The German noun

The noun Das Substantiv

The noun is a part of speech that names things, beings, phenomenons, notions and ideas. Nouns in german will always be written with upper case initials (the first letter of a substantive/noun is written with capital letter.)

 

Categories of nouns: - proper nouns (which define specifically the name of a being, phenomenom, notion or idea - they are usualy unique given names) 

> Examples: Köln (name of a city in Germany), Thomas (name of a person), die Dunau (name of a river), Rumänien (name of a country), die Relativitätstheorie (relativity theory) etc. 

 

- common nouns (which define a category of things of the same kind)

> Examples: der Fluss (theriver), die Stadt (the town), die Schule (the school), das Kind (the child), der Mann (the man) etc. 

 

- abstract nouns (caracterized particulary by the fact that they can't be counted)   

> Examples: die Gemütlichkeit (the comfort), die Klugheit (the smartness), der Lauf (the run), das Geweine (the crying), das Gelb (the yellow) etc. 

 

- colective nouns (naming a group of objects, persons, beings etc.) 

> Examples: die Jugend (the youth), das Volk (the nation), die Mannschaft (the team) etc. 

 

Remember: When a german noun is preceded by a definite article (der, die, or das) in english the noun will be translated with the article "the"

   Example: das Auto is translated with „the car” if we eliminate the article “das”, translation becomes “car”

  Other examples:

der Mann = the man

der Mann = man

die Frau = the woman

die Frau = woman

der Zug = the train

der Zug = train

German nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine si neuter.

The gender of the nouns can be determined by the articles that precede them. Therefore it is recommended to learn the nouns together with their articles.

Example: - Child = Kind, das (Substantiv, Neutrum)

"das Kind" is of neuter gender as indicated by the article "das"

There are three definite articles for each gender>

der - for masculine gender nouns

die - for feminine gender nouns

das - for neuter gender nouns

The article "die" defines plural nouns indifferently from their gender.

   Examples: die Tiere (the animals), die Steine (the rocks), die Kinder (the children) etc.

The gender of a noun in german is not the same with the gender of the same noun translated from english!

By composition nouns can be simple or compound.
> - simple nouns:  das Wasser (the water), der Lehrer (the teacher), der Baum (the tree), das Haus (the house), das Gebäude (the building) etc. 
- compound nouns (they form by adding more words together and can have in it's compositions other parts of speach like adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs):

The forming of compound nouns:

> das Mineralwasser

German

das Mineral

+

das Wasser

das Mineralwasser

English

(the mineral)

+

(the water)

(the mineral water)

> der Hauptlehrer

German

der Haupt

+

der Lehrer

das Hauptlehrer

English

(the main)

+

(the teacher)

(the main teacher)

> der Obstbaum

German

das Obst

+

der Baum

der Obstbaum

English

(the fruit)

+

(the tree)

(the fruit tree)

> das Rathaus 

German

der Rat

+

das Haus

das Rathaus

English

(the council)

+

(the house)

(the council house, the town hall)

 

Note that in english we use two or more separate words to express the same word in german.

   other examples:
> der Rat + das Haus + der Platz becomes der Rathausplatz (the town hall place/park)
 (the council)   (house) (the place)
> die Kranken + das Haus becomes das Krankenhaus  (the hospital, house of the sick)
(the sick)   (the house)
> das Leben + das Mittel + der Laden becomes der Lebensmittelladen (the grocery store)
(the life)  (environment)  (the store)

Remember: The gender of a compound noun is determined by the last noun of the compound word!