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Der, Die, Das!

All German objects (and all objects are nouns, so-called "Nomen") are capitalized, i.e., they start with a large letter like names in English language.

Most nouns that end in -e are feminine unless they describe a male agent (or object) like "der Bote" (the messenger), or "der Schwede" (the Swede).

Nouns that end in -keit, -ung, and -heit are generally feminin, e.g. "die Süßigkeit" (the candy), "die Nennung" (the naming) and "die Freiheit" (the freedom).

Nouns that end in -chen and -lein (those are diminutive or "small-making" suffixes) are generally neutral, e.g., "das Mädchen" (the girl), "das Kindlein" (the child).

January 1, 2012



Hi Julika! It is very helpful to use some rules for learning articles, although it is still difficult to apply them while you are talking. Here are some other ending rules I wrote down during my (still) painful learning of german articles:

die - ung (Übung, Bedeutung) - heit (Minderheit, Frechheit) - keit (Heiterkeit, Gemütlichkeit) - schaft (Mannschaft, Leidenschaft) - ie (Partie, Analogie) - ei (Partei, Kanzlei) - ine (Gardine, Maschine) - in (Gefährtin, Ärztin) - tät (Identität, Kausalität) - tion (Konzentration, Demonstration) - tur, ur (Garnitur, Zäsur) - ik (Taktik, Hektik) - Uhrzeiten + Woche

das - ment (Establishment, Ressentiment, Engagement) - lar (Exemplar, Vokabular, but der Dollar) - nym (Anonym, Synonym) - ❤❤❤ (Praktikum, Antibiotikum) - chen - lein - nominalized verbs with no changes (Lernen, Essen) - tum (Christentum, Eigentum but der Reichtum) - nis (Hindernis, Ergebnis but die Erlaubnis) - eum (Museum, Petroleum)

der - ismus (Komunismus, Liberalismus) - days, months, seasons, cardinal directions - meter (Kilometer, Zentimeter, Barometer) - loge (Archeologe, Zoologe) - ker (Alkoholiker, Chemiker) - alcohol and many drinks, but das Bier (Wein, Schnaps, Saft, Tee, Kaffee) - ling (Lehrling, Säugling) - tor (Direktor, Diktator but das Tor) - teur (Redakteur, Importeur) - currencies (Dollar, Peso, Euro, Yen)

I wish you all success learning this nice language.


Also, as hinted by @Julika, all occupations take 'der' - "der Lehrer, der Arzt, der Professor, der Architekt", IF you are talking about a male or someone of unknown gender. But note that if talking about a female, you add '-in' (and sometimes an umlaut) and the article changes to 'die' - "die Lehrerin, die Ärztin, die Professorin, die Architektin".


this is the single most awesome list i have ever come across (provided that they are correct of course). german was my first "gender based articles" language, and we all know how painful it is just to accept the fact that the articles have genders. wish i had this at the start. thanks a ton.


Feminine = die

  • Female people and animals (Exceptions: das Mädchen, das Kind - See: Neuter)
  • Nouns ending in -ung, -ion, -heit, -keit, -tät, -ik, -schaft
  • Most nouns ending in -ur, -ie, -ei
  • Many nouns ending in -e
  • Polysyllabic nouns ending in -enz and -anz
  • German rivers (except for "der Rhein" and "der Main")
  • Nouns formed from verb stems ending in -t ( ex. die Fahrt, die Schrift)

Masculine = der

  • Male people and animals
  • Nouns ending in -us
  • Nouns ending in -en (except for infinitives)
  • Nouns ending in -ling (except English loanwords)
  • Nouns ending in -eich (except das Reich)
  • Most nouns ending in -ig or -ich
  • Most nouns formed from verb stems
  • Monosyllabic nouns ending in -anz
  • Most non-German rivers
  • Instruments/things that do things ending in -er and -or
  • Days, months, seasons, most weather elements
  • Compass directions
  • Car brands

Neuter = das

  • Human and animal babies
  • Verb infinitives
  • Nouns with diminutive suffixes (-chen, -lein, -l, -le, -erl, -el, -li, -i, etc)
  • Nouns ending in -ment, -um
  • Most nouns ending in -it
  • Most collectives starting with Ge-
  • Most elements on the periodic table
  • Most countries
  • Foreign words
  • English loanwords ending in -ing
  • Greek loanwords ending in -ma

Plurals = die

  • All plurals = die
  • Collective nouns are not considered plurals

It's important to remember this is German, so there are many exceptions to some of these "rules".


The million dollar question is why this wasn't introduced at the beginning of the tree; although I know about it now, this information would have helped me tremendously when I first started.

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