Forum Rocket German German Grammar Use of Singular Nouns Without an Article

Use of Singular Nouns Without an Article

PaulS108

PaulS108

In lesson 21.2, we are presented with the following sentence:

Es (das Haus) hat ein Doppelzimmer und zwei Einzelzimmer, Wohnzimmer mit Kochnische und eine wunderschöne Terrasse.

If I break this down into 3 separate sentences, it would read:

  1. Es hat ein Doppelzimmer und zwei Einzelzimmer. 
  2. Es hat Wohnzimmer mit Kochnische.
  3. Es hat eine wunderschöne Terrasse. 

Why are the articles deleted in the second sentence? I would have expected: “Es hat ein Wohnzimmer mit einer Kochnische.”, especially in light of the fact that the indefinite article does appear in the third sentence.

Is there a grammar rule in German that would shed light on this (similar to the grammatical rule regarding the deletion of an article before the use of professions, e.g. Ich bin Arzt)? Or perhaps this is simply common spoken language for this specific example?

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Guten Tag PaulS108,

 

Thank you for your question! 

You will sometimes find that when having a long list of nouns (2 or more) related to the same context and connected with und, Germans omit some or all articles. This is sometimes but not always possible as it can change the way you sound as well as the entire meaning of the sentence. 

So for example, “Das Haus hat Doppelzimmer, Einzelzimmer, Wohnzimmer und Terrasse.” - “The house has (a) double room, (a) single room, (a) living room and (a) patio.” would be perfectly fine to say. 

But watch out for sentences like “Er hat mit dem Architekten und Bauleiter gesprochen.” - “He talked to the architect and the project manager.”  This could lead to misunderstandings because the sentence has two possible meanings: He talked to both the architect and the project manager (two different people) or he talked to the architect who is also the project manager.

In the sentence above it doesn't really change the meaning, it just makes it a bit smother to read as you don't stumble over all the articles. 

When a noun is defined more closely with an adjective however, it needs an article ("…und eine wunderschöne Terrasse").

In cases where there is a strong connection between two nouns joint together with a preposition, an article is often not needed/optional ("Wohnzimmer mit Kochnische"). You can see the second noun as a description of the first one. A few other examples would be:

“Ich hätte gerne ein Zimmer mit/ohne Balkon.” - “I would like a room with/without a balcony.”

“Ein Zimmer mit Meeresblick wäre schön.” - “A room with an ocean view would be nice.”

 

In saying all that, it would also be perfectly fine to make use of all the articles in your sentence:

“Das Haus hat ein Doppelzimmer und zwei Einzelzimmer, ein Wohnzimmer mit einer Kochnische und eine wunderschöne Terrasse.”

 

I hope this helps.

 

Viele Grüße,

Julia

 

PaulS108

PaulS108

Thank you, Julia, for your enlightening reply. At this stage of the course, these “fine points” of German grammar are extremely helpful to know. 

I will take this opportunity to praise level 3 of the Rocket German course for three specific language aspects that are being subtly presented: (1) fine grammar points (such as the one mentioned above); (2) alternative vocabulary for words learned earlier in the course (e.g. umtauschen/wechseln, vorz¨uglich/köstlich); and alternative ways to express the same idea (e.g. Ich weiß ganz bestimmt, dass …, Ich bin mir sicher, dass …). Slowly but surely, the German language is becoming more and more colourful:))

Viele Gr¨uße,

PaulS108    

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Julia-Rocket-German-Tutor

Thank you for your feedback! Sounds like you are making great progress!

 

Viele Grüße,

Julia

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