Indefinite Articles - Nominative (1. case)

German nouns are mostly accompanied by articles. An article always stands before anoun. The article always has the same gender (masculine, feminine or neuter), the same case (nominative, genitive, dative or accusative) and the same number (singular or plural) as the noun which it accompanies. An indefinite article always refers to a person or a thing which is unknown. As soon as it has been identified or has been mentioned before, you have to use the definite article.

Forms

Here are the indefinite articles in the first case (nominative):

 
Singular Forms Indefinite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine ein (Mann m) ['ain] a (man)
feminine eine (Frau f) ['ainə] a (woman)
neuter ein (Kind nt) [ain] a (child)
       
Plural Forms Indefinite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine - (Männer m pl) - -
feminine - (Frauen f pl) - -
neuter - (Kinder nt pl) - -

As you can see, there is no plural form of the indefinite article.

 

The subject of a sentence always stands in the nominative

The nominative is the first case. We use the nominative form of an article whenever the noun which is accompanied represents the subject of the sentence. The subject is the acting part of the sentence which the predicate (the conjugated form of the verb) refers to.

Here is an example:

German Phonetic Script English
Ein Kind nt weint. [ain kɪnt vaint] A child is crying.

In this sentence, "Kind" is the noun in the nominative case. It is the acting part of the sentence and thus the subject.

If you ask for the subject of the example sentence, you ask: Who (is doing something)? The answer in this case would be: The child (is doing something), namely the child is crying.