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Confused with die vs der vs das

Still new at German, and I just can't tell which version of "the" to use in which context.

March 20, 2018



Cool that you are learning German :D The articles are the (most) difficult part, since you just have to learn them. There is not really a system behind it. Generally speaking "der" is masculine, "die" is feminine, and "das" is neuter. Der Mann - the man Die Frau - the woman Der Junge - the boy but Das Mädchen - the girl

I have the feeling that you use "die" a bit more often, and almost always if your noun ends with "heit", "keit", "ung", "tion" die Hoheit, die Heiterkeit, die Biegung, die Nation, etc.

There are a few more rules like that but since i'm a native speaker, I don't know them ^^'

I wish you success :)

Edit: ok, to make it more confusing, here we go:

masculine: most nouns originating from verbs without suffix (gehen -> der Gang, fluchen -> der Fluch) but things that are prepared are neuter (baden -> das Bad, graben -> das Grab) cardinal points, weather (but das Gewitter), alcohols (der Wodka), minerals, stones, week days, months, seasons, spices, car names (Opel, BMW)

feminine: everything with -anz, -(t)ion, heit, -keit, -ung -(i)tät, everything originating from a verb and ends with -e, -d, -t, -ft (suchen -> die Suche, jagen -> die Jagd, glühen -> die Glut, ankommen -> die Ankunft) and -st, -ei. ships and airplanes, cigarettes (die Marlboro), most plants and trees, numbers, most german rivers, motor bikes (Kawazaki, Vespa)

neuter: everything with -chen (das Hündchen - the little dog) most with Ge- (das Gewässer, das Gebirge but der Gedanke) Cafés, Hotels, cinemas (ex. das cinemaxx), chemical elements (but der Schwefel (sulfur?) and everything with -stoff like der Wasserstoff - hydrogen), languages, colours, continents, countries (but die Schweiz)

wish you best luck


OK, thanks: I think I know about the feminine/masculine/neuter, but I needed some help knowing which is which. Big help!


My German tutor says it's basically memorizing. There is no easy way around it. :(


The inflection of the German definite article depends upon both the gender and the case of the governed noun: see here.


Hi, this is the general "Duolingo" forum, and most people on Duolingo do not study German. Could you please edit your original post and use the drop-down list at top left to change the topic from "Duolingo" to "German"? That way it won't clutter up the general forum, and the answers you get might help others who are learning German and browse through the forum looking for new info. Thanks!


Many teachers say you just have to memorize it, but the truth is I'm using a different way -- basically, knowing how memory works. I'm a language teacher myself and I know that learning by heart simply doesn't work and, if it does, it's short lived. The technique I use is called mnemotechnics and the bottom line is you need to connect things visually, instead of memorizing a bunch of rules. Here's what's been working for me with der, die, das:

I have three A4 sheets of paper. On one I have an illustration of a lion and this page represents all masculine nouns. I write sentences about the lion (example: the lion sits on the table and watches tv. he has a fridge where he keeps ham, cheese and honey. he breaks chairs when he's angry.) I'm not a very good artist, but this doesn't matter - I like to add little drawings around the lion to make it more visual. Now I know that all these nouns: table, tv, fridge, ham, cheese, honey, chair... are masculine! And I also get to practice Akk. case with "the lion has..."

The other page has a Superwoman on it and all the feminine nouns that I learn I add to her story. For example, she reads the newpaper, has a cat, and likes plants.

The third one has an egg (Humpty Dumpty) and I use this one to add neuter nouns. You got the idea.

It might seem silly, but little by little you just naturally remember that the lion likes TV and has a dog, that the Superwoman prefers cats, and that Humpty Dumpty drinks a lot of water... The trick is to keep adding nouns slowly, little by little, as you learn them.

Try it out! :)


Der-maskuline Das-neutral Die-feminin und plural

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