Someone at work wrote a sentence. Im pasting you the beginning:

Hat eventuell noch einer eine unbenutzte ...?

And two questions assault my mind:

  1. Is einer just another way of saying jemand? Is that official German? Or just street language?

  2. How about the word order? I thought all this time that in a question the first word should be the verb and the second the subject, but in this sentence eventuell noch seems to have slipped into that position. Why is that?

  • ein Mensch = einer
    – Iris
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:02
  • 3
    Please ask only one thing at a time. For a reason, have a look at the current answers: @Janka has written an excellent explanation for item 2 in your list of doubts, but I cannot upvote it as it stands, because it answers only half of your question ... because your question is actually two questions. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:31
  • @O.R.Mapper: Then vote to close, since closing early prevents forking answers, which make it hard to close it later. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:35
  • 1
    @userunknown: Done. Although I find the close reasons somewhat dissatisfying. It's not "unclear what [the OP is] asking", it's very clear. It's so clear that two questions can be made out of it, each of which will still be clear about what the OP is asking. I used "too broad", although that's really unspecific, too. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:37
  • 1
    @Iris: Hat eventuell noch einer eine unbenutze Kopfhörerbuchse? (ein Verstärker = einer). Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:37

3 Answers 3


Einer indeed is colloquial for jemand. The word order is the example is covered by the flexibility of word order in German, and the phrase eventuell noch has been inserted for politeness.


The correct form of this sentence would be:

Hat eventuell noch einer von euch ein unbenutztes Taschentuch?

    "Einer/eine von euch" is more specific than "jemand". It is often abbreviated to "einer/eine".

    The first word in a question without interrogative pronoun is the finite verb, the subject follows. The subject can be composed of two or more words. The positioning of the words defines the meaning of the sentence:

Hat eventuell noch einer ein unbenutztes Taschentuch?

maybe someone else

Hat einer eventuell noch ein unbenutztes Taschentuch?

maybe another kleenex / maybe a kleenex left

Hat einer eventuell ein noch unbenutztes Taschentuch?

yet unused

Hat einer ein eventuell noch unbenutztes Taschentuch?

eventually yet unused

  • I see how the change of order of words changed the meaning, but... if the rule is that "First the finite verb, and then the subject follow", does that mean that eventuell noch belong to the subject? Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 16:17
  • Yes, it does. Another example: "Der an vielen Tagen der Woche stark alkoholisierte Mann hatte kaum Freunde." It's easier to recognize as part of the subject if the subject has an article. "einer von euch" unfortunately hasn't.
    – Kristina
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 16:22
  • Well, that last example uses an subordinate sentence, so it is somehow different... but if you say that eventueller noch belongs to the subject, I will believe you (even though eventuell sounds really like not a part of the subject...) Thanks! Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:55
  • There is no subordinate clause in the last example. It would have if I said: Der Mann, der an vielen Tagen der Woche stark alkoholisiert war, hatte kaum Freunde.
    – Kristina
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:03
  • The subject itself is an article plus a noun or any pronoun. "Eventually" is, of course, a modal adverb. But everything that specifies the subject, is a specifying addition to the subject and as such becomes part of it, at least in regard to the word order.
    – Kristina
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:21

"Second position" does not mean it has to be the second word. Neither does "first position" mean it has to be the first word. There can be always stray words explaining the verb, nouns or the sentence as a whole.

»Vielleicht hat auch noch einer eine unbenutzte Fahrkarte?« fragte der Schaffner.

“Maybe someone even has an unused ticket?” the conductor asked.

  • Your example isn't clarifying, because it is a question only by intonation. The finite verb has to be in second position here and it is - in your example - the second word....
    – Kristina
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 16:47

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