I am trying to say the sentence "This apple is not fresh, but I can buy a fresh one." Here is my attempt based on pure translation:

Der Apfel ist nicht frisch, aber ich kann einen frischen einen kaufen.

I know ein can be used with der/die/das to signify "the one", so I have tried to extend the logic to cover "a fresh one".

3 Answers 3


You are close, but correct would be

Der Apfel ist nicht frisch, aber ich kann einen frischen kaufen.

In German, other as in English, you have kind of an implicit reference: "einen frischen [missing noun]" means: look in the context before(*) for a noun that would fit in here. Phrases were this lookup is not unambigious will/should be usually avoided.

(*)@Em1 correctly pointed out that forward references, where the missing noun will be provided in the context that follows, are possible, too:

Ich kann einen frischen kaufen, wenn du den Apfel nicht magst.

IMHO these cases are much rarer, but I can't prove that.


Your sentence is almost correct. You should say :

Der Apfel ist nicht frisch, aber ich kann einen frischen kaufen.

To say " the one" in German is das/die/ der eine. For example:

Die Frau ist schön. - Welche? Die eine in der Mitte des Zimmers.

To say " a good one" is einer, eine, eines and it reflects the gender of the noun.

Mein Computer ist abgestürtzt! Ich werde mir einen neuen kaufen.

  • "Die eine" sounds like "the only one" in this context. I would translate "the one" with just "die", so that the whole sentence becomes "Die in der Mitte des Zimmers". Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:06

Der Apfel ist nicht frisch, aber einen frischen kann ich ja kaufen.

Well I don't think your translation is wrong except for the repeated "einen".

  • 1
    The second part of your sentence has an "unusual" word order.
    – guntbert
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 20:13

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