I read in the book that etwas means some.

  1. Ich brauche etwas frisches Fleisch.
  2. Er hat etwas Geld.

There is also another determiner that is einige. It also means some.

  1. Vor einiger Zeit schon.
  2. Mit einigem Glück.

Are they interchangeable?

3 Answers 3


I'm a native German speaker and I noticed that this is quite a hard question, but let my try to figure out a "rule" here (although I don't think there is a real "static" rule):

Sometimes you can use both "einige" and "etwas", i.e. you can say "Mit einigem Glück" (which means you need quite some luck) and "Mit etwas Glück" (-> a little luck...) but in those cases, "etwas" is less than "einige".

But the main thing is that, for abstract quantities (i.e. things you cannot count) you use "etwas" and for specific quantities you use "einige". For Example you would say

Ich brauche etwas frisches Fleisch.

(since you cannot "count" meat) but you would say

Ich brauche einige Stücke frisches Fleisch.

(because you can count pieces of meat)...

As I said there certainly will be exceptions to those rules!

EDIT: I just thought about the following: It's a little bit like "which" and "what" in English.

  • 1
    Just saying, "vor einiger Zeit" and "mit einigem Glück", you cannot really count these. Maybe another subtle difference is that you can conjugate "einige" but you cannot conjugate "etwas". "Vor etwas Zeit" sounds weird..
    – donquixote
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 18:18

Feel free to correct me, not a native, but from what I've gathered on similar words:

Viel = Many/Much

Viele = A lot of/Plenty of/Many of

Eine Menge von = A lot of

Mehrere = Several

Ein Paar = A couple/A few

Einige = Some/Several

Etwas = Some/A little

Bisschen = Little/Few/Tad

Wenig = Few/Not much/Scant

spärlich = Sparse

Menge = Amount

Bit = Bit

Stück = Piece

Teil = Part

Tonne = Ton

  • 2
    In the question, "einiges" is used with an uncountable/singular noun, your list has "einige" with plural.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 12:37
  • Welcome to German.SE. The question asks wether etwas and einige is interchangeable. Your list does not talk about this and just lists possible similiar words for einige/etwas. In case you'd say the the already existing answer(s) say everything that is need, you might point this out in your answer (that you just want to add xy) Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 13:19

This seems to me to be much like the distinction between "less" and "fewer" in English: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/less-or-fewer

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