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German Indefinite Pronouns Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Language

Guten Tag, liebe Leser! Recently, as part of my back to basics post, I linked to a post from the archives that deals with German possessive pronouns – that is, how to say things like ‘her book’ , ‘his hat’, ‘our cat’, and so on. Now I’d like to go over German indefinite pronouns.

 

What are German indefinite pronouns?

These are pronouns that do not indicate the gender or number of things/people discussed. To put it simply, they are those vague words like ‘somebody’, ‘everybody’, ‘a few’, and ‘some’. Why are these important to learn? Because sometimes we aren’t able to be – or don’t want to be – too specific!
(Note some of the words’ endings here might change in real speech, according to the gender of the subject. But the main thing at this stage is that you get a feel for how these words look and sound. 🙂 )

 

So how do we say these indefinite pronouns in German?

Everybody – Alle/Jeder

All of us – Allesamt

Somebody – Jemand/Irgendwer

Nobody – Niemand/Keiner

Anybody – Jedermann/Irgendjemand

Something – (Irgend)Etwas

Somewhere – Irgendwo

Nowhere – Nirgends/Nirgendwo

**

Both – Beide

Some/a few – Einige

A lot/many – Viel(e)

Those two/three/four – Diese zwei/drei/vier

**

Any – Irgendwelche(s)

A bit – Ein bisschen

A little – Ein wenig

One/You (eg. ‘One can do this’) – Man

Several – Mehrere

Such/of the like – Solche

 

Take a look at some of the above words in action:

 

Niemand will heute Abend mitgehen ———– Nobody wants to go this evening.

 

Einige von uns gehen ins Kino ——- A few of us are going to the cinema.

 

Beide sehen gut aus ———- Both look good.

 

Mehrere von uns wollen mitgehen ———– Several of us want to go.

 

Alle hier sind verrückt ————– Everyone here is crazy.

 

Irgendetwas stimmt nicht ———— Something is not right.

 

Jemand muss mir helfen ———— Someone needs to help me.

 

Solche Sachen sind hier verboten ———- Such things are forbidden here.

 

Man muss das Fenster aufmachen  ———- One/you must open the window.

 

Sie ist heute ein bisschen langsam ———— She’s a bit slow today.

 

Ein wenig Butter und dann stimmt’s ———– A little butter and then it‘s perfect.

 

Ich gehe nirgendwo hin ———- I’m going nowhere.

 

Ich brauche irgendwelche Gedichte für meine Hausaufgaben ——– I need any/some sort of poems for my homework.

 

Es steckt irgendwo im Schrank ———— It’s somewhere in the wardrobe.

 

I hope this post has been helpful. Any questions, let us know in the comments!

Constanze

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. Carmel Grima:

    Thank you. Revision lessons such a this one rekindles the interest of the German language for those of us who have no opportunity to practice it.

  2. Gary:

    Really useful and clearly explained as always – thanks!

    • Constanze:

      @Gary Glad you like it, Gary! 🙂

  3. Judy:

    This post reminds me of that great song from the movie The Comedian Harmonists (which was in German with English subtitles) – “Irgendwo auf der Welt” – look it up on youtube, worth a listen. All the songs in that film were fabulous. This one was sung as the goodbye tune in the last concert before the group was broken up by forced emigration.

  4. joyce constantine:

    Excellent review of pronouns…thank you. Joyce C.

  5. joyce constantine:

    good review of pronouns…thank you. easily understood. Joyce Constantine

  6. Peter Haney:

    Jemand muss mich helfen. Oder mir?

    • Constanze:

      @Peter Haney This was a mistake and I’ve corrected it now. Thanks for the heads-up! 🙂

  7. Volker Zinser:

    Jemand muß mir – nicht mich! – helfen.
    you need a ‘fact checker’.

    • Constanze:

      @Volker Zinser Thank you for pointing out this grave mistake, Volker! I shall correct the post immediately. The word you’re looking for is ‘proofreader’, by the way. 🙂