German Definite and Indefinite Articles


Let’s look at what happens when the definite article is still around. The Fluent in 3 Months guide to German articles has a great summary of noun cases in German. By the time you’re finished this article, you’ll know how to choose the right German adjective ending every time.

In fact, below I’ll show you shouldn’t evDer die das chart think about definite and indefinite articles. Note the ein-word endings are the same as the der/das/die endings, except in the masculine and neuter nominative and the neuter accusative, where the ein-words have no ending. The relative pronouns in German are ‘der, die, das, and welcher’. The genitive case of other nouns of masculine or neuter gender is formed by adding either -s or -es, e.g. das Bild, des Bildes. As we saw earlier , an adjective that precedes a noun must have an ending–at least an -e. Also, notice that the endings shown here in the ACCUSATIVE case are identical to those in the NOMINATIVE case — with the sole exception of themasculinegender (der/den).

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When a noun is formed from several other nouns combined into one word, the last noun in the word determines the gender of the entire word. Some verbs in English and German can be either transitive or intransitive, but the key is to remember that if you have a direct object, you’ll have the accusative case in German. On the other hand, if you do this with an intransitive verb, such as “to sleep,” “to die” or “to wait,” no direct object is needed. The indirect object is usually the receiver of the direct object . In the first example above, the driver got the ticket.

German Adjective Endings: Let’s Review the Base

The simply style but deep teaching here just cleared my doubts and fears. You will find the reasoning behind this seemingly senseless and illogical feature of the German language in the following section. You can pretty much forget about thegenitive case. BUT there are some clever shortcuts that can save you a lot of time. Determiners are all sorts of little words — like some, many, a few, every, not any, this, and that — that tell us how many or which one. The good news is that all these charts have much more in common than not.

Memorizing hundreds of individual German nouns is enough work already — but to try making a random association between each one and either der, die or das? Note how the order of the words may change, but as long as you have the proper accusative articles, the meaning remains clear. But unlike in English, German adjectives are almost never capitalised, even when they refer to a proper noun. A phrase like “the German language” would be die deutsche Sprache in German.

Expand your German vocabulary

Feminine and plural nouns do not add an ending in the genitive. The feminine genitive (der/einer) is identical to the feminine dative. The one-word genitive article usually translates as two words (“of the” or “of a/an”) in English.

relative pronoun

Adjectives are really useful for making descriptive, rich sentences in German. They work a little bit differently to English adjectives, because the ending changes based on certain rules. I learned more about gender, articles and nouns from this article than I had learned from several other sources.

thoughts on “German Definite Articles Der, Die, Das: Everything You Need to Know about Definite Articles in German”

The third-person pronouns follow the rule that only the masculine gender shows any change in the accusative case. In German, neither the neuteresnor femininesiechanges. But in the dative case, all of the pronouns take on uniquely dative forms. The dative case is a vital element of communicating in German.

The term nominative comes from Latin and means to name (think of “nominate”). Amusingly, der Werfall translates literally as “the who case.” Here, the child and the patient are receiving the action, so ‘das’ and ‘der’ change to ‘dem’. There can be a lot of different parts to remember, so let’s try to make it easy for you. The preceding article does not fully indicate the case, gender, and number of the noun. German adjective endings might look confusing, but there are better and worse ways to get them into your head.

Often, the dative can be identified by adding a “to” in the translation, such as “the policeman gives the tickettothe driver.” The Dative case is used to identify the indirect object of the sentence. Weak adjective declension is used when the article itself clearly indicates case, gender, and number. Hoch drops the “c” and adjectives ending in -el or -er drop their final “e” when they take adjective endings.

Every noun is categorised as either masculine (männlich), feminine or neutral (sächlich). Indefinite articles is “grammar-speak” for ‘a’ — all the different ways of saying ‘a’ in German. The most frequent German nouns, with gender and plural forms.

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Das will remain the same in the Accusative case, but it will change to dem as the indirect object , and dessen if used as the word ‘whose’ . As a relative pronoun, die changes from der to deren, depending on the case. Die is also used for plural nouns, so for example, a masculine noun can be used with die when there’s more than one.

Lingolia Plus German

In sentence 2, the German wordgrauhas an -eending and the English word “gray” has no ending. The most difficult part of learning the German language is the articles or rather the gender of each noun. The gender of each noun in German has no simple rule. For example das Mädchen, a young girl is neutral while der Junge, a young boy is male. My guide on the nominative case will introduce you to all the terms & concepts you need to know in order to use der die das correctly. Pronouns and possessive articles This exercise includes the above mnemonic hints to help you learn these words; where there is such a hint, you can click on “Hilfe” to see it.

  • You can tell that a noun is in the genitive case by the article, which changes todes/eines order/einer.
  • In fact, even native speakers can get in trouble with that when there are words like “Nutella”, for which you can use more than one article.
  • Once you notice the parallel and the agreement of the lettersr,e,swithder,die,das, it becomes less complicated than it may seem at first.
  • KunstFill in the adjective endings in short descriptions of some famous artworks by German-speaking artists.
  • Give word-learning assignments to your stundents or children.
  • For masculine or neuter nouns, onlyeinis correct.

The indefinite article (“a” or “an” in English) iseinoreinein German. Ein basically means “one” and like the definite article, it indicates the gender of the noun it goes with . For masculine or neuter nouns, onlyeinis correct. It is also reflected in the use of possessive adjectives such assein ormein , which are also called “ein-words.” As a fusional language, German marks nouns, pronouns, articles, and adjectives to distinguish case, number, and gender. For example, all German adjectives have several different forms.

Plural Articles in German

You can have a pretty decent and grammatically correct conversation in German without ever using the genitive case. Try the first one of the practice exercisesabove to practice recognizing determiners. IF YOU GET A QUESTION WRONG, KEEP TRYING UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT. THE PROGRAM WILL ONLY CALCULATE YOUR SCORE IF YOU HAVE ANSWERED ALL THE QUESTIONS. Incorrect guesses will reduce your score. When you are finished, click “Submit” if you are satisfied with your score. Remember you need a score of at least 80% in order to get a “check” for this assignment. Become well-versed in at least the nominative, accusative, and dative cases .

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In English, this is expressed by the possessive “of” or an apostrophe with an “s” (‘s). This case is probably the easiest one to get your head around because the noun is in place of the subject. List “I want to go to that school where I learned how to write.” ‘Where’ describes ‘the school’. When an article is present, however, the adjective doesn’t need to do as much work. The only one that doesn’t follow the nice, logical pattern is des, which becomes -en.

Unfortunately, the majority of nouns in German do not have a naturally occurring biological gender. But this doesn’t mean that you have to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room and cry. DeterminersDetermine whether or not the adjectives in these statements about determined people are preceded by determiners. Have you spotted the similarities between German case declensions and certain features of English?

The following shows the adjective endings for theaccusativecase with definite articles and the indefinite articles . The following chart shows the adjective endings for thenominativecase with the definite articles and the indefinite articles . Two German pronouns use the same form in both the accusative and the dative .

When the adjective is used with anein-word (einen,dein,keine, etc.), the accusative adjective ending must reflect the gender and case of the noun that follows. The adjective endings -en, -e, and -escorrespond to the articlesden,die, anddasrespectively (masc., fem., and neuter). Once you notice the parallel and the agreement of the lettersn,e,swithden,die,das, it makes the process a little clearer. This means that learning both sets of German articles is easier than it might initially have looked. Once you’ve learned the definite articles, it’s easy to remember the indefinite articles.

relative pronouns

This is where we write about language learning as well as post useful resources. The following table shows some of the suffixes that indicate a specific gender. If you answered thatgrauin the first sentence has no ending andgrauin the second sentence does have an ending, you’re right! In grammatical terms, adding endings to words is called “inflection” or “declination.” When we put endings on words, we are “inflecting” or “declining” them. I already mentioned the obvious similarity between the German genitive and the English “Saxon genitive”. Compare, for example, des Hundes and des Boots with “the hound’s” and “the boat’s”.

Consider the article an inseparable part of the word itself. It’s one of the little nuances of the German language that has learners wanting to pull their hair out and potential learners giving up early in the game. And learning how to do this is best done while learning the German case system.

When constructing a sentence which uses relative pronouns, the conjugated verb moves to the end of the sentence or last spot in the relative clause. But, when used as a relative pronoun, der can change from den to dem to dessen, depending on the case in which it’s used. There are some common adjective nouns referring to people, which are listed below. In addition, abstractions such as “the good” or “the new” can be formed from adjectives. The indefinite articles (e.g. ein, eine, etc.) are different ways of saying ‘a’ in German. So, please please please forget all about definite and indefinite articles.

Most of the German personal pronouns have different forms in each of the four cases, but it can be helpful to observe that not all change. (This is similar to the English “you,” which remains the same whether it’s a subject or object, singular or plural). Like with anything in life, learning articles takes a lot of patience and time. There are no quick fixes and it will not come to you overnight, but gradually and with experience. The more you expose yourself to the German language, the easier it will be for you. Clozemaster is great for this type of immersion.

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