1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. The in german


The in german

How do I know what kind of "the" to put before a word and why?

For example: what do I put before Katze? Der, das, or die?

February 6, 2018



One memorizes the gender with the word. So the word for apple is "der Apfel" and not just "Apfel".

It's important to know the gender of the word. Some words have 2 or 3 different genders and it changes the meaning of the word.

For example: die Band = a musical group, das Band = tape/ribbon/belt, der Band = volume.


are there any such words that are the same in the singular, but different in the plural? Or even, different in the singular but the same in the plural?



For example, die Bank, die Banken = bank (financial institute)

die Bank, die Bänke = bench

same in singular, different in plural.

die Mutter, die Mütter = mother

die Mutter, die Muttern = nut (that kind of nut you put on a screw, not the nut you eat)


Many thanks! i now see that there is a whole category of mistakes i can make, about which i was in blissful ignorance!


Die Band - die Bands

Der Band - die Bände

Das Band -die Bänder


Many thanks! i hadn't ever thought about this before. i shall pay much more attention to plurals in future!


It is based on the noun's gender, its grammatical case, and if it is plural.

Katze is singular feminine, so you use 'die' in both the accusative and nominative cases. Each gender group uses different articles based on their case and if they're plural. This is tough for an English speaker since we have no cases or genders and forming plurals is much simpler. However there is a sense to it.

The process is called 'declension' I believe. Learning your declension tables is very important in German. The noun itself can also slightly change based on declension.


strictly, we do have cases in english... nominative, accusative and genitive. and we do have genders... masculine, feminine, neuter. Agreed, it's nowhere near as complicated as German.


He meant we don’t have no grammatical gender, which is true.


not sure what you mean by grammatical gender. How about: he, she, it, his, her, its, him ?


That is called "natural gender" not "grammatical gender".

The natural gender of a noun, pronoun or noun phrase is a gender to which it would be expected to belong based on relevant attributes of its referent. This usually means masculine or feminine, depending on the referent's sex. For example, in Spanish, mujer ("woman") is feminine whereas hombre ("man") is masculine; these attributions occur solely due to the semantically inherent gender character of each noun.

The grammatical gender of a noun does not always coincide with its natural gender. An example of this is the German word Mädchen ("girl"); this is derived from Maid "maiden", umlauted to "Mäd-" with the diminutive suffix -chen, and this suffix always makes the noun grammatically neuter. Hence the grammatical gender of Mädchen is neuter, although its natural gender is feminine (because it refers to a female person).

  • Der Apfel (the apple) <<<<<<<< Example>>>>>>>>>
  • die Katze ( the cat) well , every German word should have different startings , like for an example "Der Apfel , or Die Katze . They are both different "der and "die . I think the topics have to be the same . If you reply , that this is right or not . That would be most thankful .


Hi alex, here are some characteristics, which will help you to determine the gender:



I have the same problems. It varies a lot. You have to try to find sequences in the way the language works. It also takes a lot of memorization. Practice makes habit. Good luck!

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.