Great Answers to
Questions About Everything


In a story I read recently, there was a sentence:

Eines Tages fand Peter eine Schatzkarte!

And I wonder why it is "Eines Tages" and not "ein Tag", because "ein Tag" is what I would say normally. Is there any special reason, like a special poetic rule being used in stories or I'm wrong and the normal way is what is used there?

{ asked by Gigili }


This is related to the question about "dieses Jahr, diesen Sommer", with the difference that you are asking for an indefinite time.

As Em1 already mentioned, it is an adverbial expression. You ask for such an expression using when (wann):

Wann fand Peter die Schatzkarte?

You want to answer:

Ein Tag.

But you answer with an indefinite time expression without a preposition. Then you have to use genitive (scroll down to "4) Expressions of indefinite time"). Genitive of "ein Tag" is:

Eines Tages.

Maybe the link in Em1 answer for the Adverbialgenitiv now gets clearer.

You also can use the preposition an when answering the question, like knut pointed out. Then you would need dative:

An einem Tag (fand Peter die Schatzkiste).

{ answered by John Smithers }