German/Grammar/Nouns

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What Is a Noun?[edit]

A Noun is a Word that can be used to refer to a Person, Place, Thing, Quality, or Idea, that is, a part of Speech. It can serve as the Subject or Object of a Verb. For example, a Table (ein Tisch, eine Tafel) or a Computer (ein Computer). What makes Nouns in German special is that they must start with a capital Letter in the written Language (just like this Paragraph is)!

Plurals[edit]

German, unlike English, has more than one way to make nouns plural, and plural form, like gender, must be memorized with every noun.

There are twelve different ways to form plurals in German. They are formed by affixes at the end of the word, and the umlaut of the vowel of the stem. They are - (changing nothing); -¨; -e; -¨e; -n; -¨n; -en; -¨en; -er; -¨er; -nen (to feminine suffix -in); -s (mainly with English loan-words); adding "foreign" endings (mainly Latin words); and changing suffixes (mainly Latin words).

When German nouns are used in the plural, their gender becomes irrelevant. The plural can almost be thought of as a gender on its own. In the plural, the definite article is always "die" when using the nominative and accusative cases.

When using the dative case, "den" is the definite article of all plurals. All plurals not ending in -n or -s affix an -n.

The definite article of the plural in the genitive case is "der".

Examples

Nominative: Die alten Männer spielen Schach. The old men are playing chess.

Accusative: Ich sah die alten Männer beim Schachspielen. I saw the old men as they played chess.

Dative: Ich spielte mit den alten Männern Schach. I played chess with the old men.

Genitive: Das Schachspiel der alten Männer war nicht sehr spannend. The old men's chess game was not very exciting.

Suffixes[edit]

Although gender and plural form are often arbitrary, there exist certain suffixes whose gender and plural form are regular. They are mainly feminine.

-ung, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -ion, and -tät

These are all feminine endings, which are pluralized by -en.

  • Diskussion(en)
Discussion(s)
  • Universtät(en)
University(ies)

-unft

This ending is feminine and is pluralized by changing the stem vowel and adding -e

  • Unterkunft
Lodging
  • Unterkünfte
Lodgings

-ik

This ending often doesn't have a plural. When it does however, you add '-en

  • Technik(en)
Technique(s)

Other

When verb infinitives transform into nouns, they do not have a plural form.

  • das Sprechen
Language

Many masculine nouns are formed by verbal stems without a suffix. Many of these receive an umlaut in their plural form.

Gender[edit]

German, like many other languages, gives each noun a gender: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. Plural nouns also act differently not only with the verb of the sentence, but the article preceding it.

The way any particular word is classified may not be logical.

Examples:

das Mädchen       the girl (neuter)
die Person        the person (feminine - even when talking about a man)

However, not all German Nouns are randomly allocated a gender. The following notes will apply to most nouns but not all.

A note on Mädchen:

This is derived from the diminutive form of Maid (old, rarely used) - Maidchen. Grammatically it is neuter, but when referenced, nowadays the logical feminine gender can takes over: "Das Mädchen und ihr Hund", instead of "Das Mädchen und sein Hund".

Compound nouns have the same gender as the last noun.

Example: die Armbanduhr (wristwatch) (der Arm, das Band, die Uhr)

Masculine[edit]

There are far more masculine nouns than of either of the other genders. The masculine nominative definite article is der.

Semantic Groups Which Are Masculine[edit]

days              z.B. der Montag
times of the day  z.B. der Morgen
months            z.B. der August
seasons           z.B. der Sommer
compass points: Norden, Osten, Süden, Westen, Nordwesten, ...
(male) animals      z.B. der Löwe, der Hahn, der Ochse
alcohol**         z.B. der Wein, der Likör, der Alkohol, der Champagner
car***            z.B. der Wagen, der Opel, der Mercedes, der BMW

** However, it is das Bier, die Spirituose (because of the ending "-ose"), das Pils (because it is a beer), das Methanol (because it is a scientific term of a substance)
*** Excepting "das Auto".

Nouns meaning a male person are usually masculine. Typical endings for such nouns are -er, -iker, -or, -ar, -är, -ent, -ant, -ist, -loge, -graph, -graf, -eur, -arch.
  • Examples (masculine): Mann, Sohn, Bub, Junge, Bruder, Vater, Enkel, Onkel, König, Lehrer, Mathematiker, Student, Arzt, Professor, Ingenieur, Demonstrant, Kommissar, Tourist, Meteorologe, Fotograf, Biograph, Monarch, Millionär
  • Exceptions: die Person, das Kind, das Baby, das Opfer, die Geisel (These words can mean a male or a female person but the gender stays the same.)

Words with Certain Endings[edit]

Nouns ending with -ismus are always masculine: der Kommunismus, der Anglizismus, der Terrorismus
Nouns ending with -smus or -thmus are usually masculine: der Algorithmus, der Logarithmus, der Rhythmus, der Enthusiasmus, der Sarkasmus, der Orgasmus

Nouns ending with -ling that are not English words are usually masculine (if they mean a person, they can mean a male or a female person): der Flüchtling (refugee), der Lehrling (apprentice), der Liebling (darling), der Schmetterling (butterfly), der Setzling, der Zwilling
Nouns ending with -or are often masculine: der Motor, der Rotor, der Faktor, der Vektor, der Prozessor, Äquator, Monitor
Exceptions: das Labor (because it is short for das Laboratorium)
Nouns ending in -en are usually masculine (but not infinitives used as nouns. They are neuter: das Rauchen, das Lachen).

Examples (masculine): Kuchen (cake), Frieden (peace), Glauben (faith), Balken, Bogen (bow), Socken (sock), Brocken, Stecken, Samen, Daumen (thumb), Boden, Busen, Degen, Reigen, Faden, Hafen, Haken, Laden, Orden, Rasen, Braten, Spaten, Ballen, Barren, Batzen, Drachen, Felsen (rock), Fetzen, Funken, Garten (garden), Galgen, Gaumen, Graben, Haufen, Hopfen, Klumpen, Kasten, Karren, Besen, Schuppen, Karpfen, Krapfen, Knoten, Kolben, Korken, Kragen, Lappen, Brunnen, Rahmen, Schaden, Ofen, Magen, Zapfen, Schinken, Knochen, Pfropfen, Topfen, Regen (rain), Reifen, Streifen, Tropfen, Hoden, Loden, Fladen, Roggen, Weizen, Segen, Husten, Schnupfen, Nacken, Packen, Rücken, Zacken, Zinken, Rachen, Rechen, Rochen, Wagen

Exceptions (neuter): Leben, Wissen, Essen, Küken, Laken, Leinen, Nomen, Becken, Examen, Fohlen, Wappen, Kissen, Eisen, Beben, Volumen, Treffen, Schreiben, Wesen, Zeichen

The following groups of nouns are relatively often masculine if they do not begin with the unstressed syllable Ge-:
Nouns ending in -el (but not stressed on the last syllable): der Vogel
Nouns ending in -er (but not -ier): der Hamster

Examples (-el, masculine): Vogel (bird), Apfel (apple), Himmel (sky, heaven), Nebel (fog), Hagel (hail), Nagel (nail), Nabel (navel), Schnabel (beak), Hebel (lever), Kübel (bucket), Löffel (spoon), Hügel (hill), Gipfel (peak), Wipfel (treetop), Schlüssel (key), Deckel (lid), Henkel (handle), Beutel (bag), Schenkel, Tempel, Zirkel, Würfel, Handel (trade), Flügel (wing), Gürtel (belt), Mantel (coat), Kegel, Ziegel, Knödel, Esel (donkey), Igel, Dackel, Pudel, Pinsel (paint brush), Titel (title), Ärmel, Muskel, Knöchel, Knorpel, Tunnel (tunnel), Artikel (article), Pegel, Pickel, Winkel (angle), Stapel, Zettel, Sessel (chair), Jubel, Trubel, Mörtel, Meißel, Kessel (kettle), Kittel, Sockel, Tümpel, Mangel, Büffel, Rüssel, Säbel, Bügel, Dübel, Egel, Engel (angel), Erpel, Pöbel

Exceptions (-el, feminine): Schachtel (box), Schüssel (bowl), Amsel, Drossel, Wachtel, Kordel, Kurbel, Achsel, Dattel, Ampel, Insel (island), Muschel, Regel (rule), Wurzel (root), Bibel, Fabel, Gabel (fork), Nadel (needle), Nudel, Kugel, Fackel, Gondel, Kapsel, Tafel, Rodel, Orgel, Formel (formula), Geisel, Distel, Eichel, Angel

Exceptions (-el, neuter): Segel (sail), Kabel (cable), Pendel (pendulum), Kapitel (chapter), Rätsel, Wiesel, Ziesel, Orakel, Ferkel, Übel, Paddel, Debakel, Rudel, Nickel

Examples (-er, masculine): Acker, Ärger, Anker, Eifer, Eimer, Eiter, Hafer, Käfer, Biber, Tiger, Kater, Kader, Köder, Laser, Polster, Bagger, Becher, Bohrer, Hammer, Hamster, Bunker, Donner, Dotter, Dünger, Fächer, Falter, Fehler, Filter, Finger, Fühler, Höcker, Hocker, Hummer, Hunger, Ingwer, Jammer, Keller, Kerker, Kleber, Körper, Koffer, Krater, Kühler, Kummer, Luster, Ordner, Panzer, Puffer, Sender, Sommer, Teller, Walzer, Wecker, Winter, Zauber, Zeiger, Zucker

Exceptions (-er, feminine): Ader, Butter, Dauer, Faser, Leiter, Feder, Feier, Leber, Mauer, Oper, Elster, Folter, Kammer, Nummer, Steuer, Trauer, Wimper, Ziffer

Exceptions (-er, neuter): Alter, Messer, Feuer, Futter, Wasser, Wetter, Lager, Leder, Opfer, Puder, Pulver, Ruder, Ufer, Banner, Fieber, Gatter, Gitter, Kupfer, Muster, Poster, Silber, Wunder, Zimmer

Nouns that end with -pf but do not begin with Ge- are often masculine.

Examples (masculine): Kopf, Zopf, Napf, Sumpf, Strumpf, Dampf, Kampf, Rumpf, Tropf, Knopf, Kropf, Krampf, Stumpf, Trumpf, Propf, Schopf, Topf, Unterschlupf, Gugelhupf

Nouns ending in -aum are often masculine.

Examples:
Baum, Traum, Schaum, Raum, Saum, Flaum

Nouns ending in -ang are often masculine.

Examples:
Drang, Fang, Gang, Hang, Klang, Rang, Anfang, Empfang, Gesang, Tang

Nouns ending in -und are often masculine.

Examples:
Bund, Grund, Schund, Hund, Fund, Schwund, Schlund, Mund

Exceptions:
neuter: Pfund

Nouns ending in -all are often masculine.

Examples:
Ball, Fall, Krawall, Drall, Hall, Wall, Aufprall, Kristall, Knall, Schall, Zufall, Abfall, Vorfall, Schwall

Exceptions:
neuter: All, Metall, Intervall
feminine: Nachtigall

Feminine[edit]

The feminine Gender article is die. It is used in the nominative and accusative singular case. It is also used to indicate nominative and accusative plural for nouns of any gender.

e.g. die Katze — Feminine

                 —or—
       die Katzen — feminine plural
       die Männer - masculine plural
       die Mädchen - neuter plural

Semantic Groups Which Are Feminine[edit]

Female persons and (female) animals are usually feminine (very few exceptions).

Examples:

die Frau (woman)
die Schwester (sister)
die Mutter (mother)

To change a designation to explicitly feminine, one often uses the ending -in.

der Lehrer - die Lehrerin (teacher)
der Kaiser - die Kaiserin (emperor and empress)
der König - die Königin (king and queen)
der Arzt - die Ärztin (doctor)
der Löwe - die Löwin (lion and lioness)

Exceptions

das Mädchen (girl)
das Kind (child)
das Fräulein (old fashioned for Miss)


A lot of trees and other plants are also feminine.

Examples:

die Buche (beech)
die Eiche (oak)
die Rose (rose)
die Tulpe (tulip)
die Nelke (carnation)

Exceptions:

das Veilchen (violet), der Farn (fern) ...

Words With Certain Endings[edit]

Words with these endings are feminine:
-heit: die Gesundheit (health), die Wahrheit (truth)
-keit: die Möglichkeit (possibility)
-schaft: die Wirtschaft, die Freundschaft
-ei: die Türkei, die Mongolei, die Bäckerei*

Exceptions

* das Ei (egg) has nothing to do with the ending -ei. 
Das Ei is neuter, including all words derived from: z.B. das Spiegelei, das Rührei, das Vogelei (different types of eggs) * der Papagei (parrot)
Words with the suffix -ung are feminine (they are usually derived from verbs). But: der Sprung, der Schwung, der Dung.

Examples (feminine): die Beobachtung (observation; v: beobachten), die Verfolgung (persecution; v: verfolgen), Wohnung, Zeitung, Bildung, Währung, Werbung, Landung, Warnung, Erfahrung, Forschung, Übung, Beziehung, Richtung, Bewegung, Vorlesung, Bedeutung, Erziehung, Erklärung, Ordnung, Spannung, Bedingung, Siedlung, Öffnung, Handlung, Zeichnung, Lösung, Verbindung, Stimmung, Endung, Erzählung, Wirkung, Regierung, Einführung, Sammlung, Beratung, Neigung, Prüfung, Veränderung, Abteilung, Sendung, Rettung, Erfindung, Verletzung, Leistung

Words derived from verbs (mostly irregular verbs) and ending in -t are feminine:
 die Handschrift (hand writing (n), derived from schreiben),
 die Fahrt (journey, trip or ride, derived from fahren)
Many German nouns end with an -e that is pronounced [ə]. They are usually feminine if they do not mean a male person and do not begin with the unstressed syllable Ge-.

Examples: die Lampe (lamp), die Karte (card, map), Liebe, Freude, Erde, Tasse, Masse, Klasse, Rasse, Rolle, Brücke, Lücke, Krücke, Ecke, Zecke, Decke, Strecke, Matte, Ratte, Krabbe, Ebbe, Sonne, Tonne, Wonne, Nonne, Farbe, Narbe, Nase, Zunge, Lunge, Wange, Zange, Spange, Lippe, Frage, Sprache, Suche, Seite, Kante, Bitte, Socke, Hose, Jacke, Kreide, Waffe, Sekunde, Minute, Stunde, Straße, Gasse, Suppe, Speise, Reise, Oase, Diagnose, Analyse, Krise, Seele, Flagge, Fahne, Falle, Bremse, Beute, Adresse, Presse, Messe, Toilette, Pause, Tomate, Banane, Melone, Kirsche, Pflaume, Ameise, Motte, Fliege, Biene, Wespe, Schlange, Schnecke, Giraffe, Spinne, Blume, Pflanze, Vase, Tanne, Kanne, Pfanne, Lüge, Sorge, Kappe, Liste, Summe, Zelle, Trompete, Flöte, Gitarre, Violine, Ehe, Schokolade, Wiese, Sache, Schule, Oboe, Treue, Kleie

Exceptions:
der Name, der Wille, der Käse (cheese), der Friede, der Glaube, das Ende (end), das Interesse, das Auge (eye), das Erbe, der Löwe (Lion), der Hase (hare), der Affe (monkey), der Rabe, der Drache, das Karate, der Rüde, das Genre, das Prozedere, der Ochse, der Welpe, das Finale

Foreign words:

Words with the endings given below are stressed on the last syllable. They are feminine.
-anz: die Eleganz, die Toleranz
-enz: die Intelligenz (intelligence), die Konsequenz (consequence)
-logie: die Biologie, die Meteorologie
-grafie/graphie: die Biografie, die Orthografie
-tät: die Universität, Majestät, Lokalität, Pietät, Integrität, Qualität, Aktivität, Priorität, Nationalität, Kapazität
-tion, -sion, -gion, -xion, -lion, -nion: die Nation, die Mission, die Religion, die Reflexion, die Million, die Union
-thek: die Bibliothek, die Diskothek
Words with the endings given below are usually feminine.
-ie (but not English words, e.g.  das Selfie): die Philosophie (philosophy), die Melodie (melody), die Familie, die Studie, die Demokratie
-ik: die Musik (music), die Politik (politics), die Physik, die Klassik, die Gotik, die Romantik, Kritik
-ur (but not -eur): die Kultur (culture), die Natur, die Temperatur, die Literatur, die Frisur, die Tastatur, die Armatur, die Glasur

Exceptions: das Genie, das Mosaik, das Abitur, der Merkur, der Purpur

Words ending with -age are often feminine.
Examples:
Garage, Montage, Etage, Spionage, Persiflage, Blamage

Neuter[edit]

The neutral Gender article is das for the nominative and accusative case.

Semantic Groups Which Are Neuter[edit]

Names of colors are neuter: das Blau, das Rot, das Gelb, das Hellgrün, das Dunkelbraun
Languages are usually neuter.
Examples: Deutsch, Englisch, Esperanto, Latein
Countries with the ending -ien, -land, -reich or -stan are always neuter.

Examples: Italien, Spanien, Deutschland, England, Österreich, Frankreich, Vereinigtes Königreich, Afghanistan, Pakistan

Other countries are often neuter.

Examples (neuter): China, Japan, Mexiko, Kanada, Peru, Chile, Nigeria, Bangladesch, Ägypten, Vietnam, Südafrika, Polen
Exceptions:
masculine: Irak, Iran, Jemen, Senegal, Sudan, Niger
feminine: Schweiz, Slowakei, Türkei, Mongolei, Ukraine

The definite article of neuter countries is only used when there is an adjective, e.g. you have to say "ich bin in Österreich", not "ich bin im Österreich", but you say "ich bin im schönen Österreich". The definite article of masculine and feminine countries is always used, e.g. "ich bin in der Schweiz", "ich bin in der schönen Schweiz", "ich bin im Senegal".

Afrika, Amerika, Asien, Europa and Ozeanien are neuter. Arktis and Antarktis are feminine.

Words With Certain Endings[edit]

Words with the diminutive endings -lein and -chen are always neuter:
  das Mädchen (girl), das Häuschen (little house), das Büchlein (little book)
Words with the ending -tum are often neuter.

Examples: Judentum, Heldentum, Rittertum, Rowdytum, Schrifttum, Sklaventum, Spießertum, Volkstum, Wachstum, Altertum, Brauchtum, Bürgertum, Christentum, Eigentum, Fürstentum, Heiligtum
Exceptions: der Reichtum, der Irrtum

Words with these endings are often neuter:
ending -um if the word has Latin origin: das Zentrum, das Museum, Studium, Stadium, Kriterium, Maximum, Minimum, Optimum, Jubiläum, Evangelium, Gymnasium, Ministerium, Album, Opium, Podium, Serum, Vakuum, Visum, Aquarium, Terrarium, Bakterium, Auditorium, Publikum, Forum, Datum, Impressum, Individuum, Ultimatum
Exceptions: der Konsum

ending -ment: das Parlament (parliament), das Fundament (base, basis), das Element (element), Dokument, Experiment, Instrument, Kompliment, Medikament, Temperament, Abonnement, Management, Fragment, Monument, Ornament, Pergament, Segment, Testament, Argument, Pigment, Sortiment, Apartment, Equipment, Exkrement, Reglement, Sakrament, Statement
Exceptions: der Zement, der Konsument
Words that end with -em and are stressed on the last syllable are often neuter.

Examples:
Problem, Theorem, System, Extrem, Emblem, Ekzem, Diadem, Phonem, Ödem
Also these words with the stress on the first syllable are neuter:
Modem, Totem, Tandem, Requiem
But these words with the stress on the first syllable are masculine: Atem, Harem, Moslem

Foreign words that end with -ett and are stressed on the last syllable are often neuter.

Examples:
Tablett, Etikett, Korsett, Parkett, Kabarett, Ballett

Words that end with -ma are often neuter.

Examples:
Thema, Trauma, Drama, Dilemma, Prisma, Schema, Koma, Klima, Komma, Karma, Lama, Dogma, Paradigma, Charisma, Magma, Panorama, Plasma, Stigma, Aroma

Exceptions:
feminine: Firma
masculine: Puma

Words that end with -om or -ym  are often neuter.

Examples:
Syndrom, Palindrom, Phantom, Polynom, Binom, Monom, Atom, Axiom, Genom, Symptom, Diplom, Kondom, Chromosom, Metronom; Enzym, Pseudonym, Synonym, Akronym

Foreign words from English with the ending -ing are usually neuter.

Examples (neuter): Training, Stalking, Jogging, Mobbing, Lobbying, Marketing, Recycling
Exceptions:
feminine: Holding

Words that end with -skop, -fon, -phon or -gramm are usually neuter.

Examples: Mikroskop, Teleskop, Periskop, Kaleidoskop, Horoskop, Telefon, Mikrophon, Megaphon, Grammophon, Programm, Diagramm, Parallelogramm, Kilogramm, Autogramm, Hologramm, Telegramm

Words With Certain Beginnings[edit]

Nouns that begin with the unstressed syllable Ge- and do not mean a person are often neuter.

Examples: Gedicht (poem), Gericht (court, dish), Gesicht (face), Gewicht (weight), Geheimnis (secret), Gebirge (mountains), Geschirr (dishes), Gedächtnis (memory), Gebiet, Gespenst, Gewissen, Gesetz (law), Getränk (drink), Gewand, Gewitter (thunderstorm), Geschenk (present), Gespräch (talk), Gebäude (building), Gehäuse (case), Gemüse (vegetable), Geschäft (shop), Getreide, Gerücht (rumor), Gewerbe, Gefühl (feeling), Gebiss, Gesindel, Gerangel, Gelaber, Gerät, Getue, Gemälde (painting), Gewehr, Gebet (prayer), Gesuch, Gelenk, Geweih, Gewinde, Gehirn (brain), Geschrei, Gebäck, Gewirr, Gebell, Gewürz, Gewühl, Gewölbe, Gewieher, Gejaule, Gewässer, Gewebe, Gewächs, Gestrüpp, Gestüt, Gestein, Gestell, Gestirn, Getöse, Geschlecht, Geschoss, Geschoß, Geschütz, Geschwader, Geschick, Geschwür, Gespür, Geschehen, Gesäß, Gerede, Gerippe, Geröll, Gerüst, Gerinnsel, Gerümpel, Gelände, Gelächter, Gemäuer, Gelage, Gemenge, Gemetzel, Gemüt, Genick, Geräusch, Gepäck, Gefäß, Geschöpf, Geschwätz

Exceptions:
masculine: Gedanke (thought), Genuss (enjoyment), Geschmack (taste), Gewinn (prize, profit), Geruch (smell), Gestank (stink), Gebrauch (use), Gesang (singing), Gefallen (favor)
feminine: Gewalt (violence), Gestalt, Geschichte (story, history), Gemeinde, Gefahr (danger), Geduld (patience), Gewähr, Gebühr, Geburt (birth), Gebärde

Nouns Derived From Infinitives[edit]

Verbs used as noun (roughly corresponding to the gerund) are neuter:
das Rauchen (Smoking), das Lesen (Reading)

Masculine or Neuter[edit]

Words that end with a double consonant, -ck, -tz or  are usually masculine or neuter if they do not end with -ness.

Exceptions (feminine): Nuss, Null, Nachtigall, Hatz, Hetz, Geiß, Maß (different meaning than das Maß)
Examples (masculine): Pass, Biss, Sinn, Damm, Zoll, Stoff, Griff, Tipp, Müll, Witz, Schluck, Rock, Ritt, Tritt, Kuss, Fluss, Schluss, Schuss, Schlamm, Gruß, Fuß, Fraß, Scheiß, Stoß, Schoß, Fleiß, Grieß, Kloß, Löss/Löß, Ruß, Spaß, Spieß, Schweiß, Strauß
Examples (neuter): Ass, Fass, Kinn, Fell, Schiff, Kaff, Netz, Deck, Glück, Bett, Brett, Lamm, Schloss, Maß, Floß, Gefäß, Gesäß, Edelweiß, Geschoß/Geschoss

Words that end with -kt are usually masculine or neuter.

Examples (masculine): Prospekt, Sekt, Takt, Pakt, Trakt, Markt, Punkt, Aspekt, Defekt, Effekt, Infekt, Affekt, Dialekt, Infarkt, Kontakt, Akt, Respekt, Instinkt, Konflikt, Kontrakt, Architekt, Intellekt, Katarakt
Examples (neuter): Projekt, Produkt, Objekt, Subjekt, Edikt, Delikt, Insekt, Relikt, Konfekt, Verdikt, Artefakt, Konstrukt, Perfekt
Examples (masculine and neuter): Fakt, Extrakt, Aquädukt, Viadukt
Exceptions (feminine): Katarakt (different meaning than der Katarakt)

Words that end with -o are usually neuter or masculine.

Examples (neuter):
Auto, Video, Kino, Kilo, Büro, Sakko, Solo, Ego, Deo, Bistro, Manko, Banjo, Tempo, Motto, Fresko, Embargo, Esperanto, Studio, Ghetto, Foto, Echo, Piano, Cello, Kasino, Klo, Duo, Trio, Ufo, Konto, Go, Judo, Logo, Veto, Karo, Polo, Lasso, Lotto, Porto, Rodeo, Bingo, Intro, Credo/Kredo, Mikro, Makro, Rollo, Rondo, Risiko, Rokoko, Cabrio, Eldorado, Fiasko, Cembalo, Inferno, Placebo, Shampoo, Inkasso, Kommando, Libretto, Neutrino, Szenario, Portfolio, Abo, Intermezzo, Montenegro, Marokko, Monaco, Mexiko, Memo

Examples (masculine):
Euro, Tango, Fango, Espresso, Embryo, Torpedo, Salto, Po, Kakao, Zoo, Pluto, Saldo, Torso, Korso, Gecko, Ginkgo, Porno, Macho, Tacho, Torero, Sombrero, Trafo, Bolero, Dynamo, Eskimo, Gigolo, Kimono, Pharao, Poncho, Oregano, Tornado, Calypso, Schirokko, Flamenco, Flamingo, Cappuccino, Mungo, Dingo, Gusto

Examples (neuter and masculine): Radio, Silo, Storno, Tattoo, Techno, Indigo, Kosovo

Exceptions (feminine): Demo, Disko, Limo, Info (because they are short for die Demonstration, die Diskothek, die Limonade/Limousine, die Information); Uno/UNO, NATO, NGO (because the O stands for die Organisation); Mango, Avocado, Libido

Neuter or Feminine[edit]

Words with the ending -nis are usually neuter or feminine.

Examples (neuter): Zeugnis, Hindernis, Bekenntnis, Ereignis, Geheimnis, Gefängnis, Gedächtnis, Erlebnis, Ärgernis, Bildnis, Hemmnis, Bündnis, Wagnis, Verzeichnis, Bedürfnis, Begräbnis, Besäufnis, Erzeugnis, Geständnis, Verhältnis, Zerwürfnis, Ergebnis, Verständnis
Examples (feminine): Wildnis, Kenntnis, Befugnis, Ödnis, Fäulnis, Erlaubnis, Bitternis, Bedrängnis, Finsternis

Rivers[edit]

Rivers in Europe and Russia are usually feminine or masculine. Other rivers are usually masculine.

Examples (feminine, Europe/Russia): Donau, Wolga, Seine, Themse, Elbe, Oder, Weichsel, Loire, Maas, Weser, Moldau, Isar
Examples (masculine, Europe/Russia): Rhein, Main, Po, Tiber, Don, Dnjepr, Tajo, Ebro, Inn, Neckar
Examples (masculine, not Europe/Russia): Nil, Amazonas, Mississippi, Rio Grande, Ganges, Jangtsekiang, Kongo, Yukon River, Orinoco, Euphrat, Tigris

Chemical Elements[edit]

The chemical elements with the ending -stoff are masculine (because of der Stoff): Wasserstoff, Sauerstoff, Stickstoff, Kohlenstoff.
The others are usually neuter: Gold, Silber, Eisen, Kupfer, Aluminium, Platin, Helium, Neon, Chlor, ...
Exceptions: der Schwefel, der Phosphor

Tips For Learning[edit]

As most German articles can not be attributed to certain rule, it is best to always learn the article when learning the noun. You may think of the article as necessary information belonging to every noun. You avoid a lot of looking-up-time that way.

Looking Up Gender in Dictionaries[edit]

Most dictionaries do not give the article. Instead, you find different sets of abbreviations which tell you to which class the noun in question belongs.

The most common sets of abbreviations are:

r, e, and s.
  r: der, masculine; 
  e: die, feminine; 
  s: das, neuter.
The abbreviations of this type are usually given before the noun.
m., f., and n.. 
m.: masculine; f.: feminine; n.: neuter. The abbreviations of this type are usually given after the noun.
m., w., and s.. 
m.: männlich, masculine; w.: weiblich, feminine; s.: sächlich, neuter. The abbreviations of this type are usually given after the noun.

Contents[edit]


Grammar

75%.svg Adjectives and Adverbs50%.svg Alphabet25%.svg Cases75%.svg Nouns50%.svg Prepositions and Postpositions50%.svg Pronouns75%.svg Sentences75%.svg Verbs

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German Lessons: 50%.svg Level I50%.svg Level II25%.svg Level III00%.svg Level IV00%.svg Level V

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