When to use "Der", "Das", and "Die"

I recently just started the Skill "The" in German. Can someone help me out on when to use Der, Das, and Die? Thanks a lot!

September 2, 2019


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German is a case based and highly inflected language. That means that every noun and the associated article such as der, die, das is declined based on its case, gender and number. Gender, case and number of the article must match gender, case and number of the associated noun (i.e. most likely the noun that follows). Here are all possible forms for the articles:

Singular Maskulinum Sg. Femininum Sg. Neutrum Plural
Nominativ der die das die
Genitiv des der des der
Dativ dem der dem den
Akkusativ den die das die

Before you ask, same for the indefinite article (which has no plural for obvious reasons):

Sg. Maskulinum Sg. Femininum Sg. Neutrum Plural
Nominativ ein eine ein
Genitiv eines einer eines
Dativ einem einer einem
Akkusativ einen eine ein

The nominative singular variant is the most basic form you'll find in dictionaries. You probably ask yourself: How can you tell the gender of each noun? To start with, every noun is either feminine, neuter or masculine. There's often no way to guess the gender. Hence, you need to memorize the gender for each noun. There are some (very fuzzy) rules of thumb, but I find these rules quite complex and convoluted. Thus, I'd recommend brute-force memorization. Learn every noun with the definite article der, die or das right away.

September 2, 2019

That's an excellent summary!

I found the following "Learn German with Anja" YouTube video to be helpful:
GERMAN LESSON 9: The German Definite Articles DER, DIE, DAS

Yes! Anja is amazing! I've had so many of my questions answered that Duolingo left unclear.

No way am I an expert in German but the Rule of thumb: Der- Singular masuline Das- Singular Neuter Die- Singular feminine or plural (you can usually tell by the ending of the word.)

Whenever you learn a word please try and learn what gender it is (der, das, die )it will make things a lot easier. I didn't do this at the start, but I make an extra effort to take note of the gender now.

I learned that (in the nominative case) any noun ending in -heit,-keit, or -ung will take the article of DIE. Any noun that is a diminutive (aka umlauts+chen) will take the article DAS. Any noun ending in -er will most likely take the article DER.

Die Fähigkeit, Die Übung, Das Mädchen, Das Hündchen, Der Lehrer, usw.

Der of noun is masculine, die if feminine and Das is neuter. Unfortunately there is no real system behind this so it's advised you learn the nouns with the appropriate prefix

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