

100 - Hundert, Einhundert
101 - Hunderteins, Einhunderteins
1000 - Tausend, Eintausend
1000000 - Million, eine Million

In such cases the system is mixed according to special rules.

If you use such a number instead of an article or adjective, it has to be declined (like "ein").

Einhunderteine Uhr./Einhundertundeine Pille. (We often include "und" here, this is easier to speak.)

Note the difference to "die einhundertunderste Uhr".
(cardinal number vs. ordinal number)

I do not know why this changes between "ein" and "eins" happened in history, and whether they happened at all as change.

Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
3. ### berndfModerator

Geneva
German (Germany)
Oh, you have many more forms: ein, eins, eine, einem, einen, eines, einer. Eines, eins is the neuter stand-alone form Ich und du, wir sind ein(e)s and this is the form we use in counting. For other numbers (2,3,4,5,...) the declensional varieties (m, f, n, nom, gen., dat. acc.) have decayed but for the number 1 they still exist.

(PS: In counting you only use the variety eins (without "e").)

4. ### Weiße_RoseNew Member

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Portuguese - Brazil
Thanks!

UK English