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I wonder what irgend means? I’ve seen so many words with it as a prefix, like irgendein, irgendwas and irgendwo. What do they have in common that irgend expresses?

The explanations in the Duden partly reference each other — it doesn’t help much to know that irgendwo means an irgendeinem Ort when you also don’t understand irgendein.

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    You’re trying to sneak around the potential closing of the other question by asking for the differences between irgendeine and einige again. Please look up the two in a German-English dictionary. Yes, they both translate to some (among others) but the issue here is that you don’t realise the meanings some can have. The rest of the question is valid, though. – Jan Jun 17 '15 at 22:37
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    Also... you linked to my article. What's left unclear? Did you read it all? Because skimming will not do it. – Emanuel Jun 17 '15 at 22:38
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    We’re trying to help, only you’re not accepting our suggestions to help you. – Jan Jun 17 '15 at 23:01
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    Look man, this is not Reddit where you just throw a question out there and answers pour in. This is a site that aims at having well worked out questions that include a problem, why it's a problem and possibly how the attempts at solving it so far have failed. You may or may not like the format but that's how it is. I think you don't like it because you're putting very little effort into your questions and you are not really willing to address concerns or questions people ask you in the comments. That's fine.... – Emanuel Jun 17 '15 at 23:01
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    ... but then this is simply not the site you need. But you have no right to be dismissive the way you are. Instead of just heading over to Reddit or wherever you feel like you need to lash out a bit for not getting the result you wanted. Well, guess what. You didn't get it because you didn't pay your dues. If you got zero help here then you and only you are responsible. Why am I rambling about this? Because I'm tired of people who think we're just answering machines, there at your pleasure. We even tried to help you in the comments so show some respect. – Emanuel Jun 17 '15 at 23:06
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Irgend is used to reinforce uncertainty similar to some/any.

Examples

Hat irgendwer meine Tasche gesehen?

Has anyone seen my bag?


Kannst du es irgendwo sehen?

Can you see it anywhere?


Sie suchen irgendwas.

They're looking for something.


Regarding the differences you're interested in:

irgendwas and etwas are synonyms. like the example above could also be written as:

Sie suchen etwas.

Irgendeine and einige however are quite different. Einige is used for small groups. Example:

Es gibt einige mögliche Übersetzungen.

There are several possible translations.

Irgendeine, as said at the beginning, just expresses uncertainty. Example:

Gibt es irgendeine Lösung?

Is there any solution?

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Most of the time, irgend- corresponds to no matter who/which/where/how/... or I don't know the details.

E. g.,

  • irgendjemand, irgendwer -> some/any person (I don't know or don't care who)
  • irgendwo -> at some/any place, no matter where
  • irgendein Auto -> some/any car, no matter which one
  • irgendwelche Insekten -> some/any insects, no matter which kind
  • irgendwas, irgendetwas -> something (I don't know what)

Note that irgend- is sometimes redundant. There is no fundamental difference between Hat jemand angerufen and Hat irgendjemand angerufen or between Hast du ein Taxi gesehen and Hast du irgendein Taxi gesehen; irgend- just stresses the idea of "I don't care who/which" which is already expressed in the base word.

  • Or "Have you seen any taxi at all?" – Carsten S Jun 18 '15 at 10:49
  • @CarstenSchultz Of course, "at all" is redundant as well. – Uwe Jun 18 '15 at 11:03

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