German Genders

Erklärungen und Beispiele

German Genders – Summary

Zusammenfassung

The Genus determines the grammatical gender of a noun. You can distinguish between three gramamtical genders:

  • (masculine = männlich),
  • f (feminine = weiblich), 
  • n (neutral = sächlich) 

In German, it is very difficult to determine the gender of a noun by looking at its ending. So, the best and easiest way to know the gender of a German noun is to learn it by vocabulary lists. There are certain guidelines that can help you to determine the gender of a noun, in case you are not sure about it. Just have a look at the following article.

Welcome everybody to language-easy.org! Well, I hope you are seated and really motivated – today we will talk about one of the most horrifying topics of German grammar: The German genders. So, in case you don’t understand why people who learn German don’t like this topic. Did you know that horse is neuter, a guitar feminine, and a dog masculine?

Although this does not sound too logical, there are some rules that can guide you to determine which noun has which gender. So, in the following, we will try to structure the nouns into different categories which can help you to indicate the German gender. By the way, our article about German articles can also help you to get an overview of nouns and their German gender. Now, let’s not lose too much time and come to the categorization of German nouns and their gender.

The Categorization of German Nouns

Die Kategorisierung von Nomen im Deutschen

Well, as already mentioned above, we will try to categorize German nouns in order to determine to which of the three German genders they belong to. Of course, most of you know that there are three German genders: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter.

  • So, the masculine article is “der”, the feminine “die” and the neuter article “das”.

In the following, we will try to outline the rules for nouns of each gender in the German language. So, try to keep these tables in mind. For sure, other German-speaking people will be impressed by your German gender skills.

“Der” – The Masculine Nouns

CategoryExample
Male animals, male peopleder Professor, der Mann, der Präsident, der Lehrer, der Stier
Instruments and things (in case these nouns have an “-er or -or” ending)der Toaster, der Kugelschreiber, der Motor
Months, days, Seasons of the year and weatherder Mittwoch, der Donnerstag, der Freitag, etc.,
Der Oktober, der November, der Dezember, etc., der Schnee, der Regen, der Nebel
Directionsder Osten, der Süden, der Westen, der Norden
Nouns that end in “ling”der Schmetterling, der Lehrling
Nouns that end in ich/igder Teppich, der Honig
Most nouns ending in “-en”der Hafen, der Garten, der Ofen

“Die” – The Feminine Nouns

CategoryExample
Most of German riversdie Mosel, die Elbe, die Donau, die Anlauter
Numbers used as Nounsdie Drei
Most Nouns ending in “-e”die Bleibe, die Tröte
Most Nouns ending in “-ion”die Situation, die Religion, die Funktion
Most Nouns with Endings “-enz/ -anz”die Diskussion
Endings with “heit/keit”die Toleranz, die Diskrepanz
Nouns ending in “-tät”die Universität
Nouns ending in “-ik”die Ethik, die Mechanik

“Das” – The Neuter Nouns

CategoryExample
Most of the Metalsdas Nickel, das Kupfer, das Zinn, das Silber
Noun with the diminutive endings “lein/chen”das Kindlein, das Mädchen
Ending of Nouns with “um”das Medium, das Opium
Most Nouns ending in “ment”das Dokument, das Element
Collectivs with “Ge-“das Gebirge, das Geschrei, das Getue
Nouns made from Verbs in the Infinitivedas Laufen, das Essen
Most Foreign words ending in “ma”das Schema, das Prisma, das Koma
Adjective-made nouns that do not refer to something particulardas Neue, das Ganze, das Gleiche

The Gender of Compound Nouns

Finally, we come to the last category of nouns and their German gender, the gender of compound nouns.

In case a noun is formed from several other nouns combined into one world, the last noun in the word determines the gender of the whole word.

So, let’s have a look at some examples: “der Tisch” (masculine) + “das Bein” (neuter) = das Tischbein (neuter)

German Genders

Exercises

Übungen

Finally, we have reached the last part of this article where you can prove the German skills you have just learned. In the following, you will see some phrases that you should complete with the correct terms. Once you have filled all the gaps, just click on the “correct” button and you can see your errors and the correct results. So, I really hope that you have understood the basic principles of German genders – and that you keep the tables from above in mind. By the way, in case you’d like to have some background information about this topic, just have a look at this article on Wikipedia. Auf Wiedersehen!

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