https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Here's How to Determine When a Noun is Masculine, Feminine or Neuter

Hello everyone,

I found this very useful myself so I thought I'll post it up here.

DAS:

Endings of words indicating that a noun is neuter are:
"-chen" "-lein" "-um" "-ment" "-nis".
Most nouns starting with "Ge" are neuter.
Most of the chemical elements are neuter (Not all chemical elements are neuter).
Infinitives used as a noun are neuter.
Colors are neuter.

DER:

'Der' can be used for the months of the year (in German, obviously!)
Weekdays are masculine.
Seasons are masculine.
Wind directions (North, South etc.) are masculine.
Car brands are masculine.
Nouns derived from verbs ending in "-er" are masculine.
Words ending in "-ismus" are masculine.
Most names of alcoholic drinks are masculine.
except "Bier", (beer) (I think it is because the Germans love beer!).
Most words ending in "-ant" are masculine.
exceptions include "das Restaurant" and "das Croissant".
Words that end in "-ling" are are usually masculine.
Nouns ending in "-ner" are usually masculine.
Most words that end in "-or" are masculine.

DIE:

Endings of words indicating that a noun is feminine are:
"-heit" "-keit" "-ung" "-schaft".
Most of the words ending in the following are feminine:
"-e" "-ei" "-ie" "-in". Foreign words that are used in German with the following endings are feminine:
"-ade' "-age" "-anz" "-enz" "-ik" "-ion" "-tät" "-ur".
Cardinal numbers have a feminine article.

Have fun! AP4418

April 6, 2018

52 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Mark841597

I just remembered another rather useful tip! The gender of combined words is the same as the gender of the last component. Example:

Die Lage (the position, situation) = feminine, so: Die Anlage, Die Auflage, Die Beilage, Die Zulage, Die Grundlage are all feminine.

Der Eintrag, Der Antrag, Der Auftrag, Der Beitrag, Der Betrag, Der Vertrag usw. are all masculine

Achtung! Important exception: Das Wort - Die Antwort

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Danke für den Beitrag!

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Wow, that's interesting, Danke! Though, why is Der Antwort an exception? (SMH. I'm very curious...)

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mark841597

Well... that's a good question. Why do exceptions exist in the first place? I guess it has something to do with language being a human trait and humans being illogical beings. ;-)

Btw... it's Die Antwort. :-)

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Sounds logical (lol). I imagine you to be a mod., because you're so good at explaining things!

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Meike579743

It's because "Antwort" is not a compound like e.g. "der Geburtstag". You'll need two nouns for the rule to work :-)

May 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Oh, thanks Meike! Now I understand it!

May 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Meike579743

Gerne ;-) Always happy to help!

May 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BNicholas22

Whoa, nice! This will be very helpful. I've donated one lingot.

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Oh, thanks BNicholas22! You're welcome! I'm so happy it helped!!

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ALLintolearning3

I still think the best thing to have is a German dictionary: https://dictionary.reverso.net/english-german/tree This one uses m for masculine, f for feminine and nt for neuter (because they use n for noun).

This site has helped a lot with German grammar, especially gender https://www.thoughtco.com/masculine-feminine-or-nueter-in-german-4068442

I use this site a lot for grammar help and declensions: http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Wort/Nomen/index.html?MenuId=Word10 You can click on the flag to change it to English. You can type in any word and search for declensions or verb conjugations.

Once you are really good. Here is the dictionary for German in German: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/essen

and for our fairy tale loving friends another grammar site, called Grimm Grammar: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/no_02.html

May 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanling3

Thank you for all the advice and assistance - Danke für die Hilfe und Unterstützung

May 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mark841597

Very useful list! Vielen Dank :-)

Some notable exceptions: der Käse (not feminine), der Löwe (not feminine), die Geduld (not neuter)

Some things I noticed for myself: - singular words ending in '-en' are usually neuter - the more abstract and intangible (unfassbar) a noun is, the bigger the chance it's feminine I would like to know if you agree with that. :-)

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Hi Mark841597, Thanks for letting me know, what if I add them in my list of exceptions?

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Mark841597. Eine Frage: how do I determine when to use which? Like, for instance, "die Geduld", how would I determine when it is neuter or not? (I assume that your are experienced in German) I love learning German, I'm better with reading and writing German than speaking German though, although with Duolingo I'm getting there! :-) Thanks Duolingo!

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mark841597

Hi Dessert-Rose, I think it's just a matter of using the guidelines you posted above and memorizing the exceptions. :-)

I'm sure you will get there! German is one of my favorite languages as well :-)

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Hi Mark841597, thanks for your help, I think I am getting there after all: "Geduld" meaning 'patience', is abstract and intangible, and I'll "study" your other posts for the rest. Sorry for bothering you, though I've learned alot. Now it's my turn to say "Vielen dank!"

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vaas777

Vielen Dank !! <3

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ughngugn

Great tips! Thanks!

Something to note about genders too: Sometimes there are homonyms that have different genders!

for example:

das Band - the ribbon

die Band - the band (like music)

der Leiter - the director/ leader

die Leiter - the ladder

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Hi Heathearther, thanks, this makes so much sense, thanks for saying that!

April 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/markusrubba

Thank you for this!

April 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Yvonne608224

DANKE !!!

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

You're welcome!

August 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Nick720019

Well, nouns ending in -nis can also be feminine, e.g. Kenntnis, Erkenntnis. But lots of them are also neuter.

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Thanks, Nick720019. You are correct.

April 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackMartian

Hey, Rose, I have a quick question.

Please don't mind me posting here when the Q. has nothing to do with the discussion.

But by any chance is Melisa.Rose another account of yours?

It's not a huge crime if it is (I used to have 4 accounts at one time), but I was just curious, because I have noticed similarities between you two.

June 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

I don't mind at all. Yes, you're right! Melisa.Rose is my second account!

June 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackMartian

Okay, coo. Any reason why you created a new one?

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

I learn better when I am exposed to something more, so I started my reverse tree (German to English) before finishing my English to German tree. I suspect that you feel I've cheated by having both of my accounts in your contest?

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ALLintolearning3

You actually don’t need to have two accounts to do that. I switch back and forth, but I understand. I had more than one account myself. When they started a new language and it was in alpha testing, I did make another account just for that. Now that it is in Beta, I just use this account for everything.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ALLintolearning3

You can click on Home at the top left of this page on the web version. Then click on the flag on the Home page on the top left, then choose the language you want to learn from “German” or “English”, then click on the button “See all language courses” for that language. Then choose the course you want for the language you have already chosen to learn from. https://www.duolingo.com/settings/direction

(You could also click on the flag on the blue bar then click on “Add new course” (even if you are going to choose a course that you already have, although if you used a different user name for each then you may need to add it. Then change the “I speak” or the “Ich spreche” language by clicking on it for a drop down list and choose the one you want to learn from and then click on the course you want to learn. )

Here are the short cuts:
https://www.duolingo.com/course/en/de/Lerne-Englisch-Online

https://www.duolingo.com/course/de/en/Learn-German-Online

You should have seen my original account, I lost the email account that was linked to it and so I am playing catch up now.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Oh, thant's really interesting. How do you switch back and forth? That will spare me a lot of switching back and forth.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Thank you so much ALLintolearning3!!!!! This has helped me so much!! Thank you!!

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackMartian

Well, yours and ALlintolearning3 are both much better reasons for creating multiple accounts than why I created mine.

Also, I actually didn't even think about that until last night. But yes, it is cheating, because you're giving yourself a double-chance to win, thus keeping an other potential winner from doing so. I can't be cross though, because it's still far less foolish than anything I've previously done. I'll tell you, I'm far from a saint, lol, :).

Next time though, just one account or the other, please and thanks!

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ALLintolearning3

Just think though, if she had had one account then her amount would have been much higher than split up into two separate accounts, so she cheated herself as well. Of course, it depends on the kind of contest. I was thinking of the usual “race for xp.”

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JackMartian

No, it's an elimination contest, where you have to complete a certain amount or you lose. But, that's correct anyways, that's why she got eliminated on purpose I think, it was probably getting hard to keep up with both.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Sorry Jack. I see the problem with what I did. Please forgive me, I won't do it again.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 942

I don't know of a different way to send you my comments to your recent entry, because you deleted it. Here we go:

First of all, it is important to make sure that the “ending” is indeed an ending, i.e. a morphologically independent unit, and not only an accidental aggregation of letters that happen to be at the end of a word. This is not always easy (sometimes hyphenization helps, but not always), because it presupposes linguistic knowledge. When you don’t consider this, there will be many “exceptions” to some rules, which in fact are not exceptions but a wrong understanding of the rule.

DAS: -chen diminutive ending -lein diminutive ending -um in words derived from Latin –um (and sometimes Greek -on) Make sure you know, what the ending is! der Baum, der Schaum, der Traum etc. are not exceptions, they simply don’t have the –um ending. -ment derived from Latin words ending in –entum this is not a hard rule der Zement, the word Moment even exists in two versions (with different meanings): der Moment, das Moment -ma in words derived from Greek Make sure you know what the ending is! der Puma, die Firma, … are not exceptions, they simply don’t have the –ma ending -nis not a hard rule. E.g. der Firnis Most collective nouns starting with "Ge-" are neuter. Does not hold for arbitrary nouns starting with Ge-: die Gegend, die Gelegenheit, die Gemeinde, der Geber, der Gesang, … Infinitives used as a noun are neuter. Most of the 112 chemical elements are neuter. Only statistically. Lots of “exceptions”: der Schwefel, all the elements ending in –stoff (Sauerstoff, Kohlenstoff, Wasserstoff, Stickstoff) English loanwords ending in -ing Colors are neuter.


DER: Male people and animals. Only if they have names! Else the grammatical gender is what counts Most nouns ending in the following are Masculine: -ant only if they describe persons doing specific activities (de4rived from the respective verbs) but: das Deodorant, das Restaurant, das Croissant -ling (except for English loanwords) -ner roles persons play -ich ??? -ig -en ??? (except for infinitives) -ismus Most instruments or things that do stuff that end in "-er" or "-or". Nouns derived from verbs ending in "-er" that describe professions or roles are masculine. Car brands are masculine. Simply not true: die Corvette, die Isetta Months and seasons, days, points on the compass, and most weather elements are masculine. only statistically Most names of alcoholic drinks are masculine. Not true. die Bloody Mary, die Pinacolada, die Weinschorle, das Bier Most non-German rivers. Not true. May perhaps hold for the American ones, but there is an abundance of feminine rivers: die Weichsel, die Seine, die Garonne, die Rhone, die Wolga, die Moldau, die Themse, ...


DIE: Female people and animals. Only when they have names. Else the grammatical gender is what counts. Human babies and animal babies are all feminine. Not true. das Katzenjunge, das Rehkitz, der Welpe, das Kalb, das Lamm … Nouns ending the following endings are feminine: -heit make sure you know what the ending is! das Holzscheit is not an exception, but simply the rule doesn’t apply here -keit -ung make sure you know what the ending is! der Dung is not an exception, but simply the rule doesn’t apply -schaft make sure you know what the ending is! der Stiefelschaft is not an exception, but simply the rule doesn’t apply -e not a rule. der Deutsche, der Korse, das Blaue, der Käse, das Ende, das Auge, der Kunde, der Rüde, der Bulle … -ei not really a rule. At least make sure you know what the ending is! das Ei, das Einerlei, das Geschrei, der Brei -ie not really a rule. At least make sure you know what the ending is! der Brie, das Genie, das Knie -in only in female professions and role descriptions. das Sein is not an exception, but simply the rule doesn’t apply Foreign words that are used in German with the following endings are feminine: -ade Schublade is not a foreign word (-ade is not an ending here, but the word is Lade), though it happens to be feminine as well -age -anz (der Glanz, der Schwanz, der Tanz are not exceptions, they are simply not foreign words) -enz -ik not a rule. das Aspik -ion if derived from the Latin ending –(t)io das Stadion is not an exception, because it is derived from the Greek ending –(i)on! -tät -ur not a rule (it is der Friseur! all the French loanwords ending in –eur are masculinum), der Ur, das Abitur. Only if derived from Latin –ura. Collectives starting with "Ge-". wrong. this is not feminine, but plural! Else it is rather neuter as noted above Most of the German rivers are Feminine. not true. der Rhein, der lech, der Glan, der Main, … Cardinal numbers have a feminine article.

Notify me when I can delete this posting.

August 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Thank you ferherdef!

It seems as though most of these aren't proper rules at all, which, I must say, is rather frustrating. (Well, it's German so what do I excpect?)

May I just ask for your opinion on these and these videos? Because I got most of the rules from here, and some also from another website that I can't remeber the name of (That's where the "Human babies and animal babies are feminine." comes from, among others).

By the way, since you seem pretty knowledgable in this, could you please show or tell me what the real rules are? I'd love that, so I can give the correct information to everyone, and not deceive myself or them. Thanks!

Thanks for pointing all this out. :)

August 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 942

In general the videos seem to be well done and helpful. But concerning the topic we are talking about I have the same criticism: the "rules" are "home brewn", i.e. based on observation (which is ok) and partially on copying from elsewhere (at least error prone) and illegitimate generalization (this is really bad) because of a lack of linguistic knowledge.

In my opinion it is self-deception to invest in these kind of lists. One could better save the effort learning the "rules" and use it for learning the gender of words. Of course those lists are usually extremely welcomed by the readers, but I think they don't really help and lead into the wrong direction.

tell me what the real rules are

The true message is: there are none!
Of course there are some hints along the lines that the lists pursue, but that helps only if you already have a deeper understanding of the (history of the) language. But you will find that out yourself when you get more acquainted to the language.
Example (taken from one of the videos): The observation that a lot of words ending in -ant are masculinum is correct. What is important, however, is that all these words denote professions or roles of people (and are taken from the Latin present participle that ends in -ns, but even this is not sufficient as you will immediately see).
If someome has a glimpse of loanwords in German, he/she should immediately see, that "restaurant" or "croissant" are not exceptions, but simply don't fit into this category, because they
- don't denote professions
- are taken from French (of course this goes back to the same participle in Latin but the way they came into German is decisive!)
- and even are pronounced differently (i.e. similar to French).
The last argument does not hold for "Deodorant" (at least it usually doesn't, you can pronounce it the French way, but nowadays this is uncommon), but the other two arguments are still valid.

Well, it's German so what do I excpect?

This is not a specific property of German. It is the same in all languages that have genders (And there are lots of them: e.g. the Romance (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, ...), even worse in the Slavonic languages (Russian, Czech, ...) , Arabic, ...). And of course the same word has a different gender in different languages. That's life.

That's where the "Human babies and animal babies are feminine." comes from, among others

Well, this seems to be a particularly bad source. This rule is complete b---sh--- (sorry for the harsh word).

August 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Thank you for the warnings.
(As I read through your comment I kept going "But of course!".)

Well, this seems to be a particularly bad source...

Sure, I'll skip it when I come across it again. :)

I'll remember this! ;)

August 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/iamnotbiligual

So, der=masculine, die=feminine and das in nutre?

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Hi sportsfana, yes, you are correct!

April 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/iamnotbiligual

ok, so how do i tell when a word is male, female on nutre

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Hi sportsfana, You either look at the endings of the words you're talking about, or some other attribute of the word (e.g. whether it's a noun, whether it's an infinitive used as a noun etc.). Also check if it is an exception. I explained them in my post. For example, if you're trying to figure out the gender of "Mädchen" (girl), then you look at the ending: "-chen", I explained them in my post above, I'll give you a quick review: all words ending in "-chen", "-lein", "-um", "-ment" and "-nis" are neuter (sometimes also "neutral", although "neutral" is not used much). So, "Mädchen is neuter. BTW. Nouns are capitalized in German, and sometimes the first letter being capital or not changes the meaning of the word: for example, "Morgen", when "Morgen"is capital it means 'morning', however, when it's not capitalized, it means 'tomorrow'. If you like, you could also read some other comments on this discussion that clarify some things about words' genders, I hope this makes sense! Viel Glück!

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanling3

Nein, das ist eine sehr klare und gute Erklärung

May 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

If my post is hard to memorize, you can print/write it down or copy it. If you like, I can (try) simplify and number it for you (though I don't know how I'll give it to you). Will that help?

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanling3

I think Tinkerbell should tink defining definite articles out of the alphabet and into the genders. It would also take care of some of all those eine, ein, einen, eiener, den, dem changes that go with cases.

April 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Tinkerbell? What do you mean? LOL!! (Hi Germanling3!)

April 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanling3

Hi Dessert-Rose It's a fairy character whose talent is to build and fix things.

April 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose

Oh, I see! Should she fix German?! ROFL!!

April 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanling3

If we can get hold of her, but I hope there is a Tinkerbell German linguistic expert that is listening and don't make us sit and learn the alphabet to determine genders.

April 26, 2018
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