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The definite articles (“der,” “die,” and “das” )

While the definite article the has only one form in English, in German, it has three forms: der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neuter).

Which form you use depends on the gender of the German noun.

Der is the definite article used with masculine nouns,

die is used with feminine nouns,

and das is used with neuter nouns.

When meeting a new noun, find out whether its definite article is der, die, or das — in other words, determine the gender of the noun. For example,

memorize der Garten (the garden) rather than just Garten (garden),

die Tür (the door) rather than Tür (door),

and das Haus (the house) rather than Haus (house).

For plural nouns, things are comparatively easy. The definite article for all plural nouns, regardless of gender, is die. And, as in English, the indefinite article a just vanishes in the plural: a garden becomes gardens.

May 16, 2012

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