Das Mädchen hat seinen eigenen Teller.
"The girl has her own plate."
Why seinen is it simply because Mädchen is a neuter noun? Or am I missing something bigger? Thanks in advance.
Hallo Again, Slam. Counter-intuitive, certainly, but don't worry, you will grow new reflexes :)
Many, many people stumbled just like you on this "neuter girl" (and probably even some German don't totally wrap their heads around it, as they tend to substitute the biological gender to the grammatical one, as Birgit said). If it helps you, it's because "Mädchen" is not the actuel word, but a diminitive of the now lost "die Madg", a cognate of "maid". The "chen" ending always (well, there may be exceptions just to keep us on our toes) makes the word, whatever its original gender, neuter.
And very much yes, the plural forms are often similar to the feminine ones.
So it would be "der Mann hat seinen eigenen Teller" (one man, one plate);
"der Mann hat seine eigenen Teller" (one man, several plates);
"die Männer haben ihren eigenen Teller" (several men, one shared plate, but specific to their group, perhaps a ceremonial plate)
and "die Männer haben ihre eigenen Teller" (many men, one plate each).
The ending of the possessive article depends on the gender of the possessed thing (plural is the same, depending on case, not gender).