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Der, die, or das? Part 1: Masculine Nouns

As we know, German nouns can be masculine, feminine, or neuter, and the article used with a noun is dependent on its gender. You may have already been advised to memorize the definite article der, die, or das as an essential part of the noun itself, as there are few patterns that will reliably help you retrieve the gender of the noun later on. At Yabla, we try to help with this by always including the definite article of any new vocabulary words presented in our newsletters.

 

However, because new words are not always presented with their definite article in Yabla videos or in real life situations, it may be good to learn a few tendencies that exist for certain word endings. Let’s start with some typically masculine endings, keeping in mind that these rules do have exceptions and that memorizing the article along with each individual noun will always be a better idea.

 

Often, words ending with -er, -or, -en, -ling, -smus, -ig, -eig-ant, or -eich are masculine and require the definite article der.

 

Der Teig hat doch eine ganze Stunde gebraucht, um fertig zu werden.
The batter did indeed take a whole hour to be ready.
Caption 17, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen: mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

 

Dann wird der Honig in Gläser abgefüllt.
Then the honey is poured into jars.
Caption 28, Piggeldy und Frederick: Vergessen

 

Der Garten, den ihr hier seht, der gehört zur Domäne Dahlem.
The garden, which you see here, belongs to the Dömane Dahlem [name of museum].
Caption 4, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

 

It is important to note that these rules often don’t apply to monosyllabic words. For example, words ending in -eich are often masculine, but not das Reich ("the empire").

 

Und der hintere Bereich jetzt hier, wo kommen wir jetzt hin?
And the area now behind here, where are we going now?
Caption 14, Karlsruher Stadtgeburtstag: die Majolika-Manufaktur

 

And don't forget: these “rules” are really only tendencies due to exceptions. As we see here, there are words ending with -ant that are not masculine.

 

Der Elefant wollte an seine Frau nach Afrika schreiben.
The elephant wanted to write to his wife in Africa.
Caption 34, Janoschs Traumstunde: Post für den Tiger

 

Wie heißt das Restaurant, dessen Essen so... dessen Essen so gut sein soll?
What is the name of the restaurant whose food... whose food is supposed to be so good?
Caption 5, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Der Relativsatz

 

Further Learning
We will be back next week with typical endings for feminine nouns. In the meantime, make some flashcards with vocabulary from past lessons or your favorite videos on Yabla German, and always include the definite article so that you learn the gender of the noun. If you have flashcards but have not included the articles, add them now! It is important to get into the habit of doing so.

 

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