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In a previous post " How to say “one of them”? " there was a discussion on the difference between einer von ihnen and einer davon. My question focuses on the einer / eine / eines and what gender to use for various groups of "them".

So, in the nominative case (to keep things simple?) and to say "One of them is missing", my assumptions are:

  1. For a group with all the same gender, ein takes on the gender of the group
  2. For mixed groups the priority is feminine, masculine, neutrum

Scenario 1: Groups with the same gender

1.1 All women : Eine von ihnen fehlt. -- Feminine

1.2 All men: Ein_ von ihnen fehlt. -- Masculine

1.3 All children: Ein_ von ihnen fehlt. -- Neutrum

Scenario 2: Groups with mixed gender

2.1 Women + men: Eine von ihnen fehlt. -- Feminine

2.2 Men + children: Ein_ von ihnen fehlt. -- Masculine

2.3 Children + women: Eine von ihnen fehlt. -- Feminine

2.4 Women + men + children: Eine von ihnen fehlt. -- Feminine

I have not mixed the group with animals or inanimate objects. I hope it doesn't make a difference. After this, I don't think I will ever be a tour guide. Thanks a lot!

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What makes you think there is a priority in mixed groups?

Your scenario 1 is fine:
masculine - einer
feminine - eine
neutrum -eines

For mixed groups where the gender of the missing person is irrelevant, it's always masculine. Even if only women and children are present. (And no, we won't go into any discussion of equal rights or chivalry here.)

-> If you deviate from this, you are explicitly stating that a person of gender x is missing.

  • Originally, I could not work what the rules were so I guessed there might be some prioritisation. Your guidance makes it very clear. Thanks! – Satish Vasan Dec 13 '14 at 21:13

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