New to German, New to Duolingo, Need some advice

Hallo! So I've been working on my German for over two weeks and I'm really enjoying it. I'm learning some cool phrases and annoy everyone off at work because they can't understand me.

However I am having major issues with remembering the THE situation.

In the UK there is no masculine or feminine aspect of language but in German... Die, Das, Der, Den. It's all a little confusing. I tried to make a list of certain things on my phone for revision so I can try and break down what is what... But I still get lost. Can anyone help simplify it and maybe over time it will stick in my head.

Also I've started watching German movies and looking for good TV shows. Ideally with English subtitles but I want to submerge myself as much as I can into the language.

I feel as a UK English speaker., it's embarrassing that we as a nation don't feel the need to learn another language yet so many other native language speakers learn and prevail with learning English.

April 19, 2019



These pages

as well as many others on this excellent site helped me enormously.

Then if you are a bit like me, go there

My vocabulary list of nouns is also color coded: you may doubt if der Gedanke ist "male", die Idee "female", das Mädchen neuter, but chances are you will remember other words they are grouped with, and if they are red, blue or green (colours to be chosen according to your own taste)

Then you learn the cases, it takes a bit of dedication, but I promise it ends up feeling natural :)

April 19, 2019

these help a good bit for me I am new to learning German and I have a lot of trouble with what word I need to use thank you Here is a lingot

April 20, 2019

You're very welcome :) We've all been beginners, and I'm so glad I can give back a little of what was given to me when I started.

I can promise that with some time and a bit of dedication, German becomes a great source of joy!

You've chosen your avatar well: all hail the Green Owl of Knowledge ;D

April 20, 2019

Nice info!

April 20, 2019

Die (feminine/ plural), Das (neuter), and Der (masculine) are all in the nominative case. Den is the accusative case for masculine and the rest stay the same.

Ein (masc/ neuter) and eine (feminine/ plural) mean "a", also for nominative case. Einen is the accusative for masculine and the rest stay the same. This case change is the same for mein/meine (my), dein/deine (your), sein/seine (his), etc.

I'd recommend reading the notes provided on Duo, or googling "Der die das die tables". There are two more cases where they change again (dative and genitive), and in some cases adjective or even noun endings change to match the case as well.

Nominative is the thing doing the verb, and accusative is the thing being acted on/ having the verb done to them.


Der Hund beißt den Mann (both Hund and Mann are masculine. But since the dog is doing the biting, it is "der", and since the Man is being bitten, he gets the accusative "den").

This is important in German because the word order is a bit flexible with the cases in a way that requires extra words in English.

For example, you can also say: "Den Hund beißt der Mann". And this one means the dog is being bitten by the man, even though we have only changed 2 letters in the sentence.

You use the dative case when there is a third object that is not being directly acted upon, but maybe is a receiver of the accusative. We have one phrase still in English that uses dative that I can think of, "For whom the bell tolls". The "whom" is not ringing the bell, nor are they being rung, but they are the intended audience.

A more modern example might be: "He's buying a coffee for me". - "Er kauft mir einen Kaffee" - Er is nominative, einen is accusative (the coffee is being bought), and mir is the dative of Ich. "ich, mich, mir".

There are other rules for when to use one case or another. For example, when describing moving things you use the accusative, and motionless things the dative. And there are certain words that are always followed by one or the other. "mit" (with) is always followed by dative. "für" (for) is always followed by accusative. I'd recommend looking up those lists as well, but with enough exposure it will become second nature too

Edit to add:

ex. of movement: Ich gehe ins Bett (I'm going to bed). ins is a condensed form of "in das", which is accusative. ex. of motionless: Ich bin im Bett (I'm in bed). im is a contraction of "in dem", which is the dative since you're not moving.

Genitive shows ownership like someone else said. In gentitive, the feminine and plural (die) change to "der", and the masculine and neuter both change to des. But it doesn't mean "the" anymore when it's in gentive.

For example, "Er gab mir den Kaffee, der ihr gehört" means "He gave to me the coffee that belongs to her". So "der ihr" is the genitive since ihr is feminine, but it doesn't mean "the her"

April 19, 2019

Deutschland 83 (and the second season 86) is one of my favorite German shows! It's about an East German spy and very enjoyable if you're interested in the former German Democratic Republic. The first season is available on Amazon with English subtitles, I'm not sure about the second season yet.

As for your question about the definite articles... I'll try to simplify this as much as possible. This concept was confusing to me too as an English native, but with enough practice I got it down :)

At this point you should be aware of the four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. The definite articles take on different forms in each case.

The nominative forms of the definite articles are der, die, das, and the plural die. Subjects of sentences are in the nominative.

In the accusative, used for direct objects, only der changes! It becomes den.

In the dative, used for indirect objects, der and das become dem, die becomes der, and the plural die becomes den.

In the genitive, used to show possession/belonging, der and das become des, die and the plural die become der.

Some useful links:

  1. - a very good basic overview of German grammar, you can learn about the cases under Nouns & Articles

  2. - also very good and a bit more in depth

I hope this was helpful :) If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

April 19, 2019

"At this point you should be aware of the four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. "

Not necessarily so, I myself have not reached the Genitive case lesson yet and I'm currently at level 21. You can't judge how far along the tree someone is by their Duolingo level

April 19, 2019

[deactivated user]

    That seems like poor course design on DL's part if they don't bother to introduce 1/4 of a language's cases much earlier. Wondering if they'll just skip over 4-6 cases in Finnish when they put out their course for that language...

    April 19, 2019
    • 1575

    Genitive is disappearing from German among native speakers. If you aren't doing more formal/academic German, you might literally never come across it, and most foreign speakers would be 100% fine never using it, only recognizing its meaning when they hear it. It's kind of like saying "To whom are you speaking?" in American English - yeah, it's not wrong, but that just sounds weird in the vast majority of contexts.

    Complaining about DL not immediately introducing it is kind of like complaining about DL not immediately introducing highly specialized medical grammar - yeah, they're a decent percentage of the English lexicon, but you'll probably be fine without them.

    April 20, 2019

    Ahh thank you for the correction, sorry if that come across as condescending or something. I'm not very familiar with the layout of Duo's tree so I did assume it came earlier :x

    April 19, 2019

    There are some shortcuts you can use for figuring out the gender (article) of a noun. In general, nouns that end with the same suffix all take the same gender. (E.g., if you know it's der Tag, you can conclude it is also der Montag, der Dienstag, der Freitag, etc.)

    A noun is feminine (die) if it ends in: -ung, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -tät, -ion, -ik, -ie, -enz, -anz, -ur, or -ei (but egg => das Ei). Also most (but not all) nouns ending in -e.

    A noun is masculine (der) if it ends in -ig, -ling, -ant, or -us. Also many words that end -er/-or and are tools that do things (der Computer, der Motor). Also many singular nouns that end in -en.

    A noun is neuter (das) if it ends in -um (but not -tum or -aum), -ment, -ma or the diminutives -chen and -lein (which is why girls are das Fräulein and das Mädchen, despite seemingly being clearly female). Also collectives that start with Ge- as well as verb infinitives turned into nouns (leben => to live, das Leben => life).

    Many of these rules have exceptions, but they'll generally steer you in the right direction.

    When in doubt, guess die! That's because 40-45% of German nouns are feminine, 35-40% are masculine, and about 20% are neuter.

    April 19, 2019

    While there are some rules for when to use a certain article with a noun (e.g. die with nouns ending in 'ung' : die Beziehung) most of the time it is arbitrary or even counter-intuitive e.g. das Mädchen, der/die See. So only memorization and repetition, through use and exercise, will help.

    a couple of good places for exercises :

    Listening to shows, movies, podcasts (e.g. Slow German) is also a very good idea.

    Also Deutsche Welle offers a number of newsletters e.g. "Deutsch als Fremdsprache: DaF, a weekly newsletter for learners of German, offers entertaining information about the language and real-life exercises." in Learning German e.g. Deutsch als Fremdsprache 18.04.2019

    April 19, 2019

    Eventually you'll just naturally know the gender of a word. You'll see a word and it'll just feel right. If you gave me a random word, I could probably guess its gender 75% of the time. You'll get it someday, possibly even soon!

    April 19, 2019

    Hello! I don't have any tips for the genders but I have a tips when watching movies or shows in German. Don't use English subtitles but instead use German ones. Research has shown that watching something in a foreign language with your native language as the subtitles can even be detrimental to learning the language.

    So, watch German TV with German subtitles and you'll learn the most.


    April 21, 2019

    Jeez, two weeks and 4k exp on German course, you've been working really hard, now i feel myself embarrassed. My advice, get some tutor hours except Duolingo, because you will not be able to speak otherwise and see the mistakes you are doing.

    April 19, 2019

    You should use my way to know the articles:

    der: mas. d"er" (he), das: neu. d"as" (es) (it), die: fem. d"ie" (sie) (she). die: plu. d"ie" (sie) (they).

    Making plural really has no main rule: Mann: Männer (umlaut and -er) Frau: Frauen (-en) Banane: Bananen (-n) Kind: Kinder (-er) Kuh: Kühe (umlaut and -e) Bus: Busse (-se) Auto: Autos (-s) Kaktus: Kakteen (remove -us and put -een) Mitarbeiterin: Mitarbeiterinnen (-nen) Mädchen: Mädchen (no changes) Atlas: Atlanten (remove -as and put -nten) Vogel: Vögel (umlaut)

    April 19, 2019

    its just flippin hard to get your head round

    April 19, 2019

    The most important thing is to take your time. Do not rush. Learn what you can handle at a time. Make sure you understand a topic before getting to the harder things.

    We all want to understand as much as we can and move on to the point where we can just communicate, but that doesn’t just happen.

    The „THE“ Situation in German keys several other issues that you will need to fall back on „der, die, das“ in order to communicate effectively later on. If you look in the sentence discussions for the last several days, there is a long list of people not grasping the difference of „ein and eine“ or „dein and deine”. This is day 4-5 in an in-person elementary German class. Some of the sentences they are trying to solve would be 20 weeks into the class, and your question about “THE” would answer their questions, if they took the time to study it.

    April 19, 2019
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