German Gender of Nouns

    Beginner German - Level A1


    The German language has 3 genders when it comes to declining nouns. Learn about the three genders of nouns (masculine, feminine, neuter)


    Numbers, people, occupations

    German A1.1

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    German A1

    Gender of Nouns

    The gender of nouns is a feature of German that is not found in English. Nouns are either masculine, neuter, or feminine, and there are some basic rules for determining their gender.

    Masculine Nouns

    Masculine nouns include those that refer to male individuals, nationalities, professions, directions (e.g. der Westen), times of day (e.g. evening), days, months, and seasons. In addition, most (singular) nouns that end with -en, -el-er, and -ling, nouns ending with  -är, -ar, -or, -ich, -ant, -ent, -eur, -ismus-ist, and -ier  are masculine, Furthermore, brand names of cars are masculine (e.g. der Porsche, der Volkswagen).

    Examples: der Lehrling - the apprentice 
                      der Rasen - the lawn

    Feminine Nouns

    Female individuals, professions and nationalities, nouns ending with an unstressed -e or in -heit, -kei-ung, -tät, -ion, -age, -ur, -schaft, -ei, -ie, -anz, -enz, and -ik are feminine. Numbers, brands of motorcycles, and ships are also feminine (e.g. die Zwei, die Zehn, die Honda, die Titanic).

    Examples: die Landschaft - the landscape 
                      die Universität - the university

    Neuter Nouns

    Nouns referring to young humans and animals, using diminutive suffixes -sel, -lein and -chen (e.g. das Baby, das Mädchen), letters (e.g. das A, das Z), infinitival nouns/gerunds (e.g. das Essen, das Schwimmen), nominalizations of adjectives (e.g. das Gute, das Beste) and the majority of metals. Nouns ending with -um, -tum, and -ment, but also names of most cities, countries, and continents are neuter.

    Examples: das Wachstum - the growth
                      das Universum - the universe 


    Some words, especially borrowed or “loan” words (i.e. words taken from other languages), are a little more difficult to predict in terms of gender. Generally speaking, these words’ genders are often determined by their German equivalents/counterparts or their endings:

    das Training  —  follows gerund rule, i.e. always neuter
    das Apartment  —  ‘-ment’ suffix is always neuter

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