2 Gender of German Nouns Gender Article Masculine der der Mann (the man), der Student (the student), der Tisch (the table), der Stuhl (the chair)FemininedieDie Frau (the woman), die Studentin (the student), die Universität (the university), die Lampe (the lamp)Neuterdasdas Haus (the house), das Bett (the bed), das Kind(the child), das Buch (the book)Plural,all genders(textbook page 1)Unlike English, which has only one form of the definite article (the,which does not differentiate gender or number), German has fourforms of the definite article: three singular and one plural. Dictionariesand the vocabulary lists in this book indicate nouns as m. (masculine),f. (feminine), n. (neuter), or pl. (plural).German nouns are masculine, feminine, or neuter. Because of the syntheticnature of German, it is essential to learn each noun together withits gender-specific article.
3 Masculine Nouns (textbook page 1-2) Nouns denoting male beings, such as der Vater (the father), der Hahn(the rooster), or der Gott (the god), are always masculine, and mostnouns ending in –er that are agents of a specific activity are likewisemasculine: der Arbeiter (the worker), der Wissenschaftler (the scientist),or der Computer. Nouns ending in –er are discussed in more detailunder 2.1D.
4 Feminine Nouns (textbook page 2) Nouns denoting female beings, such as die Mutter (the mother), dieHenne (the hen), or die Tante (the aunt), are always feminine. Nounsending with the suffix –in, like die Göttin (the goddess), die Königin(the queen), or die Schauspielerin (the actress) are likewise always feminine(see also below under 2.1D).
5 Neuter Nouns (textbook page 2-3) The following nouns are always neuter:
6 The suffix -er(textbook page 3) The suffix -er may also denote a male inhabitant (of a continent,state, or city); for example: ein Amerikaner, ein Schweizer, einBerliner.Occasionally, the -er suffix denotes an instrument, as in: derComputer, der Hammer, der [Telefon-] Hörer ([telephone]receiver).Singular and plural forms (Kapitel 3.3) of these nouns are identical.The plural article die is key to identifying plural forms in thenominative or accusative cases. A plural subject also possesses aplural verb ending in -n or -en.
7 The suffix -inThe –in suffix is always feminine and frequently denotes an occupation or title; for example:(textbook page 3-4) For an inhabitant or a person engaged in an activity indicated by theverb stem, the suffix -in indicates a female person in that category:die Berlinerin, die Philosophin philosopher, die NobelpreisträgerinNobel Laureate.Plurals of these feminine nouns add -nen. The resulting plural ending,-innen, is clearly identifiable and occurs in all cases. You canalso recognize the plural subject by the plural verb ending, -n or -en.
8 Present Tense of the Verb sein (to be) (textbook page 4)The verb sein is one of the most frequently used words in the Germanlanguage. Memorizing its forms from the very start will facilitate all yourfuture reading and translating endeavors. Note that the forms of theverb sein are irregular in both the present and the past tense; no otherverb follows the pattern of sein in the present tense.
9 Past Tenses of the Verb sein (to be) (textbook page 5)The lack of endings in the first and third person singular forms in thepast tense of sein is common only to irregular verbs; a different set ofendings is to be found with regular verbs.
11 Interrogatives (textbook page 6) Interrogatives seek information specifically related to the questionword that initiates the question. The main verb of the sentence followsthe interrogative in second position. In the case of such questions aswas für ein?, welcher?, wie viel?, and wie viele?, qualifiers accompanythe interrogative and also precede the verb. Note the position of eachinterrogative and verb in the following questions.