In my Lingvist flashcards I came across the following sentence:

Könntest du bitte einen Augenblick meine Tasche halten? (Could you please hold my bag for a second?)

I'm confused why the indefinite article for Augenblick is being conjugated in the accusative. My understanding is the direct object is the accusative, and "meine Tasche" is the direct object of "halten". Why is "a moment" (as translated) also part of the direct object given that it seems like supplementary info?

  • 2
    german.stackexchange.com/questions/55959/… has the answer, but the question is different.
    – David Vogt
    Jan 8, 2020 at 21:17
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    Direct object and indirect object are concepts of the English language, they don't really apply to German. It seems that frequently English native speakers who learn German are taught direct object = dative & indirect object = accusative, but that is at best a rule of thumb. Jan 9, 2020 at 3:57
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    Note, that einen is not necessarily an indefinite article; it could also be a number as in fünf Minuten.
    – guidot
    Jan 9, 2020 at 16:21
  • Nobody speaks like this because I would answer yes and go away. It is a difference if I can do something or I am willing to do it. "Willst Du bitte einen Augenblick meine Tasche halten, Ich muss mich mal ... *?" or "*Bist Du so nett und hältst einen Augenblick meine Tasche , ich muss mal ..."
    – user5715
    Jan 10, 2020 at 19:41
  • @MaxMuster - if you are German, you should know that type of speech ... its typically women talking like that and implying not a test of your ability but instead that you should hold the bag (at least if you are related) ;-)
    – eagle275
    Jan 20, 2020 at 7:47

2 Answers 2


The answer is that there is no reason why there should be a single noun in accusative. There could be many:

Jeden Abend hat er eine halbe Flasche Rum getrunken und danach seinen Kollegen einen Esel geschimpft.

In bold and italics are accusatives.

Now, why the temporal part is in accusative, is explained here.

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    Your quoted German phrase does not sound like standard German to me. I would say »seinen Kollegen als einen Esel beschimpft«. In some regions you might say »seinen Kollegen einen Esel geschimpft«. Jan 9, 2020 at 8:57
  • @Raketenolli Stimmt. Letzte Variante habe ich hier gelernt (german.stackexchange.com/a/11106/1691). Mir war nicht bewusst, dass die nur regional verwendet wird.
    – c.p.
    Jan 9, 2020 at 9:01
  • Laut Duden Bedeutung 2a ist die Verwendung »gehoben«. Kann ich aus persönlicher Erfahrung nicht unbedingt bestätigen, aber vielleicht kommt mein Gefühl des Regionalismus eher von Bedeutung 1b (landschaftlich). Jan 9, 2020 at 9:06

In this case the confusion stems from a wrong starting point.

A simpler translation on your card should be "Could you please hold my bag for one moment." which already shows that "einen" is not an indefinite article, but a numeral instead and those are flexed in accusative

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