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Is 14th of February vierzehnte zweite or vierzehnten zweiten?

With the usage of the name of the month, is it vierzehnten Februar or vierzehnte Februar?

Why is there an -n sometimes and sometimes it isn't?

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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It can be nominative:

Heute ist der vierzehnte Februar.

Or dative:

Am vierzehnten Februar war ich in Urlaub (already mentioned by Benedikt Brünner)

Or accusative:

[Captain's logbook]: 32° 12' W 14° 34' S, wir schreiben den vierzehnten Februar.

Or genitive:

Am Morgen des vierzehnten Februars sammelten wir uns zur Abreise.

So you see, all four cases can and do occur. And there are more prepositions besides am that can go with a date. Note the terminal -s in Februars for the genitive*, note the terminal -n in the adjective vierzehnten for dative, accusative and genitive.

Finally, another nominative form without an article is

Vierzehnter Februar.

*However: Not marking the genitive case of the month with a terminal 's' is becoming increasingly popular; at present, it is a matter of subjective choice.

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The words are adjectives (literally, fourteenth second) in masculine gender, because Tag and Monat are masculine, and follow the usual rules for adjective declension. Therefore, it is:

vierzehnter zweiter
der vierzehnte zweite
am vierzehnten zweiten
der Abend des vierzehnten zweiten
etc.

In many cases, it is more common to use the name of the month instead:

am vierzehnten Februar

Still, the same declension rules apply to the day.

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I would prefer:

Am vierzehnten Februar

(I'm from Austria)

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@downvoters: please note that this was the first answer posted here, and it is a valid answer (even though admittedly we do have better ones in the meantime). Related: meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/422/… –  Takkat Jul 15 '13 at 19:07
    
@Takkat: In my opinion, it doesn’t answer the (main point of the) question, which was why there are different forms (with and without -n) in the wild. It might even mislead a reader into believing that vierzehnten is always right. –  chirlu Jul 15 '13 at 20:00
5  
yeah, sure it's not a good answer, because its incomplete but its not wrong either. 3(!) downvotes without further explanation is bad style. This should not happen to a new user who only came here today to contribute. We should put more effort in helping people how to give good answers - my 2 ct. –  Takkat Jul 15 '13 at 20:09
    
Well, it has also received two upvotes … Still a net reputation gain of at least 14. –  chirlu Jul 15 '13 at 20:15
2  
Sometimes questions can be answered with 1 short sentence like this one, and it was the first reply the question received, means the topic has finished. And I don't understand why an avalanche of overkill must follow, crowned by downvoting the first answer. –  falkb Jul 16 '13 at 6:52
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