A noun is a word used to name a person, an object, an abstract quality or a concept. German uses grammatical gender, where there is no obvious relationship that the gender of nouns conforms with their status.
Three genders in German
All nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter. The nouns can be identified by the definite article which is different for each gender: “der” for masculine nouns, “die” for female and “das” for neuter nouns. Note that in the plural all three groups take the same article: “die”.
In a normal dictionary the gender of a noun is usually indicated after the word. The most common abbreviations are: m (masculine), f (feminine), nt (neuter).
How to find the gender of a noun?
by the the ending of a noun. There are acertain groups of nouns which have identical genders.
- The following endings usually indicate that a noun is masculine: -er, -ig, -ismus, -ling, -or
- Certain groups of nouns which are masculine: male persons – names of day, months and seasons – alcoholic drinks, brands of cars
- The following endings usually indicate that a noun is feminine: -ei, -heit, -ie, ion, -keit, -tät, -schaft, -ung
- Certain groups of nouns which are feminine: female persons – names of trees and flowers.
- The following endings usually indicate that a noun is neuter: -chen, -lein, -ma, -ment, -um
- Certain groups of nouns which are neuter: young persons – infinitives used as nouns – names of most metals – diminuitives.
by the compound name
- A word that is made up of more than one noun is called a compound noun. In this case the last noun defines the gender: m + f -> f, nt + f -> f.