Vielleicht ist dieses Ferienparadies eine der letzten Idyllen in Deutschland: herrliche Landschaft, klares Wasser, saubere Luft.

Could someone explain the usage of "eine" here? What type of grammatical object is it? and how do we come to the ending?

I do know that it translates to "one of the"

  • 1
    if you know what it translates to. do you know English grammar? It's grammatically exactly the same. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 12:22
  • I actually never learned English Grammar. I just learned by immersion @planetmaker
    – Babu
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 12:47
  • Instead of the English “of” we have the genitive in “der letzten Idyllen”. If you search for “one of” you will find related questions.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 12:50

3 Answers 3


In your example, "eine" is an indefinite pronoun. The grammatical construction is <indefinite pronoun> + <definite article + [adjective, often superlative +] noun in genitive plural> and the pronoun "ein" takes the gender for singular declination from the genitive noun. You can build the same construction with other indefinite pronouns but (most of?) those are strictly plural. As is often the case, you can also use a cardinal number instead of the indefinite pronoun.

Examples of this construction are:

  • Olaf Scholz ist einer der bekanntesten Politiker Deutschlands.
  • Am Rhein liegen einige der schönsten Burgen Deutschlands.
  • Manche der zerstörten Städte wurden aufgegeben.
  • Viele der schmackhaftesten Pilze lassen sich nicht züchten.
  • Die Brüder Albrecht sind zwei der reichsten Unternehmer in der Lebensmittelbranche.
  • Yeah, thanks to the moderator @guidot for removing the comments I left here. Such a nice forum to be in, having my contributions be deleted without being notified. Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:55
  • @OranMatheus I find that annoying too. I would still classify "ein" as an indefinite pronoun in this construction but that doesn't really matter as a cardinal number would have the same grammatical role. It's not worth argueing semantics.
    – user6495
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:58
  • See, we can just discuss it this way instead of deleting comments behind the backs of the users. It makes sense to make a distinction of cardinal numbers, it is not purely semantic. But this deserves its own question on this forum. Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 8:00
  • ""ein" takes the gender for singular declination from the genitive noun" but what case tho?
    – Babu
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 13:04
  • Just replace the whole phrase with the noun. The case the noun would take is taken by the pronoun. E.g., "Olaf Scholz is ein Politiker." --> Gleichsetzungsnominativ --> masculine nominative of "ein" needs to be used.
    – user6495
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 13:18

In English you call this indefinite article. In German "unbestimmter Artikel".

It is very similar to "a" and "an" in English. You use it when something is not defined. Ein Baum an der Straße = A tree near the road --> A random tree. Not specified.

In contrast you have normal articles like "die", "der" und "das". You use them when it is rather clear what you talk about. Der Baum unter dem wir uns geküsst haben = The tree where we have kissed. In this case you know that they kissed only under one tree.

In contrast: Ein Baum unter dem wir uns geküsst haben = A tree where we kissed.

About the sentence: First you say that it is one of the last idyls and then the ":" signals that a list beginns. And the list contains the positive aspects of the place.

  • 2
    This is wrong. OP's example uses the Indefinitpronomen "eine". See wort-vor-ort.eu/…
    – user6495
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 13:36
  • Unbestimmter Artikel und Indefinitpronomen ist das gleiche. Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 0:50
  • Das ist Unsinn ...
    – user6495
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 5:17
  • Artikel versus Pronomen: Ich hol mir ein Bier, willst du auch eins?
    – David Vogt
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 6:25
  • -1 Wrong information. Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 6:31

It is a Kardinalzahl. Not an indefinite pronoun.

Your whole construction shows partitive genitiv, which has a number as its determiner/quantifier.

You could use other cardinal numbers: Zwei der letzten Idyllen, drei der letzten Idyllen, vierzig der letzten Idyllen - you get it.

Dudenband 4 (2009) Nr. 446 "Zu den Verwendungsweisen von ein"

Ein as a cardinal number shares its inflection with its usage as an article or article-like word. See Duden4(2009) Nr. 448.

  • 1
    With an accessible reference added I may retract my downvote. Currently I consider it as a point of view, and the third paragraph giving other cardinal numbers is somewhat debatable.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:32
  • You could also have irgendeine der Idyllen. Cardinal or not is just a matter of semantics; in these constructions, there's always a pronoun.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:39
  • Think whatever you want to think. I don't care. (Will you remove this comment too to feed your ego?) Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:55

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