Umlaut or Ending Indicating a Word Being Plural

Hello everyone,

Plural words such as "die Äpfel" and "die Vögel" use an umlaut to indicate that they're plural, however, plural words such as "die Hunde" and "die Autos" have an ending on them to indicate that they're plural. Why do the first examples use an umlaut to indicate that they're plural and the second pair of examples don't use an umlaut but an ending? My question is; how would I know when to add an umlaut and when to add an ending? Because I could say, for example, "Hünd" and that would be wrong.

Thank you! AP4418

May 10, 2018


This is something You actually have to learn since there are no rules which apply. It is best to learn the plural forms of nouns from the beginning. May write you nouns down and find the according plural form. This is something I would also recommend for the genders of the nouns.

Notice, there are some nouns which don't have any plural forms like "das Gemüse", "die Milch", "die Butter"

And some don't have any singular forms: "die Eltern", "die Geschwister", "die Leute"

May 10, 2018

Awesome! Thank you for the tips! So each word has it's own inherent structure, so to speak, that determines everything in the conjugation and so on, correct?

May 10, 2018

I found this in a 2-yr old Duo post by jjd1123

[...Feminine nouns with one syllable forming their plural in "-e" use an umlaut wherever possible, except for those ending in "-nis".

Other feminine nouns don't have umlauts in their plural versions except for "Statt" and words ending in "-statt".

"-r" plurals have an umlaut wherever possible.

Male nouns with two syllables ending in "-er", "-en", or "-el" often take umlauts for their plural forms.

(Note that these rules don't cover every case, often there doesn't seem to be any very clear rule.)]

I don't know how useful this is, but it does give an indication that it might be easier to just learn the plurals than to try to use the rules :)

May 10, 2018

Oh great! Thank you so much! It's perfect! I'm glad there's at least a basic guideline concerning plurals in German! Thank you once again! Do you still have the link to it by any chance?

May 10, 2018

I'll have a look and post it here if i can find it...


May 11, 2018

Alright! Thanks so much mein freund(in?)!

May 11, 2018


May 12, 2018

There are a lot of words that do both: Maus - Mäuse; Baum - Bäume, Hof - Höfe, Haus - Häuser, Arzt - Ärzte, Wurm - Würmer etc.

There are also a lot of words that do neither: Messer, Löffel, Kissen, Zimmer, Hocker etc.

That's just the way it is, I'm afraid.

May 10, 2018

I haven't though of that, thanks for pointing that out! Your username is what I'm having right now!

May 10, 2018
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