Reading through Hammer, I've come across the use of einer as determinative. One example the book gives is:

Der eine deutsche Tourist beschwerte sich.

How does this differ from

Ein deutscher Tourist beschwerte sich.

Both appear to mean the same thing, "One German tourist complained."

  • Using code highlights for quotations is not exactly recommended. – guidot Aug 8 at 7:04
  • That one German tourist complained vs. A German tourist complained. In other words: der eine Tourist means that one (single) tourist, not just one tourist. – Rudy Velthuis Aug 8 at 8:29

Ein deutscher Tourist beschwerte sich.

This simply means that there was a German tourist who complained.

Der eine deutsche Tourist beschwerte sich.

This implies that there was more than one German tourist (most likely two), and one of them complained.

So the first sentence translates to: A German tourist complained. The second translates to something like One German tourist complained [and the other(s) didn't]

Another possibility is that there was only one German tourist and that this tourist complained. Without context it is impossible to tell which meaning is the intended one.

  • Yes, one could also interpret eine that way, similar to the one with the beard. I guess, some context is missing to choose the correct translation, Hammer is not really providing it. – guidot Aug 8 at 7:15
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    The second sentence could also mean that there are many tourists from different origins, but the (only) German one complained. – npst Aug 8 at 9:51

The correct translation is:

The single German tourist complained.

There were no other German tourists available, which were satisfied. While your translation is not wrong, it loses considerable information.

  • Is there a not missing before satisfied? Otherwise I don't get that sentence. – Marzipanherz Aug 8 at 7:04
  • @Marzipanherz: this is also a valid sentence. We agree the all German tourists (which in fact was only one) complained. Would additional ones also have complained? If assuming so, inserting another not is justified. If not, the present sentence is fine. – guidot Aug 8 at 7:10
  • @guidot: The sub-sentence "which were satisfied" misses a not, no matter how you explain it. You could just as well omit it: "There were no other German tourists present." FWIW, available means verfügbar. Is that what you meant? – Rudy Velthuis Aug 8 at 8:55
  • That does not seem quite right; it would have to be der einzige deutsche Tourist, or der alleinige deutsche Tourist. The meaning of der eine deutsche Tourist is more like "one of the (two or more) German tourists" – Oliver Mason Aug 8 at 10:35
  • @guidot Vielleicht ist es auch mein schlechtes Englisch. Ich verstehe Deinen Text so: Der eine deutsche Tourist beschwerte sich. Es gab keine anderen deutschen Touristen, die zufrieden waren. Und das klingt für mich widersprüchlich. Ich hätte erwartet: Es gab keine anderen deutschen Touristen, die unzufrieden waren. – Marzipanherz Aug 8 at 12:13

Even though "der eine deutsche Tourist" can mean that there is only one, I disagree with the conclusion that this is the only correct interpretation. In German the expression "some people do this, others do that" is often used with singular, so it could also mean "der eine deutsche Tourist beschwert sich, der andere nimmt die Zustände klaglos hin".

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • English: One tourist complains, another takes it without any complaints. Only in combinations, AFAIK, i.e. der/die/das eine ... der/die/das andere. – Rudy Velthuis Aug 8 at 8:33
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    As this answer does not answer the question, it should rather be a comment. – RHa Aug 8 at 8:35

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