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The gender of nouns in German


There are three gender groups in German: masculine, feminine or neuter:

 

der (ein) Mann (m) - a man (masculine - Maskulinum),

die (eine) Frau (f) - a woman (feminine - Femininum),

das (ein) Fenster (n) - a window (neuter - Neutrum).

 

The gender in German is expressed through the article.

Of course the man will be masculine, and the woman feminine. 

However, turn your attention to some "peculiarities":   

 

das Weib (woman, old woman) and das Mädchen (girl, maiden) is of the neuter gender.  

 

 It is better to learn words in German together with their articles!

Sometimes, you can guess the gender of the word by its form. For example, by the ending of the word: 

die Melodie - a melody,

die Situation - a situation,

die Kultur - a culture,

die Tendenz - a tendency,

die Spezialität - traditional food (of any region),

die Malerei - painting,

die Festung - a fortress,

die Freiheit - freedom,

die Möglichkeit - an opportunity,

die Wissenschaft - a science ...

 

Some suffixes that correspond to the masculine gender, on the contrary, are indicative of the feminine gender: die Region - a region, die Diagnose - a diagnosis, die Garage - a garage...

Words ending in -e, most often are of the feminine gender: die Wanne - a bath, die Woche - a week. But: der Junge - a boy.

Note also that the words ending in -ling are always of the masculine gender: der Lehrling - a student, apprentice.

The masculine gender includes many monosyllabic (sometimes disyllabic - because of the prefix) nouns, formed from verbs:

der Beginn <- beginnen (a beginning - to begin), der Blick <- blicken (a view - to view), der Klang <- klingen (a sound - to sound), der Begriff <- begreifen (an understanding - to understand), der Sieg <- siegen (a win - to win). But: das Spiel <- spielen (a play - to play).

It substantially simplifies that you can use an indefinite form of any verb and attach the neuter article to it. You will get name of the process:

das Sprechen <- sprechen (speaking - to speak), das Leben <- leben (a life - to live), das Essen <- essen (food - to eat).

 

It is interestingly that some nouns, depending on the gender, have different meanings. For example:

 

der See (the lake) - die See (the sea),

der Band (a volume) - das Band (a tape),

das Steuer (a wheel, a steering wheel) - die Steuer (a tax),

der Leiter (a leader) - die Leiter (a ladder),

der Tor (a fool) - das Tor (a gate),

der Schild (a shield) - das Schild (a signboard, a signplate),

der Bauer (a peasant) - das Bauer (a cage)

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