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Saw this on a flyer from a retailer advertising a contest.

"Für jeden ein Gewinn"

Question

Is that grammatically correct? Shouldn't it be

"Für jeden einen Gewinn"?

Analysis

Let's take it apart.

  • "Für jeden" --> indirect object
  • "einen Gewinn" --> direct object (accusative of the masculine word "der Gewinn")

I tried to create a similar sentence with another masculine word, e.g. "der Mann".

Für jede [Frau] einen Mann

Even though "ein Gewinn" somehow sounds correct in the first example, "ein Mann" sounds weird and therefore I'd go for "einen Mann". That in return made me ask myself why it wasn't "einen Gewinn".

So I suppose either the retailer got it wrong or I got it wrong and it's not accusative but nominative and that's why it is "ein Gewinn"?

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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

All of your examples are grammatically both correct, and incorrect because they are not complete sentences. The grammar rules entirely depend on the missing parts:

Auf jeden wartet ein Gewinn.
Für jeden gibt es einen Gewinn.

Likewise:

Für jede Frau gibt es einen Mann.
Für jede Frau steht ein Mann zur Verfügung.

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I think the main difference between the two would be the different meanings of "Gewinn" in this case.

Für jeden ein Gewinn

Means success or some sort of achievement for everyone. (It's a rather non-specific description)

Für jeden einen Gewinn

Means a prize for everyone, as in winning a lottery.

The latter (einen) is more specific, which changes the meaning.

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Actually what you have here is a sentence in reverse order to emphasize who gets the win/gain/profit. It's emphasizing that it's for each one/everyone by putting it first in the sentence.

I think you will understand it better if you write it as "Ein Gewinn für jeden", as in "Ein Gewinn für jeden Kunden (customer)", for example. The subject is "ein Gewinn", and the object of the preposition "für" is "jeden".

So, the translation would be "A win/gain/profit for each one/everyone", depending on what the product is that is being offered. Whatever it is, it's a good deal for all who enter the contest.

[EDIT--ADDITION]
In all the discussion over the grammar, I want to make sure we have actually answered the questions that were specifically asked.
So, yes, what was on the flyer is or at least CAN be grammatically correct, and "ein Gewinn" is nominative and not accusative on the flyer because the retailer's intent was apparently either to make it a predicate nominative or the subject, although he could have chosen several forms to use instead as discussed in these answers.

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-1... ein Gewinn is not the subject but just a noun. There is no verb here as Takkat already points out. Of course our speech perception mechanisms add the verb but for th vast majority this would be "es gibt" in which the subject is "es". –  Emanuel Mar 11 '12 at 21:54
1  
It could also be "Ein Gewinn ist für jeden" or "Für jeden ist ein Gewinn". The implied meaning is the same either way, but I wouldn't think it's a big enough issue to downvote over since it's an ambiguous phrase that is understood several ways. :-( –  Kevin Mar 11 '12 at 23:06
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