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Grammar

Nouns
Nouns have a gender (grammatical gender):
der Tag (the day) ein Maskulinum (masculine)
die Woche (the week) ein Femininum (feminine)
das Jahr (the year) ein Neutrum (neuter)

The gender is most clearly defined by the definite article (accompanying word of the noun): der die das, but it
is not so clear when looking at the indefinite article: ein Tag eine Woche ein Jahr.
Most nouns can be both singular and plural. The plural definite article for all nouns is always die.
der Tag die Tage, die Woche die Wochen, das Jahr die Jahre

A plural indefinite article does not exist:


ein Tag Tage, eine Woche Wochen, ein Jahr Jahre
Das waren schne Tage/Wochen/Jahre.

Singular nouns are used in the gender of the three personal pronouns of the third person singular, plural nouns
always use the third person plural:
der/ein Tag er, die/eine Woche sie, das/ein Jahr es
(die) Tage sie, (die) Wochen sie, (die) Jahre sie

Nouns are declined (declension); that means they are put in different cases. The article usually gets an
additional ending; the singular noun may get one in the genitive.
Singular
Masculine

Feminine

Neuter

Nominative

(Wer?/Was?)

der/ein Tag

die/eine Woche

das/ein Jahr

Accusative

(Wen?/Was?)

den/einen Tag

die/eine Woche

das/ein Jahr

Dative

(Wem?)

dem/einem Tag

der/einer Woche

dem/einem Jahr

Genitive

(Wessen?)

des/eines Tages

der/einer Woche

des/eines Jahr(e)s

Genitive masculine and neuter singular nouns usually receive the ending -s or -es (-es is always added to
nouns ending in -s, -ss, -, -x, -tsch, -z, and often to one syllable nouns or nouns with -sch and -st).
Some masculine nouns require an -n or -en ending in the accusative, dative and genitive. Only very few nouns
(masculine, neuter) require the ending -ns or -ens in the genitive.
Nominativ

der/ein Lwe

der/ein Student

der/ein Name

das/ein Herz

Accusative

den/einen Lwen

den/einen Studenten

den/einen Namen

das/ein Herz

Dative

dem/einem Lwen

dem/einem Studenten

dem/einem Namen

dem/einem Herz(en)

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Grammar

Genitive

des/eines Lwen

des/eines Studenten

des/eines Namens

des/eines Herzens

Nominative

die Wochen

die Autos

die Tage

Accusative

die Wochen

die Autos

die Tage

die Huser

Dative

den Wochen

den Autos

den Tagen

den Husern

Genitive

der Wochen

der Autos

der Tage

der Huser

Plural

die Huser

Plural nouns add


the ending -n (die Woche die Wochen), or
the ending -en (das Bett die Betten), or
the ending -s (das Auto die Autos)
in each of the four cases. The definite article takes on different forms.

However,
the ending -e (der Tag - die Tage), also with an umlaut (der Stuhl - die Sthle),
the ending -er (das Feld - die Felder), also with an umlaut (das Haus - die Huser) and
nouns without an ending (der Kater - die Kater), also with an umlaut (der Vater - die Vter)
only occur in the nominative, accusative and genitive. The dative of these nouns adds an additional -n ending.
The genitive singular and the nominative plural form of nouns are listed in most good dictionaries.

The nominative noun functions as the subject of the sentence (Der Mantel ist b lau.) or a part of the predicate
(Das ist ein Mantel.). The accusative and the dative nouns function as the object of the sentence after many
verbs (Sie hat/trgt einen Mantel. Wir hren dir zu.) Prepositions may require use of the accusative, dative and
genitive.

The negation of the indefinite article ein/eine/ein is the negative article kein/keine/kein. It takes on the same
form as ein, e.g.:
Nominative Singular: Das ist eine/keine Hose.
Akkusative Singular: Sie trgt einen/keinen Rock.

The nominative and accusative plural is keine, e.g.:


Dort sind keine Autos. Ich sehe keine Autos.

Country Names and Articles


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Grammar

German nouns have a grammatical gender. They are


masculine (der Tag),
feminine (die Woche), or
neuter (das Jahr).

The article can take on different forms in German because German has a case system.
Der, den, dem or des can come before masculine nouns;
die or der can come before feminine nouns; and
das, dem, or des can come before neuter nouns.

You will learn everything about grammatical gender and cases in the course of this program.

In some cases, der can refer to a feminine noun, e.g.


when a preposition is in front of the noun (in der Schweiz) or
when two nouns are combined with the meaning of (die Hauptstadt der Schweiz).
Most country names are neuter and are used without articles (Deutschland, sterreich, Frankreich). Some are
feminine (die Schweiz, die Trkei), masculine (der Iran) or plural (die USA). These country names are used with
a definite article.

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