German Noun Declension

Regular declension, n-declension and exceptions There are three genders for nouns in German: Masculine (männlich), feminine (weiblich) and neuter (sächlich).

Capitalized Nouns

One important thing as we get started: All nouns are written with the first letter capitalized. “the house” is written as “das Haus”. Regular declension, n-declension and exceptions


There are three genders in German: masculine (männlich), feminine (weiblich) and neuter (sächlich). Usually, the gender of a noun is determined by its ending. The articles der, die and das are used with nouns to indicate their gender:
  • der Mann (the man) [Masculine Noun]
  • die Frau (the woman) [Feminine Noun]
  • das Kind (the child) [Neuter Noun]
It’s not easy to know which gender a noun is. There are a few rules for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. However, usually there is no choice but to learn each word’s gender.


A noun in English, “house” for example, does not change even if we change the role it plays in a phrase. The house is pretty (“house” is the subject in this case) We bought a house (“a house” is the direct object). As you see, the word house is not declined. You just add “s” in English to make the plural. It’s very simple. Unfortunately, it is not always like this in German. This might cause you a bit of despair when you start learning German. For example, in the phrase, “Erkrankungen des Herzens”, the word “Herzens” (heart in genitive form) does not appear in the dictionary. That is because it is declined and, instead of that word, you have to look for “Herz” (heart in nominative form). It is a bit complicated but don’t worry about it. you will get it.

Regular noun declension

As a general rule, an “-n” or an “-an” are added to all nouns in the dative plural. If the noun in the plural ends with “-n” or “-s,” nothing will be added.

Masculine or Neuter Nouns

An “-s” or an “-es” is added in the genitive singular. Sometimes both options are ok. In general, if a word ends with “-e”, an “-s” is added in the genitive and if it ends with “-s” or “-z” and “-es” is added. Example for a neuter noun:
Singular Plural
Nominative das Gas die Gase
Accusative das Gas die Gase
Dative dem Gas also: dem Gase den Gasen
Genitive des Gases der Gase
Although it is not very common today, sometimes an “-e” is added to the dative singular. Nowadays, you can see this is some phrases:

Ich gehe nach Hause I am going home

Hause is the old declension in the dative singular for das Haus (house).

Dem deutschen Volke For the German people

Volke is the classic declension of Volk (people) in the dative singular.

Feminine Nouns

Feminine nouns do not change in the genitive singular.
Singular Plural
Nominative die Kraft die Kräfte
Accusative die Kraft die Kräfte
Dative der Kraft den Kräften
Genitive der Kraft der Kräfte
Interestingly, a large portion of feminine plural nouns end with “-n,” meaning that luckily the majority of feminine plural nouns do not change.
Singular Plural
Nominative die Lampe die Lampen
Accusative die Lampe die Lampen
Dative der Lampe den Lampen
Genitive der Lampe der Lampen


Some masculine nouns and a few neuter ones have a declension that is different from the usual one and it is called the “N-Deklination” (N-Declension).
Singular Plural
Nominative der Kunde die Kunden
Accusative den Kunden die Kunden
Dative dem Kunden den Kunden
Genitive des Kunden der Kunden
If we look closely at all of the forms except for the nominative singular, they have an “-n” ending. This is why it is called “N-Deklination”. Sometimes, an “-en” is added instead of adding an “-n”. For example, the noun “Mensch”.

Examples of nouns with n declension

  • Most masculine nouns ending with “-e” but not der See or der Käse or der Deutsche and which represents professions or nationalities or people such as der Experte.
  • Many nouns that represent professions or nationalities or people such as: der Herr, der Astronom, der Architekt.
  • Latin or Greek words ending with:-at as in der Soldat, der Advokat, der Diplomat.-ant as in der Elefant, der Diamant, der Lieferant.-ent as in der Student.-ist as in der Journalist, der Zivilist, der Violinist, der Polizist.

N-Deklination + genitive with “ns”

Sometimes, the genitive is formed with “-ns” instead of “-n”.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Name die Namen
Accusative den Namen die Namen
Dative dem Namen den Namen
Genitive des Namens der Namen
Examples of nouns with genitive “-ns”: der Friede, der Name, der Funke, der Gedanke, der Glaube, der Same, der Wille, der Buchstabe.


Doubling the -s

Some nouns that end with “-s” have another “-s” added in the declension.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Bus die Busse
Accusative den Bus die Busse
Dative dem Bus den Bussen
Genitive des Busses der Busse
A short reminder about pronunciation: The “ss” indicates that the preceding vowel is shortened.

Das Herz

“Herz” has an irregular declension. It is also one of the few neuter nouns with the “-n” declension.
Singular Plural
Nominative das Herz die Herzen
Accusative das Herz die Herzen
Dative dem Herzen den Herzen
Genitive des Herzens der Herzen

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