I have this text from a textbook. There is a sentence I do not quite understand why is it constructed as it is.

Na ja, ich bin mit einem der beiden zusammen, aber nicht so glücklich, weil er ja weit weg wohnt.

The text is about some girl who met 2 boys.

So my questions are -

  1. Why is there mit einem der beiden (Wouldn't be mit der beiden sufficient ?)
  2. What would be to best translation to english ?

3 Answers 3


The der here is the genitive plural. So der beiden here means "of the two"; German often uses beiden where English would use "two" instead of "both". So the word for word translation would be something like "I'm with one of the two, but ... ". Though I think you'd rephrase the English to say "one of them".

  • 2
    Many learners also struggle with the fact that ein- can be a pronoun.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 10:15

To answer your question, translated to English, you might see the difference:

  1. Why is there "with one of the two" (wouldn't it be sufficient "with both")?

This translation already answers (2), I think.

  • If the OP was able to correctly translate the sentence into english, then he would probably not have asked the question ;)
    – Tode
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 10:17
  • 2
    @Tode, true, however I still wonder what he thought that his suggested version means.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 10:36

My assumption (based on assigned tags) is, that your confusion is caused by the fact, that einem and der are articles, so using two different ones looks exaggerated.

Einem can be the indefinite article in dative case, e. g. in the sentence:

Einem Blinden fällt die Orientierung schwer.

In your sentence another meaning of ein (see DWDS) applies, the indefinite pronoun, (see section II), but one could also consider it as the inflected number (section III), similar to:

I radle mit zwei(en) aus meiner Klasse an den See. (I make a bicycle tour to a sea with two guys from my class.)

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