A plural noun expresses that there is more than one person, object, idea etc. To form plural nouns in German, we can add -n/-en, -e, -e/-er, or -s to the end of the noun. The rules for plural noun formation in German grammar are listed below.
Learn everything you need to know about the formation of plural nouns in German on Lingolia and test your knowledge in the exercises.
das Geld (no plural)
Plural Noun Endings in German Grammar
German plurals are formed by adding -n/-en, -e, -e/-er, -s. Some nouns are the same in their singular and plural forms e.g. die Löffel whilst others are mostly used in the singular e.g. die Milch or plural form e.g. die Eltern. The ending of a nouns give us a clue as to which plural ending to use.
Below is a summary of word endings and their typical plural endings. Be aware that there are many exceptions to these rules.
Here is a list of German noun endings that form the plural with -n or -en:
masculine nouns with the endings -e, -ent, and, -ant, -ist, -or
der Student – die Studententhe student – the students
feminine nouns with the endings -e, -in, -ion, -ik, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -tät, -ung
die Nation – die Nationenthe nation – the nations
in the case of feminine nouns that end in -in, the n is doubled
die Lehrerin – die Lehrerinnenthe teacher – the teachers
the endings -ma, -um, -us in foreign words are usually replaced by -en
das Thema – die Thementhe topic – the topics
Here is a list of German noun endings that form the plural with -e:
masculine nouns with the endings -eur, -ich, -ier, -ig, -ling, -ör
der Friseur – die Friseurethe hairdresser – the hairdressers
many single-syllable feminine nouns
die Hand – die Händethe hand – the hands
an umlaut is added to the plural form
Here is a list of German noun endings that form the plural with -r or -er:
many single-syllable neuter nouns
das Wort – die Wörterthe word – the words
an umlaut is often added to the plural form
To note: feminine nouns never form the plural with -r/-er.
Here is a list of German nouns endings that form the plural with -s:
masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns with the endings -a, -i, -o, -u, -y
der Opa – die Opasthe grandpa – the grandpas
das Auto – die Autosthe car – the cars
die Mutti – die Muttisthe mum – the mums
das Hobby – die Hobbysthe hobby – the hobbies
die Lehmannshe Lehmann family
No Plural Ending
Here is a list of German noun endings that don’t change in the plural form:
masculine nouns with the endings -el, -en, -er
der Löffel – die Löffelthe spoon – the spoons
neuter nouns with the endings -chen, -lein
das Mädchen – die Mädchenthe girl – the girls
Singular or Plural
Most nouns can be used in the singular and the plural.
der Geldschein – die Geldscheinethe banknote – the banknotes
die Münze – die Münzenthe coin – the coins
Some nouns tend to be used only in the singular.
das Geldthe money, der Hungerthe hunger, die Milchthe milk
There is a plural form, “die Gelder”, but this has a different meaning.
Some nouns are used only in the plural.
die Elternthe parents, die Leutethe people, die Ferienthe holidays