Gender of German nouns (substantives) - der, die, das
This topic is about the three different genders in the German language. These are the different genders.
- masculine (der Mann - man)
- feminine (die Frau - woman)
- neuter (das Kind - child)
In the following you will find various rules that can give you hints about the gender of a noun.
Masculine nouns in German (der)
There are several criteria that indicate if a noun is masculine.
Male persons: der Mann (man), der Onkel (uncle), der Opa (grandpa)
Professions: der Lehrer (teacher), der Koch (cook)
Days and months: der Montag (monday), der Dienstag (tuesday), der September (september), der Oktober (october)
Seasons: der Winter (winter), der Sommer (summer), der Herbst (autumn), der Frühling (spring)
cardinal points: der Norden (north), der Süden (south), der Osten (east), der Westen (west)
some weather conditions: der Tau (dew), der Schnee (snow), der Regen (rain)
currency: der Dollar, der Euro
Ending of a masculine nouns
|Ending of the noun||Example|
|-ant||der Diamant (diamant), der Elefant (elefant), der Mandant (mandator)|
|-är||der Bär (bear), der Sekretär (secretary)|
|-eur||der Amateur (amateur), der Friseur (hair dresser)|
|-ich||der Rettich (radish), der Teich (pond), der Bindestrich (hypen)|
|-ig||der König (king), der Honig (honey), der Teig (dough)|
|-iker||der Musiker (musician), der Techniker (technician)|
|-ist||der Spezialist (specialist), der Artist (artist)|
|-ling||der Feigling (coward), der Liebling (darling), der Schmetterling (butterfly)|
|-or||der Marmor (marble), der Senior (senior)|
You can find more information about masculine nouns in following chapters.
Feminine nouns in German (die)
There are several criteria that indicate if a noun is feminine.
Here are some examples:
- Feminine persons: die Frau (woman), die Tante (aunt), die Oma (grandma)
- Name of tree species: die Buche (beech), die Tanne (fir)
- Name of flowers: die Tulpe (tulip), die Rose (rose)
- Name of fruits: die Birne (pear), die Erdbeere (strawberry), die Banane (banana)
- Numbers used as nouns: die Eins (one), die Zwei (two), die Drei (tree)
Ending of feminine nouns
|Ending of the noun||Example|
|-ei||die Fischerei (fishery), die Malerei (painting), die Bäckerei (bakery)|
|-in||die Asiatin (asian), die Lehrerin (female teacher)|
|-keit||die Helligkeit (brightness), die Ähnlichkeit (resemblance), die Haltbarkeit (durability)|
|-ung||die Änderung (change), die Begabung (aptitude), die Lösung (solution)|
|-ion||die Station (station), die Funktion (function), die Auktion (auction)|
|-ine||die Blondine (blonde), die Gardine (curtain), die Mine (mine)|
|-schaft||die Gesellschaft (society), die Botschaft (message), die Wirtschaft (economy)|
|-ade||die Marinade (marinade), die Olympiade (olympics), die Fassade (facade)|
|-ette||die Kette (chain), die Manschette (wristband), die Limette (lime)|
|-ik||die Kritik (critisicm), die Politik (politics), die Elektrik (electrics)|
|-ur||die Struktur (structure), die Archtiketur (architecture), die Prozedur (procedure)|
|-sis||die Skepsis (scepticism), die Basis (base)|
|-tät||die Identität (identity), die Aktivität (activity), die Realität (reality)|
|-heit||die Freiheit (freedom), die Gewohnheit (habit), die Dummheit (foolishness)|
|-ie||die Anatomie (anatomy), die Fantasie (fantasy), die Chemie (chemistry)|
You can find more information about feminine nouns in following chapters.
Neuter nouns in German (das)
There are several criteria that indicate if a noun is neuter.
- young person or animal: das Rehkitz (fawn), das Kind (child)
- letters of alphabet: das A, das B, das C
- colours used as nouns: das Gelb (yellow), das Rot (red)
- languages: das Deutsch (German), das Französisch (French)
- words of English origin: das Baby (baby), das Handy (mobile phone)
- names of cities and country accompanied by adjectives: das schöne Bayern (beautiful bavaria), das große Russland (big Russia)
- chemical elements: das Gold (gold), das Silber (silver)
Ending of neuter nouns
|Ending of the noun||Example|
|-chen||das Anzeichen (indication), das Mädchen (girl)|
|-lein||das Krönlein (little crown), das Männlein (little man)|
|-tum||das Datum (date), das Christentum (Christianity), das Wachstum (growth)|
|-o||das Auto (car), das Radio (radio)|
|-ett||das Brett (board), das Bett (bed)|
|-ment||das Apartment (apartment), das Element (element), das Kompliment (compliment)|
|-ma||das Klima (climate), das Thema (topic), das Drama (drama)|
|-um||das Aquarium (aquarium), das Basilikum (basil), das Zentrum (centre)|
You can find more information about neuter nouns in following chapters.
Keep in mind: there are a lot of exceptions in the German language. You can find some of them in the following chapters.
Which gender do compound nouns have?
Compound nouns are nouns that are composed out of two or more words and then build a new word with sometimes a new meaning.
The last word always determines the gender, the number and the case of the compound noun. It is also the only one to decline depending on the case.
Compound nouns can be formed out of
- Noun + noun: die Wasserflasche (das Wasser + die Flasche) - water bottle
- verb + noun: das Esszimmer (essen + das Zimmer) - dining room
- adjective/participle + noun: die Großstadt (groß + die Stadt) - big city
- invariable preposition + noun: der Aberglaube (aber + der Glaube) - superstition
You can find a detailed explanation in future chapters. In addition, do the exercises to anchor your knowledge.
It is way more easier to learn the plural form by heart. Test your skills with challenging exercises of the three German genders.
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