I have seen Einen Moment! almost all the time and I can't comprehend why it is written like this when at the start of a sentence?


4 Answers 4


This depends on whether nominative case or accusative case is needed. In phrases as

Einen Moment, bitte!

you can see there's no verb. It's an ellipsis, the complete sentence is

Warten Sie einen Moment, bitte!

In that complete sentence, Sie is the subject, and einen Moment is an optional accusative object to the verb warten, which specifies the duration.

Warten Sie einen Monat.

In addition, word order doesn't determine subject or object in German. One could write

Einen Moment warten Sie jetzt bitte noch, ja?

and still, einen Moment would be an accusative object, and Sie the subject.

The nominative case is needed for subjects

So ein Moment kehrt nicht wieder.

and predicatives:

Dies war der Moment, auf den er gewartet hatte.

  • Danke vielmals!! Ich verstehe jetzt Apr 2, 2019 at 18:43

In German, there is a whole set of utterances that contain a noun phrase in the accusative despite the fact that there is no verb or preposition governing the accusative present.

Guten Morgen/Tag/Abend.
Guten Appetit!
Einen angenehmen Tag noch!
Guten Rutsch! (said on New Year's Eve)

In the above examples, think of a corresponding sentence starting with Ich wünsche dir/euch/Ihnen…, with the accusative governed by wünschen. In your example, wünschen doesn't fit, but you can think of a corresponding sentence starting with warten.

  • Vielen Dank fur Ihre hilfe! Apr 2, 2019 at 18:39

Both forms exist, but are different grammatical cases. Therefore, which form is correct depends on what you want to say.

Nominative: ein Moment
Das ist ein Moment der Ruhe.

Genitive: eines Moments
Er tat es während eines günstigen Moments.

Dative: einem Moment
Er tat es in einem günstigen Moment.

Accusative: einen Moment
Warten Sie bitte einen Moment!


Definite time expressions always appear in the Akkusativ case. Wie lange warst du in Berlin? Einen Monat.

  • 1
    „Wann fährst du nach Berlin? – In einem Monat.“ Apr 3, 2019 at 3:57
  • The proposition „in“ takes this out of the definite time rule (where their are no prepositions or definite articles or indefinite articles used as well). It Is a useful rule for learner to keep definite time in mind, unless you toss in a proposition like in or something, then you have to follow the rules on case and they are different, as in „in einem Monat.“
    – SteveL
    Apr 3, 2019 at 4:27

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