der, die, das – Gender of Nouns in German Grammar

Introduction

The gender of German nouns can be identified by the article they take; der for masculine, die for feminine and das for neuter. While native German speakers intuitively know which article to use, it is best for German learners to learn the article together with the noun. Luckily, there are some rules to help you recognise masculine, feminine and neuter nouns in German Grammar.

Study the rules for grammatical gender of German nouns on Lingolia and practise using der, die and das in the exercises.

Example

der – Masculine Nouns

This table outlines the rules for the masculine nouns in German.

featureexample
male people der Mannthe man, der Präsidentthe president
seasons of the year der Frühlingthe spring, der Sommerthe summer, der Herbstthe autumn, der Winterthe winter
(but: das Frühjahrthe springtime)
days/months der Montag, der Dienstag, der Mittwoch, …the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday...
der Januar, der Februar, der März, der April, …the January/February/March/April...
types of precipitation der Regenthe rain, der Schneethe snow, der Hagelthe hail, der Schauerthe showers
nouns that end in ling der Schmetterlingthe butterfly, der Lehrlingthe apprentice
nouns that end in ich/ig der Teppichthe carpet, der Honigthe honey
nouns made from verbs without en der Laufthe run/course (laufento run), der Sitzthe seat (sitzento sit)

die – Feminine Nouns

This table outlines the rules for the feminine nouns in German.

featureexample
female people die Frauthe woman, die Präsidentinthe president
(but: das Fräuleinthe young lady, das Mädchenthe girl)
numbers used as nouns die Einsthe one
nouns ending in ung die Endungthe ending
nouns ending in schaft die Mannschaftthe team
nouns ending in ion die Diskussionthe discussion
nouns ending in heit/keit die Freiheit, die Heiterkeitthe freedom, the cheerfulness
nouns ending in tät die Identitätthe identity
nouns ending in ik die Musikthe music

das – Neuter Nouns

This table outlines the rules for the neuter nouns in German.

featureexample
letters of the alphabet das Athe A
nouns ending in lein/chen das Fräuleinthe young lady, das Mädchenthe girl
nouns ending in um das Museumthe museum, das Aquariumthe aquarium
nouns ending in ment das Experimentthe experiment
foreign words ending in ma das Themathe topic, das Dramathe drama
nouns made from verbs in the infinitive das Laufenthe running, das Essenthe eating
nouns made from English verbs ending in ing das Timingthe timing, das Trainingthe training
nouns made from adjectives that are not referring to something particular das Neuethe new (thing), das Ganzethe entire (thing), das Gleichethe same (thing)
(but: Das ist der Neue.This is the new one. – e.g. pupil)

Gender of Compound Nouns

When a noun is formed from several other nouns combined into one word, the last noun in the word determines the gender of the entire word.

Example:
der Tischthe table + das Beinthe leg = das Tischbeinthe table leg

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