At some stage in your German learning, you will come across words with the prefix ‘irgend’ – actually, quite a few of them! And they all mean something vague.
Let’s have a look at some of the easy ones:
Now some more complicated ones:
These depend on the gender and the case.
Nominative (the subject):
Accusative (the direct object):
Wen hast du gesehen? Who did you see?
Dative (the indirect object):
Wem hast du den Brief gegeben? Who did you give the letter?
Alternatively, just use ‘irgendeiner’ assuming you mean a man, or ‘irgendeine’ assuming you mean a woman’: Irgendeine(r) hat mir Blumen gegeben!
Or you can use
irgendjemand, -jemandem, -jemanden
Then we also have
Irgendwer, -wen, -wem
This is even more vague as we don’t even know (or care) whether it’s a man or a woman.
Irgendwer hat mir ein Bier gebracht. Somebody has bought me a beer (but I was too drunk to notice who it was)
Irgendwen habe ich gesehen. I’ve seen somebody (yes, they turned up with this beer and I took it. Does it matter who it is? I don’t care)
Irgendwem habe ich das Geld gegeben. I gave the money to somebody (you mean I gave it to the wrong person? Oh no!)
And then we have
irgendwelchen, -welches, -welche, -welchem, … again giving a very vague answer to a question:
To recap, compare these sentences.
Haben Sie noch einen Vorschlag/ eine Frage/ ein Dokument? Do you have another suggestion/ question/ document?
Haben Sie noch irgendeinen Vorschlag/ irgendeine Frage/ irgendein Dokument? Do you have another suggestion/ question/ document? (Could also mean: anything? any more? Come on, think! I could do with some more suggestions, questions, documents from you)
Jemand hat das Paket abgeholt. Somebody’s picked up the parcel. (I saw them but I don’t know who they were) or maybe (I saw them. I think it was the postman but not sure)
Irgendjemand hat das Paket abgeholt. Somebody’s picked up the parcel (Could also mean: but I didn’t see it and have no idea who it was. Does it matter who it was?)
Does all this matter? Well, it doesn’t, but actually somehow it does.
Ist all das wichtig? Eigentlich nicht, aber
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