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German Genders – Summary
The Genus determines the grammatical gender of a noun. You can distinguish between three gramamtical genders:
- m (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
|Male animals, male people||der 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 weather||der Mittwoch, der Donnerstag, der Freitag, etc.,|
Der Oktober, der November, der Dezember, etc., der Schnee, der Regen, der Nebel
|Directions||der Osten, der Süden, der Westen, der Norden|
|Nouns that end in “ling”||der Schmetterling, der Lehrling|
|Nouns that end in ich/ig||der Teppich, der Honig|
|Most nouns ending in “-en”||der Hafen, der Garten, der Ofen|
“Die” – The Feminine Nouns
|Most of German rivers||die Mosel, die Elbe, die Donau, die Anlauter|
|Numbers used as Nouns||die 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
|Most of the Metals||das 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 Infinitive||das Laufen, das Essen|
|Most Foreign words ending in “ma”||das Schema, das Prisma, das Koma|
|Adjective-made nouns that do not refer to something particular||das 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)
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!