I've recently encoutered usage of the word "einer" in a context I don't quite understand, where it seems to refer to any 'single entity'.


1) Einer für alle, alle für einen

2) Der Traum ist dann deiner, dein einer, alleine, den keiner vorher geträumt

Firstly, I am confused regarding case, since I'm used to "einer" being used in Dativ or Genitiv, but both examples above seem to be Nominativ.

Secondly, up until now I've known "einer" only as an Unbestimmt Artikel, but here it appears to function like a Substantiv, even though it isn't capitalized.

So what exactly does the word "einer" mean here and how should I use (and decline) it?


2 Answers 2


Der Traum ist dann deiner, dein einer, alleine, den keiner vorher geträumt.

Der Traum is the subject, in the nominative case, while deiner is a Prädikativ, a "nominative object". You can tell that from the use of ist (sein), the copula.

The part dein einer is a repetition of that deiner, in a slightly different phrasing. It's there for emphasis and clarification.

  • Does this mean that the typical german version of, for example, "The car is yours" would be "Das Pferd ist deines/dein eines"?
    – Bar Alon
    Jul 21, 2018 at 16:17
  • No, typical would be Der Wagen gehört dir. People would say Es ist deins. in a rather dismissing mood, meaning Not my problem. Your example is an exception which only works in literature (and cheesy empowerment speeches).
    – Janka
    Jul 21, 2018 at 17:34

Einer für alle, alle für einen.

This sentence is known from the book/film The Three Musketeers. The English version is "One for All, All for One".

It means sometimes one man/musketeer (einer) does something for the group (alle), other times the whole group (alle) does something for the benefit of one of them (für einen).

It is a short form of "Einer (von uns)" "One (of us)" and "für einen (von uns)" "for one (of us)"

Der Traum ist dann deiner, dein einer, alleine, den keiner vorher geträumt

Here einer can only refer to Traum. I'm not sure whether this sentence is really correct and what it should mean. Probably "einer" was selected to rhyme with "deiner". Is this from some kind of lyrics, where sound patterns might be more important than a correct sentence?

It might mean that the dream is unique to the "you" addressed in this sentence as it is the only dream, but that would be better expressed as "dein einziger (Traum)". The other part is that the dream is unique in the sense that nobody else had this dream.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.