I had ordered a coffee today and turned to ask my friend if he wanted one. He said no, so I just turned around and said 'eins, bitte', but I got a confused look from the cafe assistant. I then said 'einmal, bitte'. Is 'eins' wrong in this scenario?

  • @chirlu You rather missed my point. If c.p. feels it appropriate to correct typos in questions of mine going back 4 months, then naturally I have the right to point out his also. Would you now like to begin to explain my having added in an extra comma before the full stop? lol Seriously this is a very obnoxious forum and if it continues this way, it is never going to grow substantially. I for one get as good and friendlier answers elsewhere so I'm off. Enjoy your life chirlu!
    – cheznead
    Nov 21 '15 at 16:55

It depends on the gender of the thing you're ordering.

  • For masculine nouns like "der Kaffee": "Nur einen, bitte" or "Nur den einen, bitte"
  • For neuter nouns like "das Bier": "Nur eines, bitte", "Nur eins, bitte" (colloquial), or "Nur das eine, bitte"
  • For feminine nouns like "die Cola": "Nur eine, bitte" or "Nur die eine, bitte"
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    @shinninja I think everyone would understand "einmal" but it sounds weird in this context. "einmal" is more appropriate as an answer to the question "wie oft", not "wie viel".
    – nwellnhof
    Jul 3 '15 at 19:42
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    @shinninja: I'd argue "einmal" is fully appropriate there. The idea is to indicate "how many times" a given order should be prepared. That is why an order like "ein Omelette und zwei Gemüsesuppen" can alternatively be expressed as "einmal das Omelette und zweimal die Gemüsesuppe" without sounding unusual in any way. At least it's like that in South-Western Germany. Jul 3 '15 at 20:57
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    @O.R.Mapper "einmal", "zweimal" is OK when ordering dishes. "Zweimal die Gemüsesuppe" sounds even more natural to me than "zwei Gemüsesuppen". But it sounds weird when ordering ordinary drinks. I wouldn't say "einmal die Cola und zweimal den Kaffee" or "einmal eine Cola und zweimal einen Kaffee", but simply "eine Cola und zwei Kaffee". That said, it's OK to use "einmal" with special drinks like "einmal den pangalaktischen Donnergurgler".
    – nwellnhof
    Jul 3 '15 at 23:54
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    @nwellnhof: 'I wouldn't say "einmal die Cola und zweimal den Kaffee" or "einmal eine Cola und zweimal einen Kaffee"' - I would. It sounds completely normal to me. Jul 4 '15 at 7:31
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    a) Einen Kaffee, ein Gedeck Kaffee, eine Tasse Kaffee (der/das/die) b) Die Diskussion über das Geschlecht der Cola startet in 3...2...1... - c) Imbißdeusch: Ich war die Pommes, er ist die Bratwurst. HIer war noch 2x halber Hahn. Siehe: youtube.com/watch?v=ECWoPwPK864 Jul 4 '15 at 20:12

"eins" is number one (not in children's terms for potty). You need to use the article "ein", or in this case, "einen Kaffee".

For beer, the waiter would probably have understood you (das Bier, so ein Bier, or short "eins").

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