While listening to an audiobook I heard this sentence:

In der einen Hand hielt sie ein Telefon und in der anderen einen Schlüssel.

It felt strange to see definite and indefinite articles come together one after another. Is this sentence grammatically correct and does it sound right?

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's perfectly fine.

You shouldn't consider einen as an indefinite article in this case. In English you would say "In the one hand" - and not "In the a hand". The einen has a different grammatical function.


„eine“ is not an indefinite article in this sentence. Its the number „one“ in this example:

In ONE hand she was holding the phone, in the OTHER [hand] she was holding a key.

Its the phrase

Die eine.... die andere...

Another example would be:

Die eine Seite der Münze zeigt eine Zahl, die andere [Seite] ein Wappen

  • What about its conjugation, is one conjugated the same with the indefinite article ein?
    – Steve
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 6:37
  • 1
    @Steve - conjugation like an adjective.
    – mic
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 8:19

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