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I'm trying to figure out the grammatical rule in using the ending EN in "irgendeinen" in the sentence:

Hast du irgendeinen dieser Romane gelesen?

Since "the novels" is plural in die Romane, and it's using the genitive in asking whether or not you've read any of these books, I thought the "any" would have been accusative?

The ending with en is usually seen in either dative pleural or masculine accusative, both of which don't seem to fit in the above construction.

I thought the any would then have been irgendeine dieser Romane?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It is accusative singular masculine. "Irgendeinen" is a compund of "irgend-einen" ("any one").


The translation of the sentence may help understanding:

Have you read any (one) of these novels?

"Dieser Romane" is genitive plural because it is genitive partitive: the whole (these novels) of which a part (any one) is referred to.

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But it's talking about the novels, plural. – user5105 Mar 17 '14 at 9:50
That's a "Genitivus Partitivus". It denotes the whole of which a part is referred to. I'll edit the answer to include this information in more detail. – elena Mar 17 '14 at 9:54
@user5105... just as "das Auto meiner Eltern" (my parents' car)... parents is plural, yet the verb will be third person singular because "Auto" is the head of the constituent. And so is "irgendeinen" – Emanuel Mar 17 '14 at 10:44
One of many is still just one. – Carsten S Mar 17 '14 at 10:50
@Elena, thanks for the edit, it suddenly become crystal clear when you added the "Have you read any (one) of these novels?". And yep, @ Emanuel thanks, it's a good method to try and put another object in the sentence to replace "any". – user5105 Mar 17 '14 at 18:23

You could also say:

Hast du irgendeinen (Roman) dieser Romane gelesen?

but it sounds weird, because of two times the same word. So you can skip out the first "Roman" and the meaning stays still the same.

So its a accusative with a genitive, called genitive partitive, like in the other answer mentioned. This genitive also works with dative.

Ich schenke dem Bruder meines Vaters ein Buch

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