When making statements with a general person and no one specific, the indefinite pronoun “man” is often used. It denotes that a statement does not refer to a specific individual but rather to an infinite number of people, a community, or even anyone. Even though “man” refers to a whole group, it is used singularly. The verb form is identical to that of er/sie/es. In English, there’s no actual translation. You’d use “you” “one” or even “they/their”, as in “If one wanted to get better, one would have to learn more” where the word “one” could be replaced with “you” as well (Wenn man besser werden will, muss man mehr lernen”. Germans often use that word to criticize politely, making it generally doesn’t seem like pointing fingers. “Wenn man immer nur wartet, bis man Hunger hat, isst man oft Fast-Food. Man sollte besser schon vorher Essen zubereiten” Which means: “If you wait until you’re hungry you tend to eat fast food. You should better prepare food beforehand.” Making it a general statement is politer because it gives the “you” a feeling of “you’re not the only one doing that, I don’t blame you, just saying”.
Man vs. Mann
There’s a huge difference between the impersonal pronoun man and the noun Mann. The word man has one n and is the indefinite pronoun as described above. “der Mann” however is the translation of the English word “the man”.
Note that the German word “man” (= you, one) is NOT pronounced like the English word “man”. The German word “man” is pronounced like “mun” (similar to “bun”) in English.
5. Viel – Much, Many, A Lot Of
The word “viel” can be either adjective, adverb, or an indefinite pronoun, depending on how it’s being used. The indefinite pronoun”viel” works as a replacement of an article, other pronouns, or determiners.
“Ich sehe die vielen Menschen dort” – I can see all those many people over there.
“Ich habe viel mehr Geld als du” – I’ve got much more money than you.
“Wer schon viel hat, will oft noch mehr” – Someone who has a lot often ends up wanting more.
Indefinite pronoun: “viel – much” is also followed by uncountable nouns most of the time, and is not declined.
Adjective: “viel(e) – many” is followed by countable nouns, and it’s declined.
Ich habe viel Geld / Zeit.
Viele Menschen leben in Städten.
Vieles interessiert mich nicht.
|much / many / a lot of
Ich has a lot of money/time.
The opposite is “nothing” – “nichts” which are also indefinite pronouns. The indefinite pronouns for the first person singular or second person singular, when the sentence starts with “ich bin” “ich will” or “sie hat” are never conjugated. Example: “ich will nichts machen” – “I don’t want to do anything”.
Knowing or learning those different indefinite pronouns (Indefinitpronomen) or other ones in the German language like “der die das, man, jemand, niemand or etwas” won’t mean a thing if you don’t use the indefinite pronouns and know how to naturally use them in the everyday German spoken language. Learning a language is like learning an instrument, and you need to practice. It can seem hard to do so but don’t worry, there’s a very easy solution with which you won’t even realize that you’re practicing at all, since it’s so interesting. Of course, I’m talking about Readle – learn German. You can practice reading, listening, understanding, learning new vocabulary and expressions, grammar, and get entertained by an engaging quiz and you’ll learn the use of indefinite pronouns without struggles. What are you waiting for!?