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German Gender Issues

German is famous for its complex grammar. However, provided the gender of a noun is known, the basic rules for the endings which apply to the four cases can be learnt and applied in a logical way. With a bit of practice, it becomes second nature.

Cases

e.g. He gave a pen to his friend's girlfriend: Er gab der Freundin seines Freundes einen Stift.

  • Nominative: The subject of a sentence is the nominative case. He in the example.
  • Accusative: The direct object of a sentence takes the nominative case. einen Stift in the example.
  • Dative: The indirect object of a sentence takes the dative case. der Freundin in the example.
  • Genitive: The genitive case indicates possession. seines Freundes in the example.

Pronouns

nominativeaccusativedativepossessive
1st sing.ichmichmirmein
2nd sing. familiardudichdirdein
2nd sing. formalSieSieIhnenIhr
3rd sing. masc.erihnihmsein
3rd sing. fem.siesieihrihr
3rd sing. neut.esesihmsein
1st pluralwirunsunsunser
2nd pluralihreucheucheuer
3rd pluralsiesieihnenihre

Definite Articles

Every noun has a gender. Table is masculine (der Tisch), newspaper is feminine (die Zeitung), and book is neutral (das Buch).

mascfemneutplural
nomderdiedasdie
accdendiedasdie
datdemderdemden
gendesderdesder

This pattern also applies to other words, such as dieser, jeder, solcher, welcher, aller, beider.

mascfemneutplural
nom-er-e-es-e
acc-en-e-es-e
dat-em-er-em-en
gen-es-er-es-er

Indefinite Article

A similar pattern also applies to the indefinite article, ein, which has no plural.

mascfemneut
nomein Manneine Frauein Kind
acceinen Manneine Frauein Kind
dateinem Manneiner Fraueinem Kind
geneines Manneseiner Fraueines Kindes

Possessive Pronouns

mascfemneutplural
nommein Mannmeine Fraumein Kindmeine Männer/Frauen/Kinder
accmeinen Mannmeine Fraumein Kindmeine Männer/Frauen/Kinder
datmeinem Mannmeiner Fraumeinem Kindmeinen Männern/Frauen/Kindern
genmeines Mannesmeiner Fraumeines Kindesmeiner Männer/Frauen/Kinder

Masculine

nominativeaccusativedativegenitive
1st sing.mein Mannmeinen Mannmeinem Mannmeines Mann(e)s
2nd sing.dein Manndeinen Manndeinem Manndeines Mann(e)s
3rd sing. masc.sein Mannseinen Mannseinem Mannseines Mann(e)s
3rd sing. fem.ihr Mannihren Mannihrem Mannihres Mann(e)s
3rd sing. neut.sein Mannseinen Mannseinem Mannseines Mann(e)s
1st pluralunser Mannunseren Mannunserem Mannunseres Mann(e)s
2nd pluraleuer Manneueren Manneurem Manneures Mann(e)s
3rd pluralihr Mannihren Mannihrem Mannihres Mann(e)s

Feminine

nominativeaccusativedativegenitive
1st sing.meine Fraumeine Fraumeiner Fraumeiner Frau
2nd sing.deine Fraudeine Fraudeiner Fraudeiner Frau
3rd sing. masc.seine Frauseine Frauseiner Frauseiner Frau
3rd sing. fem.ihre Frauihre Frauihrer Frauihrer Frau
3rd sing. neut.seine Frauseine Frauseiner Frauseiner Frau
1st pluralunsere Frauunsere Frauunserer Frauunserer Frau
2nd pluraleuere Fraueure Fraueurer Fraueurer Frau
3rd pluralihre Frauihre Frauihrer Frauihrer Frau

Neutral

nominativeaccusativedativegenitive
1st sing.mein Kindmein Kindmeinem Kind(e)meines Kind(e)s
2nd sing.dein Kinddein Kinddeinem Kind(e)deines Kind(e)s
3rd sing. masc.sein Kindsein Kindseinem Kind(e)seines Kind(e)s
3rd sing. fem.ihr Kindihr Kindihrem Kind(e)ihres Kind(e)s
3rd sing. neut.sein Kindsein Kindseinem Kind(e)seines Kind(e)s
1st pluralunser Kindunser Kindunserem Kind(e)unseres Kind(e)s
2nd pluraleuer Kindeuer Kindeurem Kind(e)eures Kind(e)s
3rd pluralihr Kindihr Kindihrem Kind(e)ihres Kind(e)s

Declension of Adjectives

Adjectives can be used with or without the article (a/an or the). This affects the ending of the adjective as follows:

After the definite article: weak declension

masculinefeminineneutralplural
nomder gute Manndie gute Fraudas gute Kinddie guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
accden guten Manndie gute Fraudas gute Kinddie guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
datdem guten Mann(e)der guten Fraudem guten Kind(e)den guten Männern/Frauen/Kindern
gendes guten Mann(e)sder guten Fraudes guten Kind(e)sder guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder

After the indefinite article and possessives: mixed declension

masculinefeminineneutralplural
nommein guter Mannmeine gute Fraumein gutes Kindmeine guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
accmeinen guten Mannmeine gute Fraumein gutes Kindmeine guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder
datmeinem guten Mann(e)meiner guten Fraumeinem guten Kind(e)meinen guten Männern/Frauen/Kindern
genmeines guten Mann(e)smeiner guten Fraumeines guten Kind(e)smeiner guten Männer/Frauen/Kinder

Strong declension

Where there is no article or other word indicating gender:

masculinefeminineneutralplural
nomguter Weingute Fruchtgutes Wassergute Weine/Früchte/Wässer
accguten Weingute Fruchtgutes Wassergute Weine/Früchte/Wässer
datgutem Weinguter Fruchtgutem Wasserguten Weinen/Früchten/Wässern
genguten Weinsguter Fruchtguten Wassersguter Weine/Früchte/Wässer

Content © Andrew Bone. All rights reserved. Created : January 22, 2015 Last updated :December 11, 2015

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