September 2016

Plural in German

German language courses

Plural in German

For English speakers, the plural in German is exasperating. We are happy to just add a simple “–s”. In German it’s much more complicated. Get into fighting mode; we think you’ll need to. Here’s our explanation:

Summary of the most common plurals

Because this subject is pretty complicated, we’ve made a small table with the most common suffixes for making the plural depending on the gender: Some nouns do not have a plural form in German:
  • Names of countries, rivers, cities:
    Example Meaning
    die Türkei Turkey
    die Wolga the Volga
    München Munich
  • Abstract concepts:
    Example Meaning
    die Zweisprachigkeit bilingualism
    die Abgespanntheit exhaustion
    die Zuvorkommenheit courtesy
    die Wut rage

General rules that are applicable to all genders

Constructing the plural with “-s”

Just like in English it’s normal to construct the plural with the ending “–s”. In German, however, only a few adopted foreign words have this plural.
Noun Plural Meaning
die Kamara die Kamaras camera
der Gorilla die Gorillas gorilla
das Auto die Autos car

The plural for feminine nouns

The construction of the plural for feminine nouns is the easiest in German: The possibilities are: The large majority of feminine nouns that do not end in “-e” make their plural with “-en”:Adding “-en”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Datei die Dateien file
die Wohnung die Wohnungen apartment
die Fabrik die Fabriken factory
The following endings which guarantee that the noun is feminine should be emphasized: “-ei”, “-ung”, “-heit”, “-keit”, “-ion”, “-schaft”, “-ik”, “-eur”, “-enz”, “-tät”, “-itis”, “-sis”.lamp

Adding “-n”

If a feminine noun ends in “-e”, its plural is always constructed with “-n” (Note: Not all nouns ending with “-e” are feminine. For example: der Käse)
Noun Plural Meaning
die Lampe die Lampen lamp
die Fantasie die Fantasien fantasy
die Narzisse die Narzissen narcissus
The following endings guarantee that the noun is feminine and their plural is with “-n” : -ie , -ade, -age, -ere, -ine, -isse, -ive, -se,

Adding “-nen”

The feminine nouns that end in “-in” make their plural with “-nen”.
Noun Plural Meaning
die Chefin die Chefinnen boss

Adding [Umlaut] + “-e”

A few feminine nouns add [Umlaut] + “-e”.
Noun Plural Meaning
die Kraft die Kräfte force
die Angst die Ängste fear

Plural: “-a” “-en”

Some words not from German origin ending in “-a” make their plural with “-en”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Firma die Firmen company
die Skala die Skalen scale

Plural: “-sis” “-sen”

Nouns ending in “-sis” construct their plural with “-sen”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Analysis die Analysen analysis

Plural: “-xis” “-xien”

The plural for nouns ending with “-xis” are constructed with “-xien”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Galaxis die Galaxien galaxy

Plural: “-itis” “-iden”

The feminine nouns ending with “-itis” construct their plural with -den
Noun Plural Meaning
die Cellulitis die Cellulitiden cellulitis

Plural: “-nis” “-nisse”

Feminine nouns ending in “-nis” construct their plural by adding the ending “-se”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Befugnis die Befugnisse authorization

Plural: “-aus” “-äuse”

Feminine nouns ending with “-aus” add an Umlaut over the “a” and add the ending “e”. Mouse
Noun Plural Meaning
die Maus die Mäuse mouse

Adding [Umlaut]

There are two feminine nouns that construct their plural with Umlaut: “Mutter” and “Tochter”.
Noun Plural Meaning
die Mutter die Mütter mother
die Tochter die Töchter daughter

Adding [Umlaut] + “-en”

A plural form that is not very common is the [Umlaut] + “–en” that practically is used only with the word “Werkstatt”
Noun Plural Meaning
die Werkstatt die Werkstätten workshop

Plural for masculine nouns

Many masculine nouns form their plural with “-e”.
The endings that guarantee the use of this plural are:
“-ich”, “-ig”, “-ling”, “-är” (only those coming from French)
and “-eur”.Adding “-e”
Noun Plural Meaning
der Teppich die Teppiche carpet
der König die Könige king
der Schmetterling die Schmetterlinge butterfly
der Veterinär die Veterinäre veterinarian
der Friseur die Friseure barber

Adding [Umlaut] + “-e”

Some nouns form the plural with [Umlaut] + “-e”. We emphasize the following:
Noun Plural Meaning
der Platz die Plätze seat
der Kuss die Küsse kiss
der Hals die Hälse neck
der Arzt die Ärzte doctor
der Fluss die Flüsse river

Not adding any ending

Many masculine nouns ending with “-er” and “-el” do not add any ending.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Schüler die Schüler student
der Würfel die Würfel dice

Adding [Umlaut]

Many masculine nouns ending with “-er” and “-el” add just an Umlaut.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Vater die Väter father
der Mantel die Mäntel overcoat

Adding “-n” [according to the N-Deklination]

Many masculine nouns ending with “-e” are declined according the “N-Deklination”.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Kunde die Kunden
Accusative den Kunden die Kunden
Dative dem Kunden den Kunden
Genitive des Kunden der Kunden
Examples of nouns that follow the “N-Deklination”:
Noun Plural Meaning
der Name die Namen name
der Buchstabe die Buchstaben letter
There are many exceptions that do not follow the “N-Deklination” such as:
Noun Plural Meaning
der Käse die Käse cheese
der See die Seen lake
Advice: If you have to take a German test, learn the gender and plural of “der Käse” as it’s one of professors’ favorite words.

Adding “-en” [according to the N-Deklination]

Words with a Greek or Latin ending in “-at”, “-ant”, “-ent” and “–ist” are declined according to the “N-Deklination”.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Pianist die Pianisten
Accusative den Pianisten die Pianisten
Dative dem Pianisten den Pianisten
Genitive des Pianisten der Pianisten
Examples of nouns that follow the “N-Deklination”:
Noun Plural Meaning
der Student die Studenten student
der Soldat die Soldaten soldier
der Liferant die Liferanten supplier
der Violinist die Violinisten violinist

Adding “-en” [no “N-Deklination”]

Although it is not very common, there are also nouns that construct the plural with “-en” without “N-Deklination”.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Staat die Staaten state
der Doktor die Doktoren doctor

Adding “-er”

Very few masculine nouns construct the plural with “-er”. It is a plural construction that is much more common with neuter nouns.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Leib die Leiber body

Adding [Umlaut] + “-er”

A few masculine nouns’ plural form is made with [Umlaut] + “-er”.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Mann die Männer man
der Gott die Götter God

Adding “-ten”

One the rarest masculine nouns is constructed with the suffix “-ten”
Noun Plural Meaning
der Anbau die Anbauten annex

Plural: “-us” -> “-usse”

Most of the masculine nouns ending with “-us” add “-se”, meaning that an extra –s is added.
Noun Plural Meaning
der Zirkus die Zirkusse circus
der Bus die Busse bus

Plural: “-us” -> “-i”

There are a few masculine nouns that come from Latin and end with “us”, forming the plural with “i”
Noun Plural Meaning
der Modus die Modi mode
der Ficus die Fici ficus

The plural for neuter nouns

Adding “-e”

The most common plural form for neuter nouns is constructed with the ending “-e”
Noun Plural Meaning
das Alphabet die Alphabete alphabet
das Protokoll die Protokolle record

No ending added

Almost all of the neuter nouns ending with “-er” or “-el” or “-en”.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Leder die Leder leather
das Kabel die Kabel cable
das Abkommen die Abkommen agreement

Adding “-er”

Many neuter nouns construct the plural with “-er”.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Bild die Bilder picture
das Lied die Lieder song

Adding [Umlaut] + “-er”

The plural [Umlaut] + “-er” is very common with neuter nouns.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Fahrrad die Fahrräder bicycle
das Blatt die Blätter leaf
das Haus die Häuser home

Adding “-en”

A few neuter nouns add “-en” to construct the plural.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Bett die Betten bed
das Verb die Verben verb

Adding “-ien”

The plural formed with the suffix “-ien” is not very common.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Adverb die Adverbien the adverb
das Prinzip die Prinzipien the principle

Plural “-nis” “-nisse”

For nouns ending with “-nis”, a suffix, “-se”, is added (another –s is added).
Noun Plural Meaning
das Ergebnis die Ergebnisse result
das Geheimnis die Geheimnisse secret

Plural “-um” “-a”

A few nouns originating from Latin ending with “-um” construct their plural with “-a”.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Antibiotikum die Antibiotika antibiotic
das Analgetikum die Analgetika analgesic

Plural “-um” “-en”

Most nouns originating from Latin ending with “-um” construct their plural with “-en”.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Aquarium die Aquarien aquarium
das Ministerium die Ministerien ministry

Plural “-o” “-en”

Another rare plural form is that of the neuter nouns ending in “-o”.
Noun Plural Meaning
das Bankkonto die Bankkonten bank account

Relative Clauses in German

Spoken German

Relative Clauses in German

The formation of “Relativsätze” explained in English, Relative pronouns “deren” and “dessen”. Relative clauses are for adding information about a noun.

Du bist der Mann, den ich liebe You are the man that I love

You should have the following in mind about relative clauses in German: – the conjugated verb is placed at the end of the relative clause. – sometimes a comma is placed in front of the relative pronoun.

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are shown in this table:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der die das die
Accusative den die das die
Dative dem der dem denen
Genitive dessen deren dessen deren
This table is not very hard to learn because it is very similar to the one with the definite articles. The only thing that is different is the genitive and the dative plural. Surely you are asking yourself, why so many? And, how do I know which one to choose? We’ll explain that next.

Relative Pronoun Gender

The relative pronoun gender is defined by the gender of the noun that it complements. An example:

Die Frau, die das Auto hat, ist reich The woman that has the car is rich

As you see in the previous example, “Frau” is a feminine noun so the relative pronoun that follows it has to be feminine as well (die).

Types of Relative Clauses

Relative clauses can be nominative, accusative, dative or genitive. Let’s look at them all in detail because this is very important:


The relative pronoun acts as a subject and the conjugated verb is placed at the end of the relative clause. Remember: the verb has to be conjugated in association with the relative pronoun (make sure if it is singular or plural).

Das Kind, das dort spielt, wohnt in der Schweiz The child that is playing there lives in Switzerland

Die Kinder, die dort spielen, wohnen in der Schweiz The children that are playing there live in Switzerland


When the relative pronoun is accusative, the pronoun is placed in the first position and therefore the subject is moved to the second position and, as always, the conjugated verb goes to the end of the relative clause:

Der Roman, den ich lesen will, ist “El Quijote” The novel that I want to read is “El Quijote”

Das Buch, das ich lesen will, ist “El Quijote” The book that I want to read is “El Quijote”


The dative and accusative work the same with the exception of the relative pronoun. This time, however, we’ve provided you with an example that is a bit more difficult. Notice that the relative pronoun might be accompanied by a preposition as well:

Der Kunde, mit dem ich gerade gesprochen habe, ist Deutscher The client that I just spoke to is German (most likely a male customer but not definitively)

Die Kundin, mit der ich gerade gesprochen habe, ist Deutsche The (female) client that I just spoke to is German


The relative pronouns “deren” and “dessen” are translated as “whose”, its or their:

Die Nachbarin, deren Kind in meiner Klasse war, ist krank The neighbor whose child was in my class is sick

Der Nachbar, dessen Kind in meiner Klasse war, ist krank The neighbor whose child was in my class is sick


German Gender:Neutral

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Gender of Neuter Nouns in German

The most important nouns endings that mark the neuter gender are: -chen, -lein, -ett , -ium ,-ment , -tum , -eau Keep in mind that there are exceptions.

Gender of nouns ending with “-chen” (diminutives)

– How often this ending is seen: Often – All diminutives ending with “-chen” are neuter. – No ending is added to make the plural (das Mädchen ➜ die Mädchen) Examples:
Example Meaning
das Mädchen girl
das Pfännchen small frying pan
das Maskottchen mascot
das Märchen fairytale
das Päckchen small package
Nouns that are not diminutive do not necessarily have to be neuter: der Drachen (dragon), der Kuchen(cake), der Knochen (bone), der Rochen (ray [zoo.]), der Rachen (throat)

Gender of nouns ending with “-lein”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – No ending is added to make the plural (das Häuslein ➜ die Häuslein) -All diminutives ending with “-lein” are neuter little bird Examples:
Example Meaning
das Häuslein ittle house
das Vöglein little bird
das Bächlein brooklet
das Büchlein booklet

Gender of nouns ending with “-ett”

– How often this ending is seen: Often – The plural can be formed with “-en” (das Bett ➜ die Betten) or with “-er” (das Brett ➜ die Bretter”) or with “-e” (das Amulett ➜ die Amulette) bed Examples:
Example Meaning
das Bett bed
das Ballett the ballet
das Büfett the buffet
das Omelett the omelet
das Brett the board
das Bankett the banquet

Gender of nouns ending with “-ium”

– Many come from Latin – How often this ending is seen: Often – The plural is formed with the structure: “-ium “-ien” (das Ministerium die Ministerien) observatory Examples:
Example Meaning
das Observatorium the observatory
das Ministerium the ministry
das Laboratorium the laboratory
das Bakterium the bacteria
das Aquarium the aquarium
das Aluminium the aluminum
das Silicium the silicon

Gender of nouns ending with “-ment”

– How often this ending is seen: average – The plural is formed with “-e” for words that are from German “-e” (das Medikament die Medikamente) but with “-s” for foreign words (das Apartment die Apartments)medication Examples:
Example Meaning
das Medikament the medication
das Testament the will
das Element the element
das Instrument the instrument
das Fragment the fragment
Exceptions: der Moment (the moment), der Konsument (the consumer)

Gender of nouns ending with “-tum”

– Words coming from Latin – The u’s pronunciation is short – How often this ending is seen: Average – The plural is almost always made with the structure: “-tum “-ten” (das Datum die Daten)growth Examples:
Example Meaning
das Datum date
das Wachstum growth
das Ultimatum ultimatum
das Heiligtum relic [plural: die Heiligtümer]
das Votum vote
Exceptions (For German words, the u’s pronunciation is long): der Irrtum (the error), der Reichtum (the wealth)

Gender of nouns ending with “-eau”

– Words coming from French – How often this ending is seen: Seldom – The plural is formed with “-s” (das Niveau ➜ die Niveaus) Examples:
  • das Niveau (level)
  • das Plateau (plateau)

German Gender:Feminine

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German Feminine Noun Gender

There are three genders in German: Masculine, feminine and neuter. Usually, the gender of a noun is determined by its ending. The endings for the most important feminine nouns are:
Frequency Ending
Very common -ei -ung -in
-heit -keit -ion
Common -ie -schaft -elle
-ik -ur -ade
Rare -age, -ette -enz
-ere -ine -isse
-tät -itis -ive
-se -sis
Keep in mind that there are exceptions. Unfortunately, there are many other feminine nouns that have different endings than these and whose gender is not easy to identify.

Gender of nouns ending with “-ei”

German police – How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-en” Examples:
Example Meaning
die Polizei police
die Abtei abbey
die Konditorei confectionery
die Leckerei delicacy
die Datei file
Exception Meaning
der Brei mash
der Schrei scream
der Papagei parrot
das Ei egg
das Einerlei monotony
das Blei lead

Gender of nouns ending with “-ung”

newspaper – How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-en” Examples:
Example Meaning
die Zeitung newspaper
die Dichtung poetry
die Empfehlung recommendation
die Erfahrung experience
Exception Meaning
der Schwung momentum
der Sprung jump

Gender of nouns ending with “-in”

– How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-nenfemale professor NOTE: Nouns ending with “-in” only are feminine if they refer to a woman. Examples:
Example Meaning
die Lehrerin female professor
die Darstellerin actress
die Eignerin female owner
die Australierin Australian woman
die Chefin female boss
Exceptions: All diminutives ending with “-lein” are neuter: das Madlein (the maiden)

Gender of nouns ending with -heit

– How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-enfreedom Examples:
Example Meaning
die Freiheit freedom
die Neuheit novelty
die Sicherheit safety
die Trägheit laziness

Gender of nouns ending with “-keit”

dangerousness – How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-en” Examples:
Example Meaning
die Gefährlichkeit dangerousness
die Höflichkeit politeness
die Langsamkeit slowness
die Häufigkeit frequency

Gender of nouns ending with “-ion”

production – How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-en” Examples:
Example Meaning
die Produktion production
die Funktion function
die Kanalisation drainage
die Nation nation

Gender of nouns ending with “-ie”

– How often this ending is seen: Very often – Plural with “-n” – Many come from Latin or Greek geography Examples:
Example Meaning
die Geografie geography
die Garantie guarantee
die Fantasie fantasy
die Galerie gallery
die Astronomie astronomy
Exceptions: der Zombie (zombie), der Yuppie (yuppie), der Unfreie (slave), der Laie (layman)

Gender of nouns ending with -schaft

– How often this ending is seen: Media – Plural with “-enfriendship Examples:
Example Meaning
die Freundschaft friendship
die Gemeinschaft community
die Wirtschaft economy
die Wissenschaft science

Words ending with “-elle”

– How often this ending is seen: Media – Plural with “-n” – From Italian or French wave Examples:
Example Meaning
die Welle wave
die Zelle cell
die Zitadelle citadel
die Quelle source
die Tabelle table
Exceptions: der Junggeselle (single), der Geselle (journeyman)

Gender of nouns ending with “-ik”

– How often this ending is seen: Media – Plural with “-en” – Many are from Greek or Latin factory Examples:
Example Meaning
die Fabrik factory
die Musik music
die Technik technique
die Statistik statistics
die Politik politics
Exceptions: der Atlantik (Atlantic), der Streik (strike)

Gender of nouns ending with “-ur”

– How often this ending is seen: Media – Plural with “-en” – Many of them are from Latin Examples:
Example Meaning
die Kultur culture
die Natur nature
die Diktatur dictatorship
die Agentur agency
  • Professions: der Chauffeur (driver), der Ingenieur (engineer), der Regisseur (director), etc.
  • References to male people: der Amateur (amateur), der Voyeur (voyeur), etc.
  • In addition: das Futur (future), das Abitur (exam at end of high school)

Gender of nouns ending with “-ade”

– How often this ending is seen: seldom – Plural with “-nmarmalade Examples:
Example Meaning
die Marmelade marmalade
die Limonade lemonade
die Schokolade chocolate
die Schublade drawer

Gender of nouns ending with “-age”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-nHermitage Examples:
Example Meaning
die Eremitage hermitage
die Etage floor
die Frage question
die Bandage bandage

Gender of nouns ending with “-ette”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-n” – Many are from French disk Examples:
Example Meaning
die Diskette disk
die Etikette label
die Zigarette cigarette
die Marionette marionette
die Kassette cassette

Gender of nouns ending with “-enz”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-en” – Many come from Latin or Greek conference Examples:
Example Meaning
die Konferenz conference
die Frequenz frequency
die Transparenz transparency
die Turbulenz turbulence
die Tendenz tendency

Gender of nouns ending with “-ere”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-n” – Many of them are from Italian or French. scissors Examples:
Example Meaning
die Schere scissors
die Portiere curtain
die Niere kidney
die Misere misery
Exceptions: der Karabiniere (carbineer), der Gondoliere (gondolier), das Ampere (ampere)

Nouns ending with “-ine”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-n” – Many come from Latin or Greek violin Examples:
Example Meaning
die Violine violin
die Vakzine vaccination
die Maschine machine
die Ruine ruin
die Leine rope
Exceptions: der Beduine (bedouin)

Nouns ending with “-isse”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-n” – Many of them are from Latin or Greek narcissus Examples: – How often this ending is seen: Seldom
Example Meaning
die Narzisse narcissus
die Prämisse premise
die Kulisse frame
die Abzisse abscissa

Gender of nouns ending with “-tät”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-en” – Many come from Latin or Greek university Examples:
Example Meaning
die Universität university
die Pubertät puberty
die Naivität naivety
die Parität parity
die Priorität priority

Gender of nouns ending with “-itis”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural “-itis -iden ” – They come from Greek and are diseases (-itis means inflammation) bronchitis Examples:
Example Meaning
die Bronchitis bronchitis
die Cellulitis cellulitis
die Rachitis rickets
die Hepatitis hepatitis

Nouns ending with -ive

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-nlocomotive Examples:
Example Meaning
die Lokomotive locomotive
die Olive olive
die Perspektive perspective
die Alternative alternative

Gender of nouns ending with “-se”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-nrose Examples:
Example Meaning
die Rose rose
die Zuckerdose sugar bowl
die Osmose osmosis
die Badehose swimming trunks

Gender of nouns ending with “-sis”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural “-sis -sen ” Examples:
Example Meaning
die Basis basis
die Dosis dose
die Genesis genesis
Exception: das Chassis (chassis)]]>

German Gender:Masculine

German-Spoken German

Endings that mark the masculine gender

Usually, the noun gender is determined by the noun’s ending. The endings that mark the masculine gender in order of most importance are: -ich, -ist, -or, -ig, -ling, -ismus, -ant, -är, -eur, -iker and -ps

Words ending with “-ich”

– How often this ending is seen: Average – Plural with “-ecarpet Examples:
Example Meaning
der Teppich carpet
der Sittich parakeet
der Abgleich adjustment
der Bereich range
der Teich pond
Exception: das Reich (kingdom)

Words ending with “-ist”

– How often this ending is seen: Average – Plural with “-en” – Many come from Latin or Greek artista Examples:
Example Meaning
der Artist artist
der Egoist egoist
der Feminist feminist
der Herzspezialist cardiologist
der Komponist composer

Words ending with “-or”

– How often this ending is seen: Average – Plural: The majority end with “-en” and some with “-e” – Many come from Latin Examples:fan
Example Meaning
der Ventilator fan
der Motor motor
der Faktor factor
der Marmor marble
Exceptions: das Fluor (Fluorine), das Chlor (chlorine), das Tor (gate), das Labor (laboratory), das Dekor(decoration)

Words ending with “-ig”

– How often this ending is seen: Less often – Plural with “-eking Examples:
Example Meaning
der König king
der Honig honey
der Essig vinegar
der Käfig cage
Exception: das Reisig (brushwood)

Words ending with “-ling”

– How often this ending is seen: Less often – Plural with “-e” butterfly Examples:
Example Meaning
der Schmetterling butterfly
der Frühling spring
der Lehrling apprentice
der Zwilling twin
Exceptions: das Bowling, die Reling (railing)

Words ending with “-ismus”

– How often this ending is seen: Less often – The plural follows this construction even though many nouns lack a plural form: “-ismus” ➜ “-ismen” – Many come from Latin or Greek optimism Examples:
Example Meaning
der Optimismus optimism
der Magnetismus magnetism
der Expressionismus expressionism
der Feudalismus feudalism
der Kapitalismus capitalism

Words ending with “-ant”

– How often this ending is seen: Less often -Plural with “-en” – Most words ending with “-ant”, especially if they come from Latin Examples: diamond
Example Meaning
der Diamant diamond
der Fabrikant manufacturer
der Elefant elephant
der Lieferant supplier
Exceptions: das Restaurant, die Want (shroud)

Words ending with “-är”

– How often this ending is seen: Not often – Most words ending with “-är” are masculine, especially if they are from French – The plural can be formed with “-e” (for words from French such as der Veterinär ➜ die Veterinäre) or with “-en” (der Bär die Bären) bear Examples:
Example Meaning
der Bär bear
der Veterinär veterinarian
der Aktionär stockholder
der Sekretär secretary
Exceptions: das Militär (military), das Quartär (quartenary)

Words ending with “-eur”

– How often this ending is seen: Not often – Plural with “-e” [der Friseur die Friseure] – Many of them come from French Examples: hairdresser
Example Meaning
der Friseur hairdresser
der Amateur amateur
der Ingenieur engineer

Words ending with “-iker”

– How often this ending is seen: Not often – No ending is added to form the plural [der Physiker die Physiker] – They come from Latin or Greek Examples: politician
Example Meaning
der Alkoholiker alcoholic
der Informatiker computer scientist
der Physiker physicist
der Politiker politician

Words ending with “-ps”

– How often this ending is seen: Seldom – Plural with “-e” (der Schlips ➜ die Schlipse) but sometimes an “Umlaut” is added to the last vowel of the world to make the plural (der Schnaps die Schnäpse) Examples:
Example Meaning
der Schlips tie
der Gips cast
der Schnaps schnaps
der Klaps slap

German declension

German Language

German declension


The nominative is used if
    • The word is isolated:

Name* name

*(“Name” is nominative)
    • If the word makes up part of the subject:

Mein Name hat 5 Buchstaben* My name has five letters

*(“Mein Name” has the function of a subject and is declined in the nominative)
    • If the word forms part of the object of the predicate and the sentence is formed with the copulative verb (sein, werden or bleiben)*

María ist mein Name* Maria is my name

*(“Ist” is part the verb “sein” (copulative) and therefore the object is declined in nominative)


Accusative is used if:
    • If the word is a direct object in English, it will be accusative in 90% of the cases in German.

Ich sagte meinen Namen* I said my name

*(“sagte” is from the verb “sagen”, which is a verb that is not copulative. For that reason, it is accusative) Depending on the verb, the objects can be accusative, dative or with a preposition. Fortunately, most cases coincide with English ones all of the time. Be careful!
    • If it follows a preposition that is accusative (bis, durch, für, gegen, ohne, um, wider) or comes after aWechselpräposition that indicates movement.

Ich gehe in die Schule* I am going to school

*(“die Schule” is declined in accusative because it follows the preposition “in” and going which indicates movement)


    • If the word is part of an Indirect Object in English, it will be dative in German in some 90% of the cases.

Ich schenke dir ein Heft* I give you a notebook

*(“ein Heft” (the thing that is given) is accusative and whom it is given to is dative)  
  • If it follows a preposition that is dative: “ab”, “aus”, “außer”, “bei”, “entgegen”, “entsprechend”, “mit”, “nach”, “seit”, von, zu or a Wechselpräposition if it does not indicate movement.


    • If the word is after the word “of” in English

Die Zukunft des Buches ist schwer* The future of the book is difficult

*(In English genitive’s expressed with “of” or by adding an apostrophe to show possession. “Des Buches” is translated as “of the book” or “the book’s”)
  • If it follows a preposition that is Genitive (anstatt, aufgrund, außerhalb, dank, statt, während, wegen)
The genitive is not used as often by Germans as the three other previous cases. Often, a noun object is made with the preposition “von” + Dative and the genitive preposition are sometimes used incorrectly as if they were dative. You have to keep in mind that one word can fit the rules of different cases simultaneously. For example, it can be a subject while being a part of a noun object and follow a preposition that is dative. Which case would it be then? Nominative because it’s the subject, Genitive, because it’s the noun object or dative because it is after a preposition? The answer is that the priorities are in this order:
  1. Following a preposition (governing with Accusative, Dative or Genitive)
  2. Being part of a genitive object (Genitive)
  3. The rest of the rules

Complete Declension Tables

The “hard” case endings are highlighted in yellow in these tables, and the “soft” adjective endings are underlined.
 TYPE 1: Definite Articles “The nice man / woman / child / children”
NOM der nette Mann die nette Frau das nette Kind die netten Kinder
ACC den netten Mann die nette Frau das nette Kind die netten Kinder
DAT dem netten Mann der nettenFrau dem netten Kind den nettenKindern
GEN des netten Mannes der nettenFrau des nettenKindes der netten Kinder
 TYPE 2: Indefinite & Possessive Articles “My little dog / cat / bunny / birds”
NOM mein kleiner Hund meine kleine Katze mein kleines Kaninchen meine kleinen Vögel
ACC meinen kleinen Hund meine kleine Katze mein kleines Kaninchen meine kleinen Vögel
DAT meinem kleinen Hund meiner kleinen Katze meinem kleinen Kaninchen meinen kleinen Vögeln
GEN meines kleinen Hundes meiner kleinen Katze meines kleinen Kaninchens meiner kleinen Vögel
 TYPE 3: No Article “hot coffee / cold milk / fresh bread / warm rolls”
NOM heißer Kaffee kalte Milch frisches Brot warme Brötchen
ACC heißen Kaffee kalte Milch frisches Brot warme Brötchen
DAT heißem Kaffee kalter Milch frischem Brot warmen Brötchen
GEN heißen Kaffees kalter Milch frischen Brotes warmer Brötchen

Noun Declension

There are 2 types of noun declension: Regular and N-declension.

Regular declension

Applicable to most nouns. Example: das Gas (the gas)
Singular Plural
Article Noun Article Noun
Nominative das Gas die Gase
Accusative das Gas die Gase
Dative dem Gas den Gasen
Genitive des Gases der Gase
N-declension Applicable to some masculine nouns and a few neuter ones. Example: der Name (the name)
Singular Plural
Article Noun Article Noun
Nominative der Name die Namen
Accusative den Namen die Namen
Dative dem Namen den Namen
Genitive des Namens der Namen

Weak Nouns (the “N-Declension”)

Just to make things more complicated, certain masculine nouns are “weak” and take an “n” ending in all cases except the nominative. For example, most of the words for “boy” in German (Junge, Bursche, Knabe, Bube) fall into this group:
Nominative der Junge die Jungen
Accusative den Jungen die Jungen
Dative dem Jungen den Jungen
Genitive des Jungen der Jungen
There are at least a few hundred weak nouns and it’s impractical to memorize them all, but once you know some of the most common ones, you can start to recognize them. They fall into two basic groups. The first, which you just saw, end in e and usually refer to people or animals:
der Kunde (customer) der Neffe (nephew) der Russe (Russian) der Schwede (Swede) der Soziologe (sociologist) der Löwe (lion) der Rabe (raven) der Schimpanse (chimpanzee)
These aren’t hard to remember, because there are very few masculine nouns in German that end in a single e and are not weak. Der Käse (cheese) is the only common one we can think of. The only wrinkle with this group is that a few of them keep the genitive s after the n. These are often the ones that don’t refer to a person or animal, like der Wille (will, volition) or der Friede(peace). So the genitive of those would be des Willens and des Friedens respectively. And the only non-masculine weak noun also works this way: das Herz (heart) –> des Herzens. The second group is a little fuzzier, but it’s basically nouns with certain Latin and Greek endings. Most of them are so close to their English equivalents that we don’t even have to translate:
der Elefant der Emigrant der Präsident der Kapitalist der Kommunist der Diplomat der Astronaut der Kandidat der Kamerad(comrade)
Finally, there are a few weak nouns that don’t fit into either group. The most common are:
der Bauer (farmer) der Bär (bear) der Held (hero) der Mensch (person) der Nachbar (neighbor) der Pilot der Idiot der Architekt
You can find long lists of weak nouns, but you shouldn’t try to memorize them all. If you remember the basic types above, you’ll get most of them right, and if you don’t, it’s not a real barrier to comprehension anyway.

Declension of Adjectives

There are three types of declension for adjectives: Weak, mixed and strong.

Weak declension of Adjectives

The most common case for weak declension is the construction: (definite article) + (adjective with weak declension) + (Noun)

Das schöne Sofa The beautiful sofa

Mixed declension of Adjectives

The most common mixed declension is the structure: (indefinite article) + (adjective with mixed declension) + (Noun)

Ein schönes Sofa A beautiful sofa

Strong declension of adjectives

The most common case of strong declension is: (strong declension of adjective without article) + (Noun)

Schönes Sofa Beautiful sofa

Adjective Functions

Adjectives can have 3 functions in a sentence and only the attributive function is declined. Let’s see the three functions to distinguish them from one another:
  • Attributive (adjective accompanying a noun).

    Der gute Mann arbeitet viel

    [DECLINED]Often, it is understood which noun is being referred to so the adjective appears without the noun but it is still declined

    Er mag den roten Apfel, ich mag den gelben

    (apple is omitted in the second clause)
  • Predicative (the adjective is in a sentence with the copulative verbs [ seinbleiben and  werden] and is not accompanied by a noun)

    Der Mann ist gut[NOT DECLINED]

  • Adverbial (the adjective behaves like an adverb)

    Sie singt gut[NOT DECLINED]

Adjective declension

As we have stated, there are 3 types of declension, depending on the the particle that comes before the adjective:
  • Weak declension (the definite article + adjective).

    Das schöne Sofa The beautiful sofa

  • Mixed declension(indefinite article + adjective).

    Ein schönes Sofa A beautiful sofa

  • Strong declination (no article + adjective).

    Schönes Sofa Beautiful sofa

Weak declension

The weak declension is used when:
  • the definite articles (der, die, das)
or the pronouns:
  • dieser (this)
  • jener (that)
  • derjenige (that one)
  • derselbe (the same)
  • welcher (which)
or declined indicators of quantity:
  • jeder (every)
  • mancher (some)
  • alle (all)

come before the adjective and the adjective before the noun.

This is called weak declension because the case marker is not carried by the adjective but rather particle before it.
Weak declension Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der gute Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusative den guten Mann die gute Frau das gute Kind die guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dative dem guten Mann(e) der guten Frau dem guten Kind(e) den guten Männern/Frauen/Kindern
Genitive des guten Mannes der guten Frau des guten Kindes der guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
If we look closely, we see that you just add “-e” or “-en”.

Mixed declension

Mixed declension is used when:
  • the indefinite articles (ein,…)
  • the possessive pronouns (mein, …)
  • kein, … (none)
come before the adjective and the adjective before the noun.
Mixed declension Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative ein guter Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusative einen guten Mann eine gute Frau ein gutes Kind keine guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dative einem guten Mann(e) einer guten Frau einem guten Kind(e) keinen guten Männern/Frauen/Kindern
Genitive eines guten Mannes einer guten Frau eines guten Kindes keiner guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder

Declension Tables

Now that we’ve covered gender, plurals and case, here’s how they all fit together:
Nominative (subject) der Mann die Frau das Kind die Kinder
Accusative (direct object) den Mann die Frau das Kind die Kinder
Dative (indirect object) dem Mann der Frau dem Kind den Kindern
Genitive (possession) des Mannes der Frau des Kindes der Kinder
Again, notice that the noun itself rarely changes – it only picks up an ending in three places. Most of the changes take place in the article. The highlighted letters are the signal or “hard” endings; in addition to der/die/das, they apply as above to the following definite articles:
  • dieser / diese / dieses (“this/that, these/those”)
  • solcher / solche / solches (“such”)
  • welcher / welche / welches (“which”)
And here are two more, but they sound poetic or fancy in modern German and are not used as often:
  • jener / jene / jedes (“that, those”)
  • mancher / manche / manches (“many a”)
You may be wondering how “that” and “those” can be rare words in any language. The short answer is that you can use “dies-“ for both this/these and that/those, as we’ve indicated above. The full answer is a little more complicated. Our this/that distinction in English – what linguists call the proximal/distal distinction – is not handled the same way in all languages, and German just doesn’t have it to the same degree. Even “dies-” is less common than “this” in English; it’s most often used when distinguishing among a group of similar items, not just in referring to anything nearby. For example, if you’re helping someone pick out a dress, you’d say Ich mag dieses Kleid (“I like this one [as opposed to the others]”) but “this beer [in my hand] is too warm” would often just be das Bier ist zu warm. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, but it’s way too much to get into here. If you’re really struggling to get across a this/that distinction in German, remember that you can always use extra words to help (“this building here,” “the guy over there,” etc.) The other two categories are the indefinite articles (like a/an in English) and possessives (my, your, his, etc). These words have the same hard endings as the definite articles above, except that they drop them in three places. Here’s how to say: “my dog/cat/bunny/birds”:
Nominative (subject) mein Hund meine Katze meinKaninchen meine Vögel
Accusative (direct object) meinen Hund meine Katze meinKaninchen meine Vögel
Dative (indirect object) meinem Hund meiner Katze meinemKaninchen meinenVögeln
Genitive (possession) meinesHundes meiner Katze meinesKaninchens meiner Vögel
We will fully review the possessives in Section 6 (Pronouns), but here are the two indefinite articles:
  • ein / eine / ein (“a/an ___”)
  • kein / keine / kein (“no/not a ___“)
Ein Hund folgte mir nach Hause. A dog followed me home. Ich spreche kein Deutsch. I speak no German. Das ist keine Lösung. That’s not a solution.
In learning these declensions, as well as the adjective forms in the next section, it’s better to focus on those 16 hard endings and the few exceptions to them than to memorize every table by rote.

Strong declension

The strong declension is used when nothing comes before the adjective. But there are also other cases such as when the adjective is preceded by any of the following pronouns:
  • dergleichen, … (the same)
  • derlei, … (such)
  • dessen, deren (whose)
  • wessen (whose)
  • manch (some)
  • etliche mehrere (a few more)
  • etwas (something)
  • ein bisschen (a bit)
  • ein wenig (a little)
  • ein paar (a couple)
or by:
  • wie viel (how much)
  • viel (a lot)
  • wenig (little)
or declined indicators of quantity that are only used in the plural:
  • viele (many)
  • wenige (few)
  • einige (some)
Strong declension Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative guter Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Accusative guten Mann gute Frau gutes Kind gute Männer/Frauen/Kinder
Dative gutem Mann(e) guter Frau gutem Kind(e) guten Männern/ Frauen/Kindern
Genitive guten Mannes guter Frau guten Kindes guter Männer/ Frauen/Kinder

Declension of 2 or more consecutive adjectives

If two or more consecutive adjectives are in a sentence, they will be declined with the same type of declension:

Wir möchten in einem guten japanischen Restaurant essen We would like to eat in a good Japanese Restaurant

In this example, “gut” and “japanisch” are declined with the mixed declension because the adjectives are preceded by the indefinite article (ein). “ein” is declined in dative (einem) because it is preceded by the preposition “in” (with a situational concept).

Pronoun declension

There are 3 types of declensions for pronouns: weak, mixed and strong but not all pronouns have the three declensions. If you’d like more in-depth info, we suggest that you visit: Declension of personal pronouns:
Nominative Accusative Dative Genitive
ich I mich me mir me, to me meiner mine
du you dich you dir you, to you deiner yours
er he ihn him ihm him, to him seiner his
sie she sie her ihr her, to her ihrer hers
es it es it ihm it, to it seiner its
wir we uns us uns us, to us unser ours
ihr you (speaking to a group) euch you euch you, to you euer yours
sie Sie they you (formal) sie Sie them you (formal) ihnen Ihnen to them to you ihrer Ihrer theirs yours

Article declension

Definite Articles:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der (the) die (the) das (the) die (the)
Accusative den die das die
Dative dem der dem den
Genitive des der des der
Indefinite Articles:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative ein (a/an) eine (a/an) ein (a/an)
Accusative einen eine ein
Dative einem einer einem
Genitive eines einer eines

Declension of cardinal numbers

The cardinal numbers are not declined with the exception of 1, 2 and 3.

Declension of 1 (eins)

  • If the 1 is not followed by a noun, it is not declined and eins is always used:

Formel eins Formula one

  • If the “1” is followed by a noun, usually the weak declension is used, being equivalent to the indefinite article:

Ich habe eine Lampe I have a lamp

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative ein eine ein
Accusative einen eine ein
Dative einem einer einem
Genitive eines einer eines

Declension of 2 and 3

  • If the 2 or 3 are not followed by a noun, they are not declined and simply zwei and drei are used:
  • If the 2 or 3 are followed by a noun, they are declined only in the genitive in the case of them not being preceded by an article:

Abstand zweier Punkte Distance of two points

Nominative Accusative Dative zwei / drei
Genitive zweier / dreier

Declension of ordinal numbers

Ordinal numbers follow the adjective declension rules. An example of weak declension (given that the article “der” comes before the ordinal number in the genitive):

Die Kosten der zweiten Wohnung The expenses of the second home


Comparative and Superlative Adjectives and Adverbs


We use comparative forms when we are comparing things with each other. There are three comparative forms: positive, comparative, and superlative.
Maria läuft so schnell wie Susanne. Friederike läuft schneller als Maria. Friederike läuft am schnellsten. Sie ist die schnellste Läuferin.


The positive form is the basic form of the adjective, which we use with the comparison words so … wie.
Maria läuft so schnell wie Susanne.
Further expressions which use positive comparisons are:
  • genauso … wie
  • nicht so … wie
  • fast so … wie
  • doppelt so … wie
  • halb so … wie


The comparative is the first form of comparison. We construct the comparative with als and add the ending er to the adjective.
Friederike läuft schneller als Maria.


The superlative is the highest form of comparison. We put am or the definite article in front of the adjective, and add ste(n) to the end.
Friederike läuft am schnellsten.
Sie ist die schnellste Läuferin.

Exceptions for the Comparatives

General Exceptions

  • Adjectives that end with d/t or s/ß/x/z usually form the superlative with est.
    laut – lauter – am lautesten
    heiß – heißer – am heißesten
  • Monosyllabic adjectives often form the comparative with an umlaut.
    jung – jünger – am jüngsten
  • Some adjectives have irregular comparative forms (see table).
    gut – besser – am besten
irregular comparative forms
positive comparative superlative
gut besser best-
viel mehr meist-
nah näher nächst-
hoch höher höchst-
groß größer größt-

Attributive Adjectives

  • Attributive adjectives have to be declined in all comparative forms. To do this, first we add the ending for the comparative form, then the ending for the declension. Attributive adjectives always form the superlative with the definite article.
    der kleine Junge/der kleinere Junge/der kleinste Junge
    ein kleiner Junge/ein kleinerer Junge/der kleinste Junge

Adverbial/Predicative Adjectives

  • Adverbial adjectives always form the superlative with am, and we add the ending sten to the adjective.
    wichtig – wichtiger – am wichtigsten
  • Predicative adjectives can form the superlative not only with am but also with the definite article. If we’re using the definite article, we add the ending ste to the adjective.
    Diese Aufgabe ist am wichtigsten.
    Diese Aufgabe ist die wichtigste.

Positive degree

This is the unmodified adjective.

Ich bin müde I am tired

The comparative of equality and inferiority is formed with the positive degree:

Comparative of equality

Clauses of equality are formed with this construction: so + POSITIVE ADJECTIVE + wie

Peter ist so dünn wie Tomas Peter is as thin as Tomas

or with the construction: gleich + POSITIVE ADJECTIVE + wie

Peter ist gleich ungelenk wie Tomas Peter is as clumsy as Tomas

A very common usage is for comparing quantities of something. The structure is: so + viel + NON-COUNT NOUN + wie / so + viele + COUNT NOUN + wie

Ich habe so viel Geld wie du I have as much money as you

Ich habe so viele Autos wie du I have as many cars as you

Comparative of inferiority

The comparative of inferiority’s structure is: nicht so + POSITIVE ADJECTIVE + wie

Du bist nicht so intelligent wie ich You’re not as intelligent as me

Comparative degree

The comparative degree is for constructing the comparative of superiority. The comparative grade is formed generally by adding “er” to the adjective:

intelligent intelligenter intelligent more intelligent

Comparative of superiority

The comparative of superiority is formed with the construction: ADJECTIVE IN COMPARATIVE DEGREE + als

Er ist stärker als ich He is stronger than me

Peter ist dünner als Tomas Peter is thinner than Tomas

Forming the comparative degree (special cases)

  • If the adjective ends with “-e”, one “-r” is added (the “-e” is not doubled)

müde müder tired more tired

feige feiger cowardly more cowardly

  • de + “-er”.

teuer teurer expensive more expensive

dunkel dunkler dark darker

  • If the adjective ends with “-er”, it can be formed regularly with + “-er” or, like the previous case, by losing the last “-e” + “-er”.

    lecker leckerer / leckrer delicious more delicious

    sauber sauberer / saubrer clean cleaner

  • If an adjective is a monosyllable, an “Umlaut” ( ¨ ) + “er” is added (usually with vowels a, o, y and u). This also happens with the superlative degree.

krank kränker sick sicker

Comparative of inferiority

The comparative of inferiority is formed with the construction: weniger + ADJECTIVE + als

Er ist weniger intelligent als ich He is less intelligent than me

Superlative degree

  • The superlative with the structure:am + Adjective in positive degree + -sten Whenever the adjective does not accompany a noun:

Welches Auto ist am billigsten? Which car is the cheapest?

  • If an adjective is monosyllabic (just one syllable), with vowels a, o, y and u, an “Umlaut” ( ¨ ) + “-sten” is added.This also happens in the comparative degree.

krank am kränksten sick sickest

  • When the adjective ends with one of the consonants: “-d”, “-t”, “-s”, “-ß”, “-sch”, “-x” or “-z” an “-e-” is added between the adjective in the positive degree and the ending “-sten.”

seriös am seriösesten serious the most serious

süß am süßesten sweet the sweetest

There are some exceptions as in:

dringend am dringendsten urgent the most urgent

neidisch am neidischsten jealous the most jealous

groß am größten tall the tallest

Attributive Adjective. Superlative without ‘am’

A frequent concern is about when to use am in the superlative and when not to. If the adjective is accompanied by a noun (the attributive form) am is not used. Example:

Tata Nano ist das billigste Auto der Welt Tata Nano is the cheapest car in the world

Irregular adjectives

The following adjectives form the comparative and superlative irregularly:
Adjective Comparative Superlative Meaning
gut besser am besten good, better, the best
viel mehr am meisten much, more, the most
gern lieber am liebsten gladly, preferably, most preferably
hoch höher am höchsten high, higher, highest
nahe näher am nächsten near, nearer, nearest
Comparisons in German generally work in a way that is similar to English. An Austrian brewery advertises its Gösser beer brand with the slogan: “gut, besser, Gösser” (“good, better, Gösser”). The German edition of Reader’s Digest is known as Das Beste (…aus Reader’s Digest). To form the comparative for most adjectives or adverbs in German you simply add -er, as inneu/neuer (new/newer) or klein/kleiner (small/smaller). For the superlative, English uses the -est ending, the same as in German except that German often drops the e and usually adds an adjective ending: (der) neueste (the newest) or (das) kleinste (the smallest). Unlike English, however, German never uses “more” (mehr) with another modifier to form the comparative. In English something may be “more beautiful” or someone could be “more intelligent.” But in German these are both expressed with the -er ending: schöner andintelligenter. So far, so good. But unfortunately German also has some irregular comparisons, just as English does.

Sometimes these irregular forms are quite similar to those in English. Compare, for instance, the English good/better/best with the German gut/besser/am besten. On the other hand, high/higher/highest is hoch/höher/am höchsten in German. But there are only a few of these irregular forms, and they are easy to learn, as you can see below.

Irregular Adjective/Adverb Comparison
bald (soon) eher (sooner) am ehesten (soonest)
gern (gladly) lieber (more gladly) am liebsten (most gladly)
groß (big) größer (bigger) am größten (biggest) der/die/das größte
gut (good) besser (better) am besten (best) der/die/das beste
hoch (high) höher (higher) am höchsten (highest) der/die/das höchste
nah (near) näher (nearer) am nächsten (nearest) der/die/das nächste
viel (much) mehr (more) am meisten (most) die meisten
There is one more irregularity that affects both the comparative and superlative of many German adjectives and adverbs: the added umlaut ( ¨ ) over ao, or u in most one-syllable adjectives/adverbs. Below are some examples of this kind of comparison. Exceptions (do not add an umlaut) include bunt (colorful), falsch (wrong), froh (merry), klar (clear), laut (loud), and wahr(true).
Irregular Comparison – Umlaut Added Examples
dumm (dumb) dümmer (dumber) am dümmsten (dumbest) der/die/das dümmste
kalt (cold) kälter (colder) am kältesten* (coldest) der/die/das kälteste*
  *Note the “connecting” e in the superlative: kälteste
klug (smart) klüger (smarter) am klügsten (smartest) der/die/das klügste
lang (long) länger (longer) am längsten (longest) der/die/das längste
stark (strong) stärker (stronger) am stärksten (strongest) der/die/das stärkste
warm (warm) wärmer (warmer) am wärmsten (warmest) der/die/das wärmste
In order to use the comparative forms above and to express relative comparisons or equality/inequality (“as good as” or “not as tall as”) in German, you also need to know the following phrases and formulations using alsso-wie, or je-desto:
  • mehr/größer/besser als = more/bigger/better than
  • (nicht) so viel/groß/gut wie = (not) as much/big/good as
  • je größer desto besser = the bigger/taller the better
Below are a few sample sentences to show how the positive, comparative, and superlative forms are used in German.
My sister is not as tall as I am. Meine Schwester ist nicht so groß wie ich.
His Audi is much more expensive than my VW. Sein Audi ist viel teurer als mein VW.
We prefer to travel by train. Wir fahren lieber mit der Bahn.
Karl is the oldest. Karl is oldest. Karl ist der Älteste. Karl ist am ältesten.
The more people, the better. Je mehr Leute, desto besser.
He likes to play basketball, but most of all he likes to play soccer. Er spielt gern Basketball, aber am liebsten spielt er Fußball.
The ICE [train] travels/goes the fastest. Der ICE fährt am schnellsten.
Most people don’t drive as fast as he does. Die meisten Leute fahren nicht so schnell wie er.

Difference between “wie” and “als” (wie vs als)

An additional explanation. “Wie” will be used for the comparative of equality, while “als” will be used for the comparative of superiority. The comparison of adjectives in English: To form the comparative of an adjective, English adds -er to shorter words (“prettier”) or places more in front of more complicated ones (“more beautiful”). To form the superlative of an adjective, English adds -est (“prettiest”) or uses most (“most beautiful”). To form the comparative of an adverb, English adds -er to those that do not end in -ly (“faster”) and places more in front of those that do end in -ly (“more quickly”). To form the superlative of an adverb, English adds -est to those that do not end in -ly (“fastest”) and places most in front of those that do (“most quickly”).
The comparison of adjectives and adverbs in German: No matter how long the adjective or adverb, German always adds -er (“schöner”, “interessanter”). Never use mehr for this purpose. Adjective endings follow the -er. Of course, adverbs and predicate adjectives take no endings.
Wir haben den süßeren Wein bestellt.
We ordered the sweeter wine.
Die schlankere Frau ist nicht unbedingt die attraktivere.
The slimmer woman isn’t necessarily the more attractive one.
Er fährt schneller, wenn es nicht regnet.
He drives faster when it isn’t raining.
Sie steht ziemlich links, aber ihr Mann ist konservativer.
She’s pretty left-wing, but her husband’s more conservative.
 To form the superlative, German always adds -st or -est. Other than the few exceptions mentioned below, superlative adjectives always require a further ending:
Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?
Wir haben den trockensten Wein bestellt.
We ordered the driest wine.
Die schlankste Frau ist nicht unbedingt die attraktivste.
The slimmest woman isn’t necessarily the most attractive one.
The superlative forms of adverbs or predicate adjectives take the form of “am -sten:”
Er singt am lautesten. He sings the loudest.
Ich bin am glücklichsten, wenn ich allein bin. I’m happiest when I’m alone.
Some superlative forms of adverbs can end in “-stens” (without “am”):
Wir essen meistens in der Küche. We mostly eat in the kitchen.
Ich bin bestens versorgt. I’m very well provided for.
Hunde sind hier strengstens verboten. Dogs are strictly forbidden here.
Ihr Wagen wird frühestens Mittwoch fertig sein. Your car will be ready on Wednesday at the earliest.
The basic forms:
Positive Comparative Superlative or
klein kleiner am kleinsten der/die/das kleinste
intelligent intelligenter am intelligentesten der/die/das intelligenteste
Some adjectives, almost always monosyllabic, add an umlaut. Here are some of the more common ones:  
alt älter am ältesten old
arm ärmer am ärmsten poor
dumm dümmer am dümmsten stupid
gesund gesünder am gesündesten healthy
grob gröber am gröbsten coarse
groß größer am größten large
hart härter am härtesten hard
jung jünger am jüngsten young
kalt kälter am kältesten cold
klug klüger am klügsten smart
kurz kürzer am kürzesten short
lang länger am längsten long
oft öfter am öftesten often
scharf schärfer am schärfsten sharp; spicy
schwach schwächer am schwächsten weak
schwarz schwärzer am schwärzesten black
stark stärker am stärksten strong
warm wärmer am wärmsten warm
Several other adjectives may or may not take an umlaut (It’s up to the speaker, but in most cases the umlaut is unusual):
blaß pale fromm pious glatt slick krank sick
naß wet rot red schmal narrow
Dining Hall Orientation. Our gastronomic traffic light: [red] Preferably infrequently! Best combined with green. [yellow] A good choice! Take repeatedly! [green] The best choice! The more often, the better!
Some adjectives or adverbs change their stems in other ways, as well:
bald eher am ehesten soon
gern lieber am liebsten “gladly”
gut besser am besten good
hoch höher am höchsten high
nah näher am nächsten near
viel mehr am meisten much
Already today we’re looking forward to your next visit
Mr. 1000 Parts – Berlin’s best-known spare parts store for electric household appliances
Adjectives ending in -el or -er normally drop the -e- before the comparartive -er:  
dunkler darker
teurer more expensive
Adjectives ending in -d, -t, -s, -ß, -sch, or -z usually add -est:  
am breitesten the widest
am kürzesten the shortest
am weißesten the whitest
Exceptions: “am größten” (the biggest) and adjectives formed from present participles: “am entgenkommendsten” (the most accommodating).
Unsliced cheese simply tastes better. Our tip! for it has a fresher and fuller taste, can be used in more ways, and doesn’t dry out as fast
Using “als” and “wie” in making comparisons:
Ich bin so gut wie du. I’m as good as you.
Es ist nicht so warm wie gestern. It’s not as warm as yesterday.
Das ist genauso dumm wie dein letzter Vorschlag. That’s just as stupid as your last suggestion.
Du bist ebenso laut wie ich. You’re just as loud as I am.
Sie ist älter als ihr Bruder. She is older than her brother.
Ein Pferd kann schneller laufen als ein Mensch. A horse can run faster than a human.
Note: Many Germans use “wie” instead of “als” (“Ich bin besser wie du”), but this construction is considered to be bad grammar. Even speakers who do it themselves will correct a foreigner who makes this mistake. Intensifiers: to indicate a progressive development, English repeats the comparative (“Things are getting better and better”). German can do that (“Es wird kälter und kälter”) or, more usually, use “immer”: “Es wird immer besser.”
The world is moving faster and faster
Similar to English’s “The more the merrier,” German employs “Je mehr, desto besser.”
The faster you’re on the information highway, the better wired you are to your customers
To prefer / like best:
Ich gehe gern ins Theater I like to go to the theater. Ich habe Weißwein gern. I like white wine.
Ich gehe lieber ins Kino. I prefer to go to the movies. Ich habe Rotwein lieber. I prefer red wine.
Ich gehe am liebsten ins Konzert. I most like to go to concerts.  Ich habe Sekt am liebsten. I like champagne best.
mehr or eher can be used to compare two qualities of the same person or thing:
Der Film ist mehr interessant als unterhaltend. The film is more interesting than entertaining.
Deine Witze sind eher traurig als witzig. Your jokes are more sad than funny.
Das ist eher möglich. That’s more likely.
Eher geht ein Kamel durch ein Nadelöhr, als dass ein Reicher in den Himmel kommt. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.
eher can also mean “rather; preferably”:
Ich gehe eher ins Theater. I prefer to go to the theater.
Eher hungere ich. I’d rather starve.
To express the notion of “favorite,” use the prefix Lieblings-:
Meine Lieblingsfarbe ist blau. My favorite color is blue.
Wenn mein Vater spazieren geht, ist sein Lieblingsziel die Kneipe an der Ecke. When my father goes for a walk, the pub on the corner is his favorite destination.
aller- intensifies a superlative:
Das habe ich am allerliebsten. I like that best of all.
Er arbeitet am allerschwersten. He works the hardest of all.
The comparative and superlative forms of adjectives have all the possibilities of the positive forms. They can modify nouns or form the basis of adjectival nouns. Logically, however, a superlative cannot of course follow an indefinite article (“ein höchster Berg” [a highest mountain]). Some examples:
“Ich bin der Größte!” “I am the greatest!”
Der teuerste Wagen gehört meinem älteren Bruder. The most expensive car belongs to my older brother.
Sie hat einen noch besseren Freund gefunden. She found an even better boyfriend.
Eine bessere Gelegenheit findest du nie. You’ll never find a better opportunity.
Von ihren Kindern ist das Jüngste am intelligentesten. Of her children, the youngest is the most intelligent.
Driving School… Also for “older people,” beginners, and “scaredy-cats” Training for licenses B, BE (passenger cars), also automatic shift
Similarly, the comparative and superlative forms of adverbs act like the positive forms. Some examples:
Ich würde das lieber früher als später hören. I’d rather hear that earlier than later.
Wir arbeiten hier seit längerer Zeit. We’ve been working here for some time.
Wie komme ich am besten in die Stadt? What’s the best way into town?
Ein älterer Herr hat mir geholfen. An older gentleman helped me.
For Mother’s Day give a piece of love! Selected praline-creations from the finest chocol
Cool story. Cool music. Cool thing. Beyond the Horizon – the Musical
German puts endings on articles, adjectives that precede nouns, and, occasionally on the nouns themselves in order to mark gender, case, and number. (The four cases, thenominative, accusative, dative, and genitive, are discussed elsewhere). Examples of the endings:
A strong back knows no pain.
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
 nom. der rote Stuhl die neueLampe das alte Buch die roten Stühle
* kein roterStuhl keine neueLampe * kein altesBuch keine neuenLampen
roter Stuhl neue Lampe altes Buch alte Bücher
 acc. den roten Stuhl die neue Lampe das alte Buch die roten Stühle
keinen roten Stuhl keine neue Lampe * kein altes Buch keine neuen Lampen
roten Stuhl neue Lampe altes Buch alte Bücher
 dat. dem roten Stuhl der neuen Lampe dem alten Buch den roten Stühlen
rotem Stuhl neuer Lampe altem Buch alten Büchern
 gen. des roten Stuhles der neuen Lampe des alten Buches der roten Stühle
roten Stuhles neuer Lampe alten Buches alter Büche
The Palace. One of the first addresses for your exclusive rental desires.
There are also a number of “weak nouns” that take an “-n” (or “-en”) in all cases but the nominative. Some examples:
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Mensch den Menschen dem Menschen des Menschen [human]  der Nachbar den Nachbarn dem Nachbarn des Nachbarn [neighbor]  der Herr den Herrn dem Herrn des Herrn [lord; gentleman]  der Held den Helden dem Helden des Helden [hero]
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Bote den Boten dem Boten des Boten [messenger]  der Kunde den Kunden dem Kunden des Kunden [customer]  der Junge den Jungen dem Jungen des Jungen [boy]  der Experte den Experten dem Experten des Experten [expert]
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Jude den Juden dem Juden des Juden [Jew]  der Russe den Russen dem Russen des Russen [Russian]  der Kollege den Kollegen dem Kollegen des Kollegen [colleague]  der Riese den Riesen dem Riesen des Riesen [giant]
A number of weak nouns have the suffixes “-ant”, “-arch”, “-ege”, “-ent”, “-ist”, “-oge”, “-om”, “-oph”, and “-ot”. Some examples:  
 der Buddist [Buddhist]  der Katholik [Catholic]  der Protestant [Protestant]  der Pilot [pilot]
 der Student [student]  der Komödiant [comedian]  der Astronom [astronomer]  der Patriarch [patriarch]
 der Philosoph [philosopher]  der Fotograf [photographer]  der Enthusiast [enthusiast]  der Anthropologe [anthropologist]
Note that all of these nouns are masculine. Furthermore, their plural forms are the same as their accusative, dative, and genitive singular forms: e.g., den Studenten, dem Studenten, des Studenten; [plural:] die Studenten, den Studenten, der Studenten. (“Herr” is an exception: den Herrn, dem Herrn, des Herrn; [plural:] die Herren, den Herren, der Herren). A few weak nouns add “-ns” in the genitive, for example:
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Glaube den Glauben dem Glauben des Glaubens [belief]  der Wille den Willen dem Willen des Willens [will]  der Gedanke den Gedanken dem Gedanken des Gedankens [thought]  der Name den Namen dem Namen des Namens [name]
One neuter noun is also weak in the dative and takes an “-ens” in the genitive
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  das Herz das Herz dem Herzen des Herzens [heart]
Uninflected adjectives: Predicate adjectives, like adverbs, take no endings:  
Das Haus ist schön. The house is beautiful.
Alles bleibt ruhig. Everything remains quiet.
With the exception of ein (one”), cardinal numbers take no endings:
Ich habe eine Schwester und einen Bruder. I have one sister and one brother.
Ich habe drei Schwestern. I have three sisters.
The best solution? Every second person has already found it. Berliner Sparkasse [Berlin Savings Bank]. Every second Berliner is already our customer. Demand more.
Ordinal numbers, on the other hand, act like normal adjectives
Er ist der siebte Sohn eines siebten Sohnes. He is the seventh son of a seventh son.
Das erste Mal ist immer schwierig. The first time is always hard.
Der einunddreißigste Juni ist der letzte Tag des Finanzjahres. The thirty-first of June is the last day of the financial year.
Adjectives formed from city names always end in “-er”, no matter what the number, gender, or case. They are also capitalized:  
das Münchner Bier Munich beer
der Mainzer Dom the Mainz Cathedral
die Berliner Modeschöpfer the Berlin fashion designers
also: Schweizer Schokolade Swiss chocolate
Adjectives that designate decades also end in “-er”:  
Brecht schrieb es in den zwanziger Jahren. Brecht wrote it in the 20’s.
Die fünfziger Jahre waren die Zeit des Wirtschaftswunders. The 50’s were the time of the “economic miracle.”
As famous as a brightly-colored dog. [colloquial phrase]
A few adjectives that end in “-a” take no endings:  
Sie trägt ein lila Kleid. She’s wearing a purple dress.
Sie trägt ein weißes Kleid mit rosa Schleifen. She’s wearing a white dress with pink bows.
Das war eine prima Idee! That was an excellent idea!
“genug” (enough), “super”, and “lauter” (unmixed, unalloyed) also take no endings:  
Es gibt genug Plätze hier. There are enough seats here.
Du hast ein super Auto gekauft! You’ve bought a fabulous car.
Das sind lauter Lügen. Those are nothing but lies.
When preceding the name of a country or city and meaning “all of,” “ganz” takes no endings:
In ganz Deutschland ist es so. That’s how it is in all of Germany.
Ganz Berlin feiert. All of Berlin is celebrating.
When “voll” means “full,” it takes the usual endings, but when it means “full of”, it becomes“voller”, with no further endings:
Ich übernehme die volle Verantwortung. I’ll take on the whole responsibility.
Er hatte einen Sack voller Geld. He had a bag full of money.
Ich war voller Tatendrang. I was full of a zest for action
Berlin is full of contrasts. That’s one of our greatest strengths.
When “viel” and “wenig” are not preceded by articles, they take no endings in the singular.
Wir haben es mit viel Fleiß gemacht. We did it with a lot of applied effort.
Er ist mit vielen Freunden gekommen. He came with a lot of friends.
Du brauchst wenig Hilfe. You don’t need much help.
Wenige Deutsche trinken gern amerikanischen Kaffee. Few Germans like to drink American coffee
(From Der Spiegel) A survey of 25,000 university graduates: why so many study the wrong thing.
Adjectival Nouns in English:
Because English adjectives are uninflected, it is more difficult to make nouns out of them. One can talk about certain abstract concepts like the True or the Good, but in most cases, at least “one,” “thing,” or something like “man,” “woman,” or “guy” is required to create a noun phrase: “He’s an odd one.” “Let’s drink a cold one” [a beer]. “Have a good one” [a nice day]. “I did the wrong thing.” “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” “I’m talking about the fat guy.” It can be a little easier in the plural: “The rich are different.” “For ye have the poor always with you.” Adjectival Nouns in German: Because German adjective endings carry considerable information about case, gender, and number, the noun that they modify can sometimes seem redundant. When Germans refer to Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl as der Dicke, they don’t need a further noun, since the der, followed by the -e ending on dick tells us that we are dealing with a single masculine subject (in the nominative case). So long as the context is clear, all that’s needed to make the noun is to capitalize the first letter. A number of such nouns constructed in this fashion have become conventional enough to be listed as dictionary entries in their own right. Some adjectives that become such nouns are “bekannt” [= acquainted], “angestellt” [= employed, hired], “verwandt” [=related], “erwachsen” [= grown-up], “heilig” [= holy], and “deutsch” [= German]:
der Dicke
Sie ist eine gute Bekannte von mir. She is a good acquaintance of mine.
Er ist ein Angestellter dieser Firma. He is an employee of this company.
Meine Verwandten sind alle verrückt. My relatives are all crazy.
Nur Erwachsene dürfen diesen Film sehen. Only adults [grownups] are allowed to see this film.
Der Papst hat sie zur Heiligen erklärt. The Pope declared her a saint.
Die Deutschen sind gern pünktlich. Germans like to be punctual.
(Note that “German” is the only nationality designated by an adjectival noun.) Frequent usage has produced other conventions:
Ich möchte ein Helles. I’d like a light beer [a pils].
Und ich nehme ein Dunkles. And I’ll have a dark beer.
Heute fahren wir ins Blaue. Today we’re driving into the wild, blue yonder.
Er traf ins Schwarze. He hit the bull’s-eye.
Mein Alter geht mir auf den Wecker. My old man [my father] gets on my nerves.
Meine Alte versteht gar nichts. My old lady [my mother] doesn’t understand anything.
Your parents will puke!
Plural adjectives of color represent members of particular political parties: e.g., “die Grünen” = the Greens; “die Roten” = SPD orPDS. The examples above are all in the nominative case, but the adjectival inflections hold true in the accusative, dative, and genitive, as well. Here are examples of “the old man,” “the rich woman,” “the Good”, “the poor [poor people]”:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
 nom. der Alte die Reiche das Gute die Armen
* ein Alter eine Reiche * kein Gutes keine Armen
Alter Reiche Gutes Arme
 acc. den Alten die Reiche das Gute die Armen
einen Alten eine Reiche * ein Gutes keine Armen
Alten Reiche Gutes Arme
 dat. dem Alten der Reichen dem Guten den Armen
Altem Reicher Gutem Armen
 gen. des Alten der Reichen des Guten der Armen
Alten Reicher Guten Armer
  Some of the forms in the above chart may seem hard to work into the conversation, but they do exist. Note the following:
Es hat keinen Zweck, Altes mit Altem zu ersetzen. There’s no point in replacing old with old.
Something light can be so delicious …
They are more apt to show up in the vocative:
Du Armer! You poor fellow!
In the plural, however, there are some surprises, especially in the vocative:
Wir Grünen sind nicht so unrealistisch. We Greens are not so unrealistic.
Ihr beiden seid echte Profis. You both are real pros.
Germans also frequently say or write “ihr beide”, however. And, although “wir Grünen” and “ihr Grünen” are used more consistently, both “Sie Grünen” and “Sie Grüne” are possible. Go figure. Note that “beide” is not capitalized. The same is true for “andere”:
Wir beiden sind da, aber wo bleiben die anderen? We’re both here, but where are the others?
Hast du etwas anderes zu sagen? Do you have something else to say?
Ich komme mit den anderen. I’ll come with the others.
Diese Tasse ist schmutzig. Ich hole eine andere. This cup is dirty. I’ll fetch a different one.
The adjective may also be in lowercase when the impression is less of an adjective used as a noun than of a noun having been omitted:
Sie hat einen Weißwein bestellt, aber ich nehme einen roten.
She ordered a white wine, but I’ll take a red.
Es gibt wenig gute Schriftsteller, aber er gehört zu den besten.
There are few good writers, but he belongs to the best.
Compare this last example to the following:
Only the best stay calm in difficult situations
Friedrich der Große
August der Starke
  Certain forms appear in apposition:
Friedrich der Große war König von Preußen.
Frederick the Great was the King of Prussia.
Kennst du August den Starken?
Do you know August the Strong?
Der Kaiser gab August dem Starken den Oberbefehl über die österreichischen Truppen.
The Emperor gave August the Strong command of the Austrian troops.
Sanssouci war das Sommerschloss Friedrichs des Großen.
Sanssouci was Frederick the Great’s summer palace.
A more common appositional structure is formed with the pronouns “etwas” or “nichts”
Ich will dir etwas Schönes zeigen. I want to show you something beautiful.
Er führt nichts Gutes im Schilde. He’s up to no good.
Wir reden von etwas Einmaligem. We’re talking about something unique.
The adjectives “viel” and “wenig” sometimes look like pronouns, because they normally take no endings in the singular:
Wir haben wenig Interessantes zu berichten. We have little of interest to report.
Ihr Boss hat viel Gutes über Sie gesagt. Your boss said a lot of good things about you.
Seine Rede enthält wenig Wahres. His speech contains little that is true.
Ordinal numbers act the same way as other adjectives:
The best solution? Every second (person) has already found it. Berliner Sparkasse [Berlin Savings Bank]. Every second Berliner is already our customer. Demand more.
The possessive adjectives form nouns in the same way, except that they are not capitalized:
Ich sehe dein Fahrad, aber wo ist meins? Naja, ich fahre mit ihrem.
I see your bike, but where is mine? Oh well, I’ll take hers.
Er ist Deutscher, und ich bin auch einer.
He’s a German, and I’m one, too.
Sie ist eine Verwandte von mir, also bin ich eine von ihren.
She’s a relative of mine; thus I’m one of hers.
Es gibt mehrere reiche Länder in der Welt, und Deutschland ist eins von den reichsten.
There are several rich countries in the world, and Germany is one of the richest.
Especially when using adjectives that have been derived from present or past participles, it is possible to pack a great deal of information into the adjectival noun:
das Gefundene that which has been found
die Gestorbene the (female) deceased
ein Studierender someone (male) who is studying
ein Studierter someone (male) who has studied
die Betende the praying woman
der Alternde the aging man
das Werdende that which is in the process of becoming
der Auserwählte the chosen (male) one
das Unverhoffte the unexpected
die Leidtragende the (female) mourner

Extravagance is the one true thing
The nominative masculine and neuter and the accusative neuter are different when the article is an “ein-word.” The articles in this category are ein, kein, and the possessive pronouns: mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr, ihr The so-called “der-words” are the articles der, die, das, dies-, jed-, jen-, manch-, solch-, welch-.    ]]>

French Greetings and Basic Phrases

French Language Courses


Bienvenue! Welcome!Bonjour! Hello!Salut! Hi!Je m’appelle Pierre. My name is Pierre. appeler to call J’appelle… I call… Je m’appelle… I call myself… Je m’appelle… My name is… Je m’appelle Pierre. My name is Pierre. Enchanté! Nice to meet you! Comment allez-vous? How are you? aller to goJe vais bien. I am doing (going) well.Vous allez bien. You are doing well.Comment allez-vous? How are you? Je vais bien. Merci. I am doing well.Thank you. Et vous? And you? Je vais très bien. I am doing very well. Très bien. Merci. Very well. Thank you. A bientôt! See you soon! Au revoir! Goodbye! Adieu! Goodbye!

Basic French Lessons – Casual Greetings

Lesson Transcript
FORMALBonjour! Hello!Comment allez-vous? How are you?Je vais bien. Et vous? I am doing well. And you? Ca va bien. Merci. I am doing well. Thank you. Comment vous appelez-vous? What is your name? Je m’appelle Jean. My name is Jean. Au revoir! Goodbye! A bientôt! See you soon! CASUALSalut! Hi!Comment vas-tu? How are you?Très bien! Et toi? Very well! And you? Ca va. I am doing well. I’m alright. Comment t’appelles-tu? What’s your name? Je m’appelle Jean. My name is Jean. Salut! Bye! A plus! See you!
FRENCH LESSON – BASIC FRENCH WORDS / PHRASES Useful everyday words and phrases in French
Yes Oui. (WEE)
No Non. (NOHNG)
Please S’il vous plaît. (seell voo PLEH)
Thank you Merci. (mehr-SEE)
You’re welcome De rien. (duh RYANG)
Excuse me (getting attention) S’il vous plaît (seell voo PLEH)
Excuse me (you’re in my way) Pardon. (pahr-DOHNG)
Excuse me (begging pardon) Excusez-moi. (ehks-kuu-zay MWAH)
I’m sorry Désolé(e). (day-zoh-LAY)
I don’t understand Je ne comprends pas. (ZHUH nuh kohm-PRAHNG pah)
I can’t speak French [well]. Je ne parle pas [bien] français. (zhuh nuh PAHRL pah [byahng] frahng-SEH)
Do you speak English?  Parlez-vous anglais? (PAHR-lay VOOZ ahng-LEH?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?  Est-ce qu’il y a quelqu’un ici qui parle anglais? (ess keel-ee-AH kel-KUHNG ee-SEE kee PAHRL ahng-LEH?)
Where’s the toilet? Où sont les toilettes ? (OOH sohng lay twa-LEHT?)
Help! Au secours ! (os-KOOR!)
Look out! Attention! (ah-TAHNG-see-ohng)
Saying Hello in French / Introducing Yourself / Saying Goodbye in French
Hello (informal / to friends) Salut. (sah-LUU)
Good morning Bonjour. (bohng-ZHOOR)
Good evening Bonsoir. (bohng SWAHR)
How are you? Comment allez-vous? (kuh-mahng tah-lay VOO?)
Fine thank you. Bien, merci. (byahng, mehr-SEE)
What is your name? Comment vous appelez-vous? (kuh-MAWNG vooz ah-puhll-ay VOO?)
My name is… Je m’appelle ….. (zhuh mah-PEHLL……)
Nice to meet you Enchanté(e). (ahng-chahng-TAY)  (takes the extra ‘e’ at the end if you are female)
Goodbye Au revoir. (oh RVWAHR)
Goodbye (informal / to friends) Salut. (sah-LUU)  (yes, the same word as hello!)
Good night (to sleep) Bonne nuit. (buhn NWEE)
lundi (luhn-DEE)
mardi (mahr-DEE)
mercredi (mehr-kruh-DEE)
jeudi (juh-DEE)
vendredi (vahn-druh-DEE)
samedi (sahm-DEE)
dimanche (dee-MAHNSH)
aujourd’hui (aw-zhoor-DWEE)
hier (YEHR)
demain (duh-MANG)
this week
cette semaine (set SMEN)
last week
la semaine dernière (lah SMEN dehr-NYEHR)
next week
la semaine prochaine (lah SMEN proh-SHEN)
Learn to speak French MONTHS OF THE YEAR
janvier (zhahng-VYAY)
février (fay-VRYAY)
mars (mahrs)
avril (ah-VREEL)
mai (meh)
juin (zhwang)
juillet (zhwee-YAY)
août (oot)
septembre (set-TAHMBR)
octobre (ock-TOHBR)
novembre (noh-VAHMBR)
décembre (day-SAHMBR)
What’s the weather like? Quel temps fait-il?
It’s cold (It’s very cold) Il fait froid (Il fait très froid)
It’s hot (It’s very hot) Il fait chaud (Il fait très chaud)
It’s cool Il fait frais
It’s sunny Il fait du soleil
It’s cloudy Il fait des nuages
It’s windy Il fait du vent
It’s foggy Il fait du brouillard
It’s stormy Il fait des orages
The temperature is 20 degrees La température est 20 degrés
A table for one person/two people, please. 
Une table pour une personne/deux personnes, je vous prie. (uun TAHBL poor uun/deu pehr-SOHN zhuh voo PREE)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Puis-je avoir le menu? (PWEEZH ah-VWAHR luh muh-NUU?)
Is there a house speciality? 
Quelle est la spécialité de la maison ? (KELL eh lah spay-see-ah-lee-TAY duh lah meh-ZOHNG?)
Is there a local speciality? 
Y a-t-il une spécialité locale ? (yah-TEEL uun spay-see-ah-lee-TAY loh-KAHL?)
I’m a vegetarian. 
Je suis végétarien. (zhuh SWEE vay-zhay-tah-RYAHNG)
I don’t eat pork. 
Je ne mange pas de porc. (zhuh nuh mahnzh PAH duh POHR)
I only eat kosher food. 
Je ne mange que de la viande cachère. (zhuh nuh MAHNZH kuh duh lah VYAHND kah-SHEHR)
petit-déjeuner (ptee-day-zheu-NAY)
déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY)
dîner (dee-NAY)
souper (soo-PAY)
I want _____. 
Je voudrais _____. (zhuh voo-DREH _____)  
I want a dish containing _____. 
Je voudrais un plat avec _____. (zhuh voo-DREH ung plah ah-VEK _____)
beans des haricots (dez ah-ree-KOH)
beef du boeuf (duu BUFF)
bread  du pain (duu pang)
chicken du poulet (duu poo-LEH)
clams des palourdes (deh pah-LOORD)
cheese du fromage (duu froh-MAHZH)
cod de la morue (duh lah moh-RUU)
eggs  / one egg des oeufs (dehz UH) / un oeuf (un UF)
fish du poisson (duu pwa-SONG)
frogs des grenouilles (deh gruh-NOOEY)
(fresh) fruit des fruits (frais) (frwee (freh))
ham du jambon (duu zhahng-BONG)
lobster du homard (duu oh-MAR)
mussels des moules (deh MOOL)
noodles des pâtes (deh PAHT), des nouilles (deh NOOEY)
oysters des huîtres (dez WEETR)
pork du porc (duu POHR/)
rice du riz (duu REE)
salad une salade (uun sah-LAHD)
salmon du saumon (duu saw-MONG)
sausage des saucisses (deh saw-SEESS)
seafood des fruits de mer (deh frwee duh MEHR)
snails des escargots (dez es-car-GOH)
toast toast (said the same as English!)
tuna du thon (duu TONG)
(fresh) vegetables des légumes (frais) (deh lay-guum FREH)
whiting du merlan (duu mehr-LANG)
May I have a glass of _____? 
Puis-je avoir un verre de _____? (pweezh ah-VWAHR ung VEHR duh _____?)  
May I have a cup of _____? 
Puis-je avoir une tasse de _____? (pweezh ah-VWAHR uun TAHSS duh _____?)  
May I have a bottle of _____? 
Puis-je avoir une bouteille de _____? (pweezh ah-VWAHR uun boo-TEYY duh _____?)
beer bière (byehr)
coffee café (kah-FAY)
juice jus (zhuu)
red wine vin rouge (vang roozh)
sparkling water / still water eau gazeuse (oh gah-ZUHZ) / eau (oh)
tea thé (tay)
white wine vin blanc (vang blahng)
May I have some _____? 
Puis-je avoir du _____? (pweezh ah-VWAHR duu)
black pepper poivre
butter buerre
salt sel
sugar sucre
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server
S’il vous plait ?
I’m finished. 
J’ai fini.
It was delicious. 
C’était délicieux.
Please clear the plates. 
Vous pouvez débarasser la table.
The check, please. 
L’addition, s’il vous plaît FRENCH LESSON – ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS
Where is the _____ ?
Où se trouve _____ ? (oo stroov _____)
the train station?  la gare ? (lah gahr?)
the bus station?  la gare routière ? (lah gahr roo-TYEHR?)
the airport? l’aéroport ? (lah-ay-roh-POR?
the town centre / downtown? le centre-ville ? (luh sahng-truh-VEEL?)
the suburbs?  la banlieue ? (lah bahng-LYEU?)
the youth hostel? l’auberge de jeunesse ? (law-BEHRZH duh zhuh-NESS)
the _____ hotel?  l’hôtel _____ ? (loh-TEL)
Where are there a lot of… 
Où y’a-t-il des… (oo yah-TEEL day)
hotels? hôtels? (z oh-TELL)
restaurants? restaurants? (res-taw-RAHNG)
bars? bars? (bahr)
sights to see?  sites à visiter ? (seets ah vee-zee-TAY)
Can you show me on the map? 
Pouvez-vous me montrer sur la carte ? (poo-vay-VOO muh mohn-TRAY suur lah KAHRT?)
street  rue (ruu)
left / turn left gauche (GAWSH)  / tournez à gauche. (toor-nay ah GAWSH)
right / turn right droite (DRWAHT)  / tournez à droite. (toor-nay ah DRWAHT)
straight ahead en face (ahng fahs)
towards the _____ vers le/la _____ (vehr luh/lah)
past the _____ après le/la _____ (ah-PREH luh/lah)
before the _____ avant le/la _____ (ah-VAHNG luh/lah)
watch for the _____ repérez le/la _____. (ruh-pay-RAY luh/lah)
intersection intersection (ang-tehr-seck-SYOHNG)
north nord (nohr)
south sud (suud)
east est (est)
west ouest (west)
uphill en haut (ahng OH)
downhill en bas (ahng BAH)
Do you have any rooms available? 
Avez-vous des chambres libres ? (ah-vay-VOO dey shahmbr LEEBR?)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Combien coûte une chambre pour une personne/deux personnes ? (kohm-byahng KOOT uun shahmbr poor uun/duh pehr-SON?)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Le petit-déjeuner/souper est-il inclus ? (luh ptee day-zhuh-NAY / soo-PAY eht-eel ang-KLUU?)
Does the room come with… 
Est-ce que dans la chambre il y a… (ESK dahng lah SHAHMBR eel yah …)  
a bathroom une salle de bain ? (uun sahl ah BANG?)
a telephone un téléphone ? (ung tay-lay-FOHN?)
a TV une télé ? (uun tay-LAY?)
May I see the room first? 
Puis-je visiter la chambre ? (pweezh vee-zee-TAY lah SHAHMBR?)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Pouvez-vous me suggérer un autre hôtel? (poo-vay VOO muh suu-zhay-RAY ung ohtr oh-TEL?)
Do you have anything…..
Vous n’avez pas de chambre….(voo nah-vay PAH duh shahmbr..)
quieter? plus tranquille ? ( pluu trahng-KEEL?)
cheaper?  moins chère? (… mwang SHEHR?)
bigger?  plus grande ? (… pluu GRAHND?)
cleaner?  plus propre ? (… pluu PROHPR?)
OK, I’ll take it. 
OK, je la prends. (oh-KAY, zhuh lah PRAHNG)
I will stay for _____ night(s).   (see the section on numbers)
Je compte rester _____ nuit(s). (zhuh KOMT res-TAY _____ nwee)
Do you have a safe? 
Avez-vous un coffre-fort ? (ah-vay VOO ung kofr FOR?)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
À quelle heure est le petit-déjeuner/souper ? (ah kel UR eh luh ptee day-zhuh-NAY / soo-PAY?)
Please clean my room. 
Veuillez nettoyer ma chambre. (vuh-YAY net-wah-YAY ma SHAHMBR)
Can you wake me at _____? 
Pouvez-vous me réveiller à _____? (poo-vay VOO muh ray-vay-YAY ah _____)
I want to check out. 
Je veux vous signaler mon départ. (zhuh vuh voo see-nyah-LAY mong day-PAR)
How much is this? 
Combien ça coûte ?
bon marché
That’s too expensive. 
C’est trop cher.
Would you take _____? 
Pourriez-vous accepter _____?
I can’t afford it. 
Je n’ai pas les moyens.
I don’t want it. 
Je ne le veux pas.
I’m not interested. 
Je ne suis pas intéressé.
OK, I’ll take it. 
OK, je vais le/la prendre.
Do you have this in my size? 
Avez-vous ceci dans ma taille ?
Can I have a bag? 
Je pourrais avoir un sac ?
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Livrez-vous (outre-mer/à l’étranger) ?
Useful phrases at a French pharmacy / chemists / drugstore:
I need…. J’ai besoin… 
toothpaste de dentifrice.
toothbrush d’une brosse à dents
tampons de tampons
soap de savon
shampoo de shampooing
pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen d’un analgésique (aspirine, ibuprofen)
medicine for a cold d’un médicament pour le rhume
stomach medicine d’un remède pour l’estomac
a razor d’un rasoir.
sunblock cream d’écran solaire
Useful phrases at the post office / newsagents in France:
How much is it to send a letter to the United States / to England? C’est combien pour envoyer une lettre aux Etats-Unis / en Angleterre?
Airmail poste aérienne
Registered recommandé
A parcel un colis
I need…. J’ai besoin… 
a postcard d’une carte postale
stamps de timbres
writing paper de papier à lettres
a pen d’un stylo
English language books de livres en anglais
English language magazines de magazines en anglais
English language newspaper d’un journal en anglais
French-English dictionary d’un dictionnaire français-anglais

German Nouns

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="851"]German Classses German Languages Classes[/caption]

German Nouns

First of all, in case you are wondering ‘What is a noun?’ Quite simply, a noun is the name of a place, person, animal, idea or thing. For example, the ‘house’, a ‘cow’, the ‘garden’, a ‘table’. As you see, nouns normally appear after such words as ‘the’ and ‘a’. Unlike in English, all nouns in German have a gender – yep, just like you and I! That is, German nouns are either masculine, feminine or – and this may be a new word for you – neuter. Neuter nouns are generally – but not exclusively – related to inanimate objects (i.e. neither female nor male). This concept of nouns having genders is not actually too difficult to understand. It does, however, sound odd to our English ears as there is hardly any notion of this anymore in modern English. You will not be able to avoid this ‘gender’ issue if you are serious about learning German, so, my tip, get used to learning nouns together with their ‘definite articles’ – the equivalent of ‘the’ in English – straight away. Why? Because the ‘definite article’ will indicate the noun’s gender. And, yes, you might have already guessed it, this means there is more than one word for ‘the’ in German. German Language Classses Here are the German ‘definite articles’ – the different ways to say ‘the’ in German – in the ‘nominative case’ with some noun examples: (You will find a link to German cases at the end of this lesson, but don’t worry too much about ‘cases’ at the moment particularly if you are a complete beginner.) 1.) Masculine German nouns take the definite article: ‘der’. For example, der Tisch (the table) 2.) Feminine German nouns take the definite article: ‘die’. For example, die Musik (the music) 3.) Neuter German nouns take the definite article: ‘das’.  For example, das Kind (the child) Therefore, do not just learn the word for ‘table’ (Tisch) in German, learn its ‘definite article’ as well, for example ‘the table’ (der Tisch). Need some more examples? Listed below you will find a sample of German nouns listed according to gender. Make sure you learn these useful German nouns together with their respective ‘definite article’.
Masculine Nouns Feminine Nouns Neuter Nouns
der Tag (day) die Zeit (time) das Wasser (water)
der Mensch (person) die Liebe (love) das Kind (child)
der Stadtplan (map) die Welt (world) das Buch (book)
der Computer (computer) die Bank (bank) das Jahr (year)
der Geruch (smell) die Regierung (government) das Leben (life)
der Anzug (suit) die Musik (music) das Geld (money)
der Berg (mountain) die Sonne (sun) das Tier (animal)
der Wind (wind) die Stadt (city) das Land (country)
der Stoff (material) die Zahl (number) das Handy (mobile phone)
der Mann (man) die Frau (woman) das Unternehmen (company)
Gender Guidelines You will be glad to hear there are some guidelines as to which gender a noun will take. But never forget there are always exceptions to the rules, particularly when it comes to the gender of a German noun! German German German German nouns are likely to be… 1.) …masculine and take ‘der’ if:- – referring to male human beings and the male of an animal species.* – referring to the days of the week, months, seasons as well as directions. – the noun ends with ‘ling’. 2.) …feminine and take ‘die’ if:- – the noun ends with any of the following: ‘ei’, ‘heit’, ‘keit’, ‘ung’, ‘schaft’. For example: die Freundschaft – friendship. – the noun denotes a female being – and sometimes female animal. For example: die Frau – the woman.* 3.) …neuter and take ‘das’ if:- – the noun ends in ‘chen’, ‘lein’, ‘icht’, ‘tum’, ‘ett’, ‘ium’, ‘ment’.   – referring to the names of towns, cities, countries as well as continents. *Be aware: Many German nouns are classified, however, as being masculine, feminine or neuter even though they are not referring to males, females or inanimate objects. For example: das Mädchen. This means girl in German and takes ‘neuter’, but a girl is clearly a female being. Slightly confusing, I know! Plural This lesson so far has focused on nouns and their respective definite articles in the singular form (i.e. one unit: the house), rather than the plural form (i.e. several units: the houses). The ‘definite article’ for all plural nouns in German is ‘die’. In English, it is of course still ‘the’. Easy to remember, huh? In English, the noun itself becomes plural in the majority of cases by adding an ‘s’ at the end (houses for example). In German, however, here is where it gets a little more complicated. While a few plural nouns will end in ‘s’ (e.g. die Hotels), the majority form plurals in a variety of different ways. The only way to be sure of the noun in the plural is to check in a dictionary. (By the way, a really great free online English-German dictionary is Over time you will remember the plural forms and just start to get a feeling for them. But if you are curious as to some of these patterns and you feel ready to digest more information, I have listed a few just below (if you’re not ready, jump straight to ‘Wrap-up’ below): Masculine nouns: Nouns ending in ‘en’, ‘el or ‘er’ may not have an ending at all. Therefore, the word will remain exactly the same. You will only be ableto tell the noun is referring to several teachers for example, rather than one, purely by the plural definite article: der Lehrer (singular), die Lehrer (plural). Speak German Other masculine nouns may add an ‘umlaut’ to the vowel in the word. For example: der Mantel, die Mäntel (the coat, the coats) and others will have an additional ‘e’ or umlaut plus an ‘e’. For example: der Weg, die Wege (the path, the paths) and der Busbahnhof, die Busbahnhöfe (the bus station, the bus stations). Feminine nouns: The majority of feminine plural nouns will end in ‘(e)n’. For example, die Rose, die Rosen (the rose, the roses) and die Zahl, die Zahlen (the number, the numbers). Nouns ending in ‘in’ will have an added ‘nen’ in the plural. For example: die Lehrerin, die Lehrerinnen (the teacher, the teachers – female). Neuter nouns: Nouns ending in ‘lein’ or ‘chen’ do not change. Once again, only the definite article will indicate if the noun is referring to several girls for example, or just one girl: das Mädchen (singular), die Mädchen (plural).

Some Rules of Noun Formation

Nouns that describe an occupation or a type of person are usually masculine. Many of them are formed by attaching an er ending to a verb or noun. These er nouns have no change in the plural:
die Musik music der Musiker (male) musician die Musiker multiple (male) musicians
lehren to teach der Lehrer (male) teacher die Lehrer multiple (male) teachers
Even the ones that don’t fit the er pattern tend to be masculine. But their plural forms can vary:
der Arzt (male) doctor die Ärzte multiple (male) doctors
der Matrose sailor die Matrosen multiple (male) sailors
The feminine version is formed by adding an in, and it always has the same plural. With the non-“er” forms, they often add an umlaut:
die Musikerin female musician die Musikerinnen multiple female musicians
die Lehrerin female teacher die Lehrerinnen multiple female teachers
die Ärztin female doctor die Ärztinnen multiple female doctors
die Matrosin female sailor die Matrosinnen multiple female sailors
Like many other languages, German is struggling a little to create modern gender-neutral noun forms; a construction like “Lehrer/in” is a common approach, but it doesn’t always work: you can’t say “Arzt/in,” because you’d be leaving out the umlaut on the feminine form. Sometimes you’ll also see the present participle, Lehrende: “[those who are] teaching.” Another particular problem in German is that there’s no single form for a mixed-gender group: for example, speeches in East Germany often began with the awkward Liebe Genossen und Genossinnen (“Dear male comrades and female comrades”). There are many other standard noun formations, but for now we’ll just cover two of the most common. The first is the ung ending, which converts a verb to a noun. These nouns are always feminine, they all have the same en plural, and they include some of the most common words in German:
wohnen to live die Wohnung home, apartment/flat die Wohnungen homes, apartments
zahlen to pay die Zahlung payment die Zahlungen payments
regieren to rule, govern die Regierung government die Regierungen governments
impfen to vaccinate die Impfung vaccination die Impfungen vaccinations
This looks like the English “ing” ending, but as you can see above, it rarely translates that way. And in the other direction, “-ing” verb forms in English (walking, talking) generally do not translate to “ung” nouns in German. Finally, there are the endings heit and keit, which convert an adjective into a noun and roughly correspond to the English “ness.” As with ung, these endings always make the noun feminine and always take an en plural:
krank sick, ill die Krankheit sickness, illness die Krankheiten illnesses
möglich possible die Möglichkeit possibility die Möglichkeiten possibilities
schwierig difficult die Schwierigkeit difficulty die Schwierigkeiten difficulties

Diminutive Endings

Diminutive noun endings in German are used for a smaller version of something, or just to communicate cuteness, informality or affection. We don’t have many diminutive endings in English, and the ones we do have are usually just a matter of size, without the other connotations: for example, let as in “piglet” or “booklet.” There are many different diminutive endings in regional German dialects, some of which you’ve already heard — like the li in muesli cereal or the el in Hansel & Gretel. But there are only two in standard German: chen and lein. You need to remember three main things about chen and lein:
  • they always make the noun neuter;
  • they never change in the plural; and
  • they usually add an umlaut to the base word when they can
Here are a few examples:
der Tisch table das Tischlein small table die Tischleinsmall tables
die Mausmouse das Mäuschen (cute) little mouse die Mäuschen(cute) little mice
das Brot bread das Brötchen bread roll die Brötchenbread rolls
There are a few common diminutives in German where the base word has fallen out of use, but they still follow the above rules. Two examples are das Märchen (fairy tale, “little story”) anddas Mädchen (girl, “little maid”). It’s possible to take things too far: even some native speakers find expressions like Hallöchen (for Hallo) or Alles Klärchen (for Alles Klar, “understood”) to be overly cute or ditzy. Some nouns can take either chen or lein, but for others, one is more standard than the other. There’s no clear rule for this, but you shouldn’t be making up your own diminutives anyway. It’s more a matter of recognizing them when you see or hear them.

German Cases

German Learning

German Cases

First of all, what is a case? No, it’s not a suitcase, or any other kind of ‘case’ as you know it! A grammatical case is simply a way to show which role each noun (a person, thing or object) plays in a sentence. German nouns appear in four cases, depending on their function in a sentence. The four German cases are called the: nominative case, accusative case, genitive case and dative case. Are you wondering: ‘Do I really have to learn all about these pesky German cases?’ Or maybe: ‘Why are they so important?’ Quite simply you must find time to learn the German cases if you are serious about learning German properly, because certain German words change their form – the official word is ‘decline’ – depending on which case is being used, an example in English would be ‘she’ to ‘her’. In German there are a whole host of different forms for ‘the’ and ‘a’, for example, depending on which case is being used and, of course, the gender of the noun. Even adjectives (descriptive words such as ‘beautiful’ for example) are declined differently in German depending on the case, but let’s look at that in another lesson. Enough chat. Let’s take a look at the four German cases and find out how to work out which case is which. Nominative case The subject of a sentence is always in the nominative case. The subject is normally the person or thing performing the action of a verb. For example: Thomas fährt das Auto. (Thomas drives the car) Thomas is the subject as he is driving the car. He is performing the action of the verb: the driving and is thusin the nominative case. Accusative case The direct object is always in the accusative case. A direct object is the person or thing which directly receives the action of the verb. Tip: You can ask: ‘what?’ or ‘whom?’ of the verb to identify the direct object. A couple of examples: 1.) Thomas fährt ein Auto. (Thomas drives a car) ‘A car’ is the direct object as that is ‘what’ is being driven and thus ‘a car’ takes the accusative case. 2.) Wir wissen die Antwort. (We know the answer) ‘The answer’ is the direct object as that is ‘what’ is known. So why is it important to know what the direct object of a sentence is? Because in German, the article (definite article = the / indefinite article = a/an) of a masculine noun in the accusative case changes, for example, from ‘der’ to ‘den’ and ‘ein’ to ‘einen’. This change will be demonstrated towards the end of this lesson in a German case table. Learn to speak German Dative case The dative case identifies the indirect object of a sentence. The indirect object is the thing indirectly affected by the action of the verb. A good way to identify the indirect object if you are not sure is by asking ‘to whom’ or ‘for whom’ with the subject and verb of a particular sentence. A couple of examples: 1.) Ich habe dem Mann ein Geschenk gekauft. (I bought the man a present) For whom did I buy the present? ‘The man’ is the indirect object. 2.) Ich habe dem Baby die Rassel gegeben. (I gave the baby a rattle) To whom did I give the rattle? ‘The baby’ is the indirect object. So why is it important to know what the indirect object of a sentence is? Because in German, the articles (definite article = the / indefinite article = a/an) of all nouns (feminine / masculine / neuter / plural) change. These changes will be demonstrated in a table towards the end of this lesson. Learn to speak German Genitive case The primary function of the genitive case is to demonstrate possession. The person or thing that possesses, i.e. the ‘possessor’, is in the genitive case. It is very similar to the ‘s’ or ‘of’ in English. Let’s look at some examples: 1.) Das ist die Tasche des Lehrers. (That is the teacher’s bag) The bag is possessed by ‘the teacher’, therefore, ‘the teacher’ is in the genitive case. 2.) Das ist das Auto des Nachbarns. (That is the neighbour’s car) The car is possessed by ‘the neighbour’, therefore, ‘the neighbour’ is in the genitive case. You will notice that the possessed person or object comes first followed by the possessor. Why is the genitive case important to learn? Because the definite and the indefinite articles of all nouns will change form in the genitive case, as demonstrated in the tables below. German A1 Grammatical Tables – The German Cases Some of the most important aspects of German grammar are detailed in the three tables right below and can be seen as a summary of this lesson so far. Tip of the entire lesson: make it a priority to learn the content of these three tables off by heart – it will help you so much in so many ways and is core to many other elements of German grammar. The first table will list the various words for ‘the’ in all four German cases. The second table will detail the words for ‘a’ / ‘an’ in German and the third table will detail personal pronouns in German in the various cases, such as ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’ and ‘she’. By the way, personal pronouns are simply small words which replace nouns i.e. ‘it’, instead of ‘the car’. Table 1 – Definite articles by case  (i.e. the various ways of saying ‘the’ in German depending on the case / gender of noun)
Case Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der die das die
Accusative den die das die
Dative dem der dem den
Genitive des der des der
Table 2 – Indefinite articles by case  (i.e. the various ways of saying ‘a’ and ‘an’ in German depending on the case / gender of noun)
Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ein eine ein
Accusative einen eine ein
Dative einem einer einem
Genitive eines einer eines
Table 3 – Personal pronouns by case  (The small words which replace nouns i.e. ‘it’, ‘she’, ‘he’ depending on the case)
Nominative Accusative Dative English translation
ich mich mir I / me / to me
du dich dir you / you / to you (informal singular*)
er ihn ihm he / him / to him
sie sie ihr she / her / to her
es es ihm it / it / to it
wir uns uns we / us / to us
ihr euch euch you / you / to you (informal plural**)
Sie Sie Ihnen you / you / to you (formal singular or plural***)
sie sie ihnen they / them / to them

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