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“man” has cases, too

man is the word you need if you want to refer to people in general, but in a generic way. The closest English counterpart is one, but in daily conversation English mostly uses you for these kinds of statements.

  • One does not simply walk into Mordor.
  • You don’t simply walk into Mordor.
  • Man geht nicht einfach nach Mordor.

What many learners don’t know, even when they’re already comfy with using man, is how to use it in “cases” – so if it’s NOT the subject.

And then, the word you need is “ein-“, with the appropriate case ending, of course.

  • Die Chat AI ChatGPT wirkt intelligent, aber sie versteht einen nicht wirklich. (Accusative)
  • The chat AI chatGPT comes across as intelligent, but it doesn’t really understand you.
  • Schlechtestes Restaurant ever – Unglaublich, was einem hier für Essen serviert wird. (Dative)
  • Worst restaurant ever – unbelievable, what kind of food (one is)/you are served here.

If you want to learn more about how to use man and its case-counterparts, check out this article on YourDailyGerman:

The meaning of man – And how to use it