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Declension of decades: "1990er", etc.

Hi, I'm not really sure what to call this kind of declension and hence how to find resources about it, but I'm wondering by what logic you can end up with a phrase like in den 1990er, meaning "in the 1990s".

It looks to me like in den is dative plural, and then I would expect the year to decline like dates do, but in that case it would be 1990en.

Somehow this has gotten me quite confused - can anyone help or direct me to a rule that outlines it (in English or German)?


October 19, 2017



You are right: In den (19)90ern is correct.

The other thingy is made out of lazyness or grammatical ignorance.

Edit: In den 1990er would be valid if you say "In den 1990er Jahren", though


    Right, but that still doesn't really help me understand what's going on there grammatically! :)


    Hi az,

    die Jahre - welche Jahre? alle, die in der Decade 1990+ sind.- alle 90er oder die Neunziger.

    So I would say this phrase refers to the plural of years das Jahr / die Jahre. You define which years you exactly mean. So if someone asks "In welcher Zeit bist Du aufgewachsen" you say "in den (19)90ern" "Welche Zeit würdest Du gerne erleben?" "Die 60er"

    It's a little bit hard to explain was it a little bit helpful?

    best regards Angel


      Well not really, because I'm still wondering why it's -er instead of -e or -en. When talking about days for example you'd say am Erst -en or der Erst -e, with those endings corresponding to adjective declension. I'm wondering why it's not adjective declension that applies to decades, and what reason if any there is for the -er to be there.

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