German Gender of Nouns


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

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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. While you are at it, check out this blog article.

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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