Forming plural nouns in German


Nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine si neuter.

> The gender is indicated by an article: der, die, das 

· der - for masculine gender

· die - for feminine gender

· das - for neuter gender

The article for plural, for all nouns is “die”.

Examples:

Number and gender

Noun

Pluralul, for all genders (masculine, feminine, neuter)

singular, masculine

Der Mann

(= the man)

Die Männer (= the men)

singular, feminine

Die Frau

(= the woman)

Die Frauen (= the women)

singular, neuter

Das Kind

(= the child)

Die Kinder (= the children)

In german, the final plural form of a noun has the following features:

 

1.   Adding of the suffixes (endings): -e, -er, -(e)n, and -s

2.   Changing of the vowels by adding “Umlaut” (Umlat = the two dots on top of a vowel, examples: ä, ö, ü)

3.   Keeping the singular form (example: sg. - der Wagen = vehicle; pl. – die Wagen = vehicles)

 

Categories of nouns:

*all nouns in the following tables are preceded by the article "the"

Endings

Masculine gender

Without Umlaut

With Umlaut (ä, ö, ü)

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

-e

der Hund (=dog)

die Hunde (=dogs)

der Dampf (=steam)

die Dämpfe (=steams)

der Tag (=day)

die Tage (=days)

der Ball (=ball)

die Bälle (=balls)

der Tisch (=table)

die Tische (=tables)

der Turm (=tower)

die Türme (=towers)

der Krieg (=war)

die Kriege (=wars)

der Baum (=tree)

die Bäume (=trees)

>

>

>

>

-er

der Geist (=ghost)

>

die Geister (=ghosts)

>

der Mann (=man)

die Männer (=men)

der Vater (=father)

die Väter (=fathers)

der Rand (=edge)

die Ränder (=edges)

der Wald (=forest)

die Wälder (=forests)

>

>

-(e)n

der Hase (=rabbit)

die Hasen (=rabbits)

der Kasten (=box)

die Kästen (=boxes)

der Mensch (=human)

die Menschen (=humans)

der Boden (=ground)

die Böden (=grounds)

der Architekt (=architect)

die Architekten (=architects)

der Bogen (=bow)

die Bögen (=bows)

der Spezialist (=specialist)

die Spezialisten (=specialists)

der Schaden (=damage)

die Schäden (=damages)

>

>

>

>

-s

der Uhu (=owl)

>

die Uhus (=owls)

>

-

-

Most of the masculine gender nouns, which in singular contain the vowels „a“, „o“ si „u“, will get Umlaut in plural, becoming „ä”, „ö“, „ü“.

All the masculine gender nouns, which in plural have the ending “-er”, and contain the vowels “a”, “o”, “u”, will get Umlaut, with few exceptions (see example “die Geister”).

Masculine gender nouns, which in singular have the ending “-en”, will get in plural only Umlaut, the ending remaining the same.

 

Endings

Feminine gender

Without Umlaut

With Umlaut (ä, ö, ü)

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

-e

die Wildniss (=wilderness)

>

die Wildnisse (=wildernesses)

>

die Kuh (=cow)

die Kühe (=cows)

die Nacht (=night)

die Nächte (=nights)

die Hand (=hand)

die Hände (=hands)

die Angst (=fear)

die Ängste (=fears)

>

>

-er

-

-

-

-

-(e)n

die Tafel (=board)

die Tafeln (=boards)

die Werkstatt
(=workshop)

>

die Werkstätten
 (=workshops)

>

die Frage (=question)

die Fragen (=questions)

die Straße (=street)

die Straßen (=streets)

die Idee (=idea)

die Ideen (=ideas)

>

>

-s

 

 

 

die Boa (=Boa snake)

die Boas (=Boa snakes)

-

-

die CD (=CD)

die CDs (=CDs)

 

 

die Oma (=grandma)

die Omas (=grandmas)

 

 

>

>

 

 

All the feminine gender nouns, which in plural end in “-e” will get Umlaut, with few exceptions (see example “die Wildnisse”).

Most feminine gender nouns, which in plural form end in “-(e)n”, don’t get Umlaut, with few exceptions (see example “die Werkstätten”).

 

Endings

Neuter gender

Without Umlaut

With Umlaut (ä, ö, ü)

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

-e

das Jahr (=year)

die Jahre (=years)

das Floß (=raft)

>

die Flöße (=rafts)

>

das Gedicht (=poem)

die Gedichte (=poems)

das Gewicht (=weight)

die Gewichte (=weights)

das Bordell (=borthel)

die Bordelle (=borthels)

>

>

-er

das Bild (=picture)

die Bilder (=pictures)

das Land (=land)

die Länder (=lands)

das Kind (=child, kid)

die Kinder (=kids)

das Wort (=word)

die Wörter (=words)

das Licht (=light)

die Lichter (=lights)

das Buch (=book)

die Bücher (=books)

das Ei (=egg)

die Eier (=eggs)

das Haus (=house)

die Häuser (=houses)

>

>

>

>

-(e)n

das Auge (=eye)

die Augen (=eyes)

-

-

das Bett (=bed)

die Betten (=beds)

das Ohr (=ear)

die Ohren (=ears)

>

>

-s

das Auto (=car)

die Autos (=cars)

-

-

das Motto (=motto)

die Mottos (=motos)

das Modell (=model)

die Modells (=models)

>

>

Many neuter gender nouns form plural by adding the “-er” ending to the singular form.

Most neuter gender nouns, which in singular form contain the vowels „a“, „o“ si „u“ and in plural have the ending “-er”, will get Umlaut, becoming „ä”, „ö“, „ü“ (see examples “die Wörter”, die “Bücher” etc.)

Most neuter gender nouns form plural by adding the “-e“ ending, in this case the vowels rarely get Umlaut (see exception“die Flöße”)

 

Remember:

·    Masculine and neuter nouns ending in singular form with -er, -en, -el, -chen, -lein won’t get any ending in plural form. Some masculine nouns which in singular end in -er, -en, -el in plural will get Umlaut.

·    Most of the masculine and neuter nouns form plural with the ending -e.

Feminine gender nouns which form plural with the ending -e will always get Umlaut.

·    Most of the neuter gender nouns, and some masculine gender nouns form plural by adding the ending -er, in this case almost all the nouns get Umlaut.

·    Nouns in singular form ending with “-a”, “-i”, “-o” or “-u”, abbreviations and borrowed english words in plural will get the ending -s.

·    Singular form nouns ending in -nis and -in are going to double their consonant while forming plural (examples: die Lehrerin – die Lehrerinnen, das Ergebnis – die Ergebnisse etc.)