Gender in German

The first thing you must learn and understand about the German language is that all German nouns have a gender. These are:

  • masculine (male) words
  • feminine (female) words
  • or neuter (neuter) words

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).

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.
 

  • die Flasche - Bottle
  • der Rotwein - Red wine
  • die Rotweinflasche - the bottle of red wine
  • die Pizza - Pizza
  • der Belag - Topping
  • der Pizzabelag - the pizza topping
  • die Dose - Can
  • der Öffner - Opener
  • der Dosenöffner - the can opener

How to pronounce the gender in German

Is there a clue?

The days of the week, months and seasons are all masculine.

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.

Zum Beispiel

 
Ending
Gender
German
English
-ast
masculine
der Gast
the guest
-mus
masculine
der Realismus
the realism
-er
masculine
der Computer
the computer
-ig
masculine
der Essig
the vinegar
-ling
masculine
der Schmetterling
the butterfly
-heit
feminine
die Schönheit
the beauty
-keit
feminine
die Freundlichkeit
the friendliness
-schaft
feminine
die Freundschaft
the friendship
-ung
feminine
die Heizung
the heater
-ei
feminine
die Sauerei
the mess
-in
feminine
die Freundin
the girlfriend
-ion
feminine
die Aktion
the action
-ie
feminine
die Garantie
the guarantee
-lein
neuter
das Häuslein
the little house
-chen
neuter
das Mädchen
the girl
-nis
neuter
das Verhältnis
the proportion
-at
neuter
das Internat
the boarding school
-ment
neuter
das Parlament
the parliament
-um
neuter
das Museum
the museum

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.

Zum Beispiel

Here are a few recommended German lessons to try next!

Bis bald!
Paul Weber
Paul Weber
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