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The N Declension in German, Part III

In a previous lesson, we discussed N declensions in German that use nouns having to do with titles, professions, and objects. To review, the term "N declension" means that there are certain masculine nouns (with a single neuter exception—see below!) that have an "-n" or "-en" added to the end in all singular grammatical cases except the nominative case. This week we will take a look at some other N declensions that are exceptions to the rule.


There are certain masculine nouns that take the N declension, but also add the genitive "s" to the N declension "en" in the genitive case only:


Ich möchte euch sagen, dass wir aus einer anderen Welt kommen, aber wir sind Botschafter des Friedens.

I want to tell you, uh... that we come from another world, but we are ambassadors of peace.

Captions 68-69, Es war einmal... der Weltraum: Die Saurier

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Fisch ist ein Symbol des christlichen Glaubens und fällt nicht unter das Abstinenzverbot.

Fish is a symbol of the Christian faith and does not fall under the abstinence prohibition.

Captions 66-67, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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Thus the masculine nouns der Friede and der Glaube become respectively des Friedens and des Glaubens in the genitive case. Other examples of N declension nouns that end with "-ens" in the genitive case include der Buchstabe ("the letter"), der Funke ("the spark"), der Gedanke ("the thought"), der Name ("the name"), and der Wille ("the will").


And now, the biggest exception of all the words taking the N-declension:


Und so ritt der Prinz schließlich schweren Herzens zurück nach Hause. Allein.

And so the Prince finally rode with a heavy heart back home. Alone.

Caption 32, Märchen - Sagenhaft Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse

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All of the nouns that take the N declension are masculine, with the single exception: das Herz. As you see above, the nominative das Herz becomes the genitive des Herzens. It's doubly exceptional for the fact that it also takes the additional "s" in the genitive case.


Further Learning
This wraps up the last part of our series on N declensions in German. We've included a list below of 132 words that take the N declension. While the list is not complete, they're the words you're most likely to come across in everyday use. Go through the list below (being sure to look up any words you don't know in a translation dictionary!) and then go to Yabla German and find some of the words in their N declension form as used in a real-world context.


List of Common N declension Words (all masculine nouns unless noted) Words marked with asterisks* take an extra "s" in the genitive case.


Absolvent Affe Afghan
Afghane Agent Architekt
Assistant Athlet Autist
Automat Bandit Bär
Baske Basque Bauer
Biologe Bote Brite
Brite Bube Buchstabe*
Bulgare Bulle Burmese
Bürokrat Bursche Chinese
Chirurg Christ Däne
Demokrat Demonstrant Diamant
Diplomat Dirigent Doktorand
Drache Egoist Elefant
Emigrant Erbe Experte
Falke Fink Finne
Fotograf Franzose Friede*
Funke* Fürst Gatte
Gedanke* Genosse Glaube
Graf Grieche Gynäkologe
Hase Held Herr
(das) Herz Hirte Idealist
Immigrant Insasse Ire
Journalist Junge Jude
Kamerad Kandidat Kapitalist
Katholik Knabe Kojote
Kollege Komet Kommunist
Komplize Konsonant Kroate
Kunde Kurde Laie
Lieferant Lotse Löwe
Mensch Monarch Musikant
Nachbar Nachkomme Name*
Narr Neffe Ochse
Pädagoge Pate Philologe
Philosoph Planet Pole
Polizist Portugiese Praktikant
Präsident Prinz Produzent
Psychologe Quotient Rabe
Rebell Riese Rumäne
Schimpanse Schöffe Schotte
Seismograf Sklave Soldat
Sozialist Soziologe Spezialist
Student Terrorist Therapeut
Tourist Türke Utopist
Vagabund Wille*  


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