11

Do we just say

Ich kann das Buch an einem Tag lesen.

? It sounds like

I can read the book in any one day. (or someday)

But if I want to stress that

I can read the book in ONE day (not two days or more).

How should I say it? Isn't there any grammar expressing the stress on one? For example,

Ich kann das Buch in ein Tag lesen?

  • 6
    The question is, are you speaking about emphasis in a written text or are you speaking about emphasis in oral communication? Solutions will differ. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 17 '18 at 13:54
  • 3
    While the answers are valid, an einem Tag does not sound like any one day. – Carsten S Sep 19 '18 at 6:48
  • One way to say it is the same way you say it in English: "Ich kann das Buch an einem Tag lesen!" ;-) That is, you stress the "einem". Ah yes, Christian has a point: This will only work when spoken (or when italics/bold are available ;-)). – Peter A. Schneider Sep 19 '18 at 12:18
17

in

The shortest variant would be using the temporal preposition in instead of an, as you already found out. In this usage in already implies that something happens within the time span further specified. It should therefore be clear that a single day only is needed.

Ich kann das Buch in einem Tag lesen.
I can read that Book within a day

There is some ambiguity with in as it can also mean after a day, however context should make that clear, and most people would then say erst in einem Tag.

nur

This is also a good use case for the tiny but powerful adverb nur if we want to further stress the fact that is was only just a single day.

Ich kann das Buch in nur einem Tag lesen.
I can read that book in just one day.

  • 1
    Thanks. This is the kind ogf answer I was looking for! The difference between in and an! – Chan Kim Sep 18 '18 at 0:32
  • 2
    note that - though unlikely in this context - it is possible to misunderstand the "in" variant. It could ALSO mean "I can read this book one day from now" – Syndic Sep 18 '18 at 8:25
  • 1
    @Syndic: good point - I believe most people would then say erst in einem Tag but if they don't it may be ambiguous indeed. Context for the rescue :) – Takkat Sep 18 '18 at 8:28
  • 2
    Even better with more emphasis: "Ich kann das ganze Buch in nur einem Tag lesen" -- I can read the whole book in a single day. – Falco Sep 18 '18 at 11:28
  • 3
    "Ich kann das Buch an einem Tag auslesen" or "Ich kann das Buch innerhalb eines Tages lesen" would be versions that would be well understood. – Volker Landgraf Sep 18 '18 at 13:11
40

To stress one day you can say

Ich kann das Buch an einem einzigen Tag lesen.

  • 5
    In english that would translate to the meaning of "I can read the book in a single day". I think that's what the OP is looking for. – Javatasse Sep 17 '18 at 22:05
  • 1
    I understand, but my hope was to not use any additional word that clarifies it. – Chan Kim Sep 19 '18 at 0:31
18

With

Ich kann das Buch an einem Tag lesen.

you already express that you can read the whole book within one day. Depending on the context there might be rare cases where you want to eliminate any doubt. Possibilities are:

Adding komplett:

Ich kann das komplette Buch an einem Tag lesen.

You could also use durchlesen:

Ich kann das Buch an einem Tag durchlesen.

  • 1
    durchlesen has the connotation of browsing, skimming. auslesen, ganz lesen would be a better fit for the third example. – dlatikay Sep 19 '18 at 13:14
  • There might be some regional differences but Duden.de describes durchlesen with "von Anfang bis Ende, ganz lesen" – NashVio Sep 19 '18 at 13:20
  • maybe nitpicking - I just tried to imagine its use in everyday speech and I think it is the wrong use case: Dieses Buch schenke ich dir zum Geburtstag. Aber nicht wieder gleich in einem Tag durchlesen or rather ... nicht wieder gleich in einem Tag auslesen, the first one just does not come naturally. – dlatikay Sep 19 '18 at 13:35
  • 1
    I see, in your sentence it seems wrong. But for example in: "Ich habe das Buch durchgelesen, Obama kommt darin nicht vor" it seems perfectly fine for me – NashVio Sep 19 '18 at 14:01
12

If your translation doesn't have to be close to the original, I would say something like:

Das Buch schaffe ich an einem Tag.

Or:

Für das Buch brauche ich keinen Tag.

  • 1
    These sound a lot more colloquial than the other ones. As a native German speaker in an informal conversation, I would most likely use one of these! – Falco Sep 18 '18 at 11:29
  • Doesn't "Das Buch schaffe ich an einem Tag." sound like "I will read the book someday."? Isn't it better to say "Das Buch schaffe ich in einem Tag." to stress 1 day (not 2 days)? I'm really curious. – Chan Kim Sep 19 '18 at 0:23
  • @Falco: Yes, it is clearly colloquial. When you say it, you risk being perceived as arrogant (e.g., when you say that to a professor referring to Kant's Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) – Frank from Frankfurt Sep 19 '18 at 10:01
  • 1
    @ChanKim Not in this case. "an" sounds a lot more natural combined with a completing action. While "Das schaffe ich in einer Stunde" is normal. - with a single day "an" sounds a lot more natural than "in" and the meaning is unmistakenly clear with "schaffe" – Falco Sep 19 '18 at 10:42
  • 1
    @Chan Kim: Yes. But the OP's “I can read that book in one day” is also purely hypothetical. If I say "in", it sounds indeed more like a promise that I will have read the book by tomorrow at the same time. – Frank from Frankfurt Sep 19 '18 at 11:05
6

Or, for a more colloquial version:

Das Buch hab ich doch in einem Tag durch.

Which is more or less

I'll be through with that book within a day.

4

One of the shortest possibilities:

Das Buch kostet mich [höchstens] einen Tag.

  • 4
    Ich kann's noch kürzer: "Das Buch? Ein Tag!" – Christian Geiselmann Sep 17 '18 at 17:14
  • 4
    @ChristianGeiselmann: Gratulation, fetter gehts nicht. – Pollitzer Sep 17 '18 at 18:40
  • @Pollitzer KLAR GEHT'S FETTER!!!1! – Peter A. Schneider Sep 19 '18 at 12:22

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