ein vs. eins

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

  1. Weiße_Rose

    Weiße_Rose New 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?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior 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. berndf Moderator

    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_Rose

    Weiße_Rose New Member

    Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
  5. Thelb4 Senior Member

    UK English
    I have another question which this thread didn't answer:

    If one sees at the bottom of a page on a website "Seite 1 von 6", is that spoken as "Seite eins von sechs" or "Seite ein von sechs"?
    I have a feeling that it's "eins", but I'm not sure.
  6. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Seite eins von sechs.

Share This Page