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Is there a rule to when you can omit the indefinite article in German? (obviously you can when there is an uncountable noun)

Balkon is a countable noun so I would expect it to be :

[...] mit einem großen Balkon.

Original sentence:

Eine Wohnung mit großem Balkon.

  • Could you please provide the example, where the indefinite article was omitted? In your current example it is correct to use the article. – QueensKnight Jun 24 '18 at 13:14
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    Look at the title. The full sentence was eine Wohnung mit großem Balkon. – Tomas Jun 24 '18 at 13:16
  • @Tomas Edit your question instead of adding comments to explain. Not all comments may be visible initially. Make it easy for people to help you. – Robert Jun 24 '18 at 14:30
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    @Robert I'd say the question is self explaining without Tomas's comment, if you read it properly, i.e. including the header. Do you think the question body should reiterate the example given in the header to be clearer? – Arsak Jun 24 '18 at 15:02
  • @Marzipanherz Yes, I do. You are right that the title has some more context, and still I'd repeat it in the question. Make it easy for others to help you. – Robert Jun 24 '18 at 15:13
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You don't need an article after a preposition. It doesn't matter if the noun is countable or not then. It's treated as a concept:

Das lief alles zwischen Tür und Angel ab.

Zwischen Tür und Angel means it was a chaotic last minute situation. It's not about a particular door and its hinge.

Er reagierte auf Zuruf.

It's not about a particular call, but the general way he reacted.

Das Spiel fiel wegen Regens aus.

It was just too much rain from the beginning. I don't tell if one big shower just before the game or if the field was too flooded to be played on.


Es handelt sich um eine Wohnung mit großem Balkon.

This isn't about a balcony or even this particular balcony. It's about the concept of a flat which has a big balcony. In contrast to a flat which hasn't.

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There are some rules when you can omit the article, but none that apply for your example. It is however a common (or at least not unseen) usage to omit indefinite articles in an enumeration or logical unit. Take for example the following sentence.

I live in an apartment with a big balcony.

Technically correct translated this would be:

Ich lebe in einer Wohnung mit einem großen Balkon.

Yet it doesn't make sense to expect a definite article in front of the balcony and therefore some people omit the article. Resulting in the (technically) wrong sentence:

Ich lebe in einer Wohnung mit großem Balkon.

The omit can be especially be observed when the sentences are already shortened (advertisements, short descriptions, etc).

Articles can be omitted for:

  1. Uncountable objects
  2. Plural of indefinite objects
  3. Abstract properties and emotions
  4. Form of address
  5. Professions
  6. Names (both personal and geographically)
  7. Nationalities
  8. Nouns after volume, weight or counts
  9. In proverbs

Of course there are some more specifics to when you can omit the article, the most notable is that you are talking about something unspecified. Furthermore there are some exceptions (e.g. countries that come with an article such as the Netherlands - die Niederlande).

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