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Plural vs. Singular Nouns

This week, we're going to take a look at a few nouns that are automatically plural in English but singular in German. It is important for English speakers to take note of these before the wrong conjugation gets used, or an article gets left out.


A classic example of this is die Brille, which unlike its English translation "the glasses" is singular in German:


Wo ist meine Brille?

Where are my glasses?

Caption 3, Nicos Weg - Folge 21: Was ist das?

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As you can see, the third person singular form of sein is used with die Brille, and NOT the third person plural like in English. Die Brillen sind... would indicate multiple pairs of glasses.


There are quite a few of these nouns, for example, die Hosedas Geschirr, and die Schere:


Ich habe mir auch gleich eine neue Hose gekauft.

I just bought myself new trousers as well.

Caption 23, Pettersson und Findus - Eine Geburtstagstorte für die Katze - Part 3

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Hier gibt's viel Geschirr, aber ich glaub, Christiane hat genug Geschirr.

There are a lot of dishes here, but I believe Christiane has enough dishes.

Caption 37, Fine - bringt ihre Sachen vorbei

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Das hier ist eine Schere, mit der kann ich Metall schneiden.

These here are scissors with which I can cut metal.

Caption 5, Feuerwehr Heidelberg - Löschfahrzeug - Part 2

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While we say "the police are" in English, the noun is actually singular in German. Take a look at the conjugation of ermitteln below:


Die Polizei ermittelt wegen Hausfriedensbruch

The police are investigating because of [criminal] trespassing

Caption 12, Atomkraft - Streit um AKW-Laufzeiten

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Further Learning
Take a note of any similar nouns you find on Yabla German and make sure to memorize them. Can you find any nouns that follow the opposite pattern?


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