Der, Die, or Das?

Are there any ways to tell which one to use?

January 29, 2017


Feminine = die

  • Female people and animals (Exceptions: das Mädchen, das Kind)
  • Nouns ending in -ung, -ion, -heit, -keit, -tät, -ik, -schaft
  • Most nouns ending in -ur, -ie, -ei
  • Many nouns ending in -e
  • Polysyllabic nouns ending in -enz and -anz
  • German rivers (except for "der Rhein" and "der Main")
  • Nouns formed from verb stems ending in -t ( ex. die Fahrt, die Schrift)

Masculine = der

  • Male people and animals
  • Nouns ending in -us
  • Nouns ending in -en (except for infinitives)
  • Nouns ending in -ling (except English loanwords)
  • Nouns ending in -eich (except das Reich)
  • Most nouns ending in -ig or -ich
  • Most nouns formed from verb stems
  • Monosyllabic nouns ending in -anz
  • Most non-German rivers
  • Instruments/things that do things ending in -er and -or
  • Days, months, seasons, most weather elements
  • Compass directions
  • Car brands

Neuter = das

  • Human and animal babies
  • Verb infinitives
  • Nouns with diminutive suffixes (-chen, -lein, -l, -le, -erl, -el, -li, -i, etc)
  • Nouns ending in -ment, -um
  • Most nouns ending in -it
  • Most collectives starting with Ge-
  • Most elements on the periodic table
  • Most countries
  • Foreign words
  • English loanwords ending in -ing
  • Greek loanwords ending in -ma

Plurals = die

  • All plurals = die
  • Collective nouns are not considered plurals
January 29, 2017

What about 'das Auto' of Volkswagen?

Das Auto is a loanword, and it's not the name of a car brand but the generic german noun for 'car'.

Not sure I understand the question.

"Das Auto" is in no way "of Wolkwagen". In the American ads, they simply say that on the end.

Das Auto is not a car make or even a model. It is simply a word meaning "car". It fits into my "Neutral" list because it is a foreign word. (As relox84 has already stated).

Car brands are always masculine because they are a type of "Wagen", which is "der Wagen". So especially in the case of Volkswagen it is masculine.

Das Auto is short for das Automobil.

There actually is a set of rules that help determine which article to use with a certain noun. As GlobalJim711 basically said, there are some exceptions to most of these rules. Nevertheless, they can be helpful.

I attempted to find an online list that explained these rules in a user friendly way, but I didn't find any I thought were worth posting. If you have a library near where you live, it is possible they will have a German grammar book, which should have these rules listed (most grammar books do).

The one rule that (I think) has no exceptions is that any word ending with "chen" or "lein" will be "das".

I'm guessing you are a beginner. There is no simple way that is always correct; however, nouns that end with a consonant are often either der or das, whereas words that end in e are often die. The noun must be singular and in the nominative case. Good news - all plural nouns are Die, again in the nominate case. Still there will be many exceptions, but at least it is a start.

Yeah like das geldautomat in german that means the gold ATM

No it doesn't.

Geld does not mean gold in German.

Geld means money. Automat usually means vending machine or dispenser. You could also just translate it as machine or teller.

ATM means automated teller machine.

Money vending-machine

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