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To say "one morning in May I flew to London", should I say

(a) Ein Morgen im Mai bin ich nach London geflogen.


(b) Einen Morgen ...

or other possibilities?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you have a when-indication then it is neither "ein Morgen" nor "einen Morgen" but "eines Morgens" or "an einem Morgen". - Eines Morgens wachte Herr K. auf und fand, dass er ein käfer war. (Adapted from Kafka, The Metamorphosis).

By the way, the word Morgen has different meanings:

  • morgen, adverb, is the next day
  • morgens, adverb, means in the morning
  • eines Morgens is an adverb-group, meaning on the morning of a certain day (a when-indication)
  • ein Morgen Land is a measure of area. What a farmer can plough during one morning/the first half of a day.
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The last bullet point is not to be confused with Morgenland (the East as in the middle/far East) – codesparkle Feb 19 '14 at 2:06

I would say this is 2. case (Genitiv)

"Eines Morgens im Mai flog ich nach London"

So you have an indefinite article on "morning" because you don't name a specific date and a question like "Q: Wessen Morgen im Mai? A: Eines." That expression is than followed by a dependent clause.

I think it could also have something to do with temporal adverbs

You can find a similar example on Duden in the examples list.

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There are adverbs of time in German having the form of a genitive. But it is not a normal genitive, it is an "adverbial genitive", a when-indication in the form of a genitive. One might explain: When was it? - It was the time of a (certain) morning. Es war die Zeit irgendeines Morgens. – rogermue Feb 17 '14 at 22:05

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