1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. German words with disputed ge…

German words with disputed gender

[deactivated user]

    Hallo Leute,

    Apparently there are some words in the German language that don't have a consensual gender. Granted they're not many but they exist nonetheless. The following video tells about some of them:


    Can our good folks from Germany here provide us with some more examples? Maybe even among yourselves we'll see some differences.

    And of course, also give us their opinion on the last big question... Nutella.

    And for all the German learners like me... enjoy.

    February 15, 2018



    Interesting video, thanks for the link.

    Here are some more examples that are commonly used with different articles:

    das/der Blog

    das/der Event

    das/der Gelee

    das/der Gulasch

    das/der Gummi

    das/der Ketchup

    das/der Radar

    das/der Sakko

    das/der Virus

    Regarding Nutella, I am only aware of die/das Nutella, but I have not heard the masculine form yet. Also using no article before Nutella is common, like "Gib mir bitte Nutella" or "Magst du Nutella?"


    der Blog

    das Event

    das Gelee

    das Gulasch (here I am a bit uncertain)

    das Gummi (the raw material) der Gummi (the rubber band)

    das Ketchup

    das Radar (since it is an acronym)

    das Sakko

    das Virus

    That is how I learned and used it for the last half century

    [deactivated user]

      What about "Wo ist der/die/das Nutella?"


      I'm not from Germany but come across words from time to time that have multiple valid genders. For example:

      Zepter (m oder n)
      Barock (m oder n)

      I always learn the gender when I learn a new noun. It would be easier if I could always just learn one. The problem is that I don't know which one is more common, so I memorize both. Is there some way I could find out which form is more common?


      For me (Rhineland): Das Zepter, der Barock


      Before someone gets scared. They are rare and arent really important (and usually no one cares if you decide to say die or das Nutella). Also there are some rules (and by that rule) Nutella should be die, yet you hear all three gender. Nutella is a name, the name is for a product called Nussnougatcreme. Now Nutella should get the same gender as Nussnougatcreme. But people just do it differently. For das you usually here, that its a thing and therefore it should be neuter.

      [deactivated user]

        He lists some relatively common words at the end... Radar, Pyjama, Liter and Sofa for instance.

        But yes, nothing to be scared... in fact I think all gendered languages will have a handful of similar cases.


          But why is it then der Volvo/Mercedes/usw. when they are all names for das Auto? I wasn't aware this was a 'rule'.


          A related issue I often encounter: words with multiple valid plural forms.

          der Knast, die Knaste oder die Knäste
          das Klima, die Klimata oder die Klimate oder die Klimas
          das Mädel, die Mädels oder die Mädeln oder die Mädel


          Even when its confusing, you should not worry to much about it. Usually you can go with any form and no one will blink an eye. Your german teacher might force his/her preferred form, but thats it. Regional usage differs but this difference is just a small issue.


          Quest: "der Quest" feals natural too me, but some people say "die Quest", which feals wrong to me, but is the "more official" variant, i think.

          [deactivated user]

            Max.Em, stepintime, Heike, Maria and others invited to join the discussion.


            No, thanks, this time not. There are some words with two equivalent genders and some for which changing the gender changes the meaning. For the first class you can choose what you prefer.

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