Having a gender does not mean that nouns actually refer to male, female or neuter things, although, in most circumstances, the nouns that refer to males (such as a male doctor or a male animal) are masculine, while nouns that refer to females are generally feminine (such as a female doctor or female animal).
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Here are some tips for you to help you get your head around it. Remember what nouns are? Nouns are words used to name or identify a person, animal, place, thing, or idea, for example: house, carpet, dream, cat. Just as in English, German nouns can either be singular, such as “cat” or Katze, or plural (i.e., more than one), like “cats” or Katzen.
Let's check out this free lesson on gender in German....
Here are some of the most basic German nouns to get you started. Further on in this lesson we will look at the pronunciation of these and more German nouns.
Is there a clue?
The days of the week, months and seasons are all masculine.
Rocket Record lets you perfect your German pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!
Most nouns ending with – e are feminine, for example “die Blume” the flower. There are some more endings that give you a clue to what gender the noun has. However there are some exceptions, so take it as a rule of thumb.
the little house
the boarding school
What about compound words?
You will come across some very long words in German. These words are called compound nouns and are made up of two or more words. The last noun always determines the gender of the compound noun.
the bottle of red wine
the pizza topping
the can opener
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!