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The Basics
How to Use Articles and Related Words
Knowing a Nouns Gender
Using Cases
Declension of Adjectives
Comparison of Adjectives
Pronouns
Using Pronouns
Numbers
Declension of Nouns

Weak Declension | Strong Declension | Mixed Declension | Four Golden Rules | Oddments | The E Rule | Essential Parts of a Noun

This sections focuses on the declension of the nouns in German. Each one varies with the nouns themselves. There are three groups for which you can divide the declension of nouns - weak, strong, and mixed:
Weak Declension:
adds an -n or -en to the noun:
Singular Plural
Nom. der Student die Studenten
Acc. den Studenten die Studenten
Gen. des Studenten der Studenten
Dat. dem Studenten den Studenten

Other nouns in this declension include: der Bayer (Bavarian), der Christ (Christian), der Nerv (nerve), der Neffe (nephew), and der Mensch (human being) among others.

Feminine nouns may also be included in this grouping with the exception that no feminine nouns change their singular form:
Singular Plural
Nom. die Blume die Blumen
Acc. die Blume die Blumen
Gen. der Blume der Blumen
Dat. der Blume den Blumen

No neuter nouns are found in this grouping.
Strong Declension:
adds -(e)s to the genitive except with feminine nouns. This grouping may be broken up into more detailed groups:

nouns ending with -el, -en, and -er make no ending changes, in singular or plural, though they may or may not add an umlaut:
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. der Onkel die Onkel der Vater die Väter
Acc. den Onkel die Onkel den Vater die Väter
Gen. des Onkels der Onkel des Vaters der Väter
Dat. dem Onkel den Onkeln dem Vater den Vätern

Nouns without umlaut include: das Fenster (window), der Kuchen (cake), das Männlein (little man), der Wagen (car), das Gemüse (vegetable)
Nouns with umlaut include: der Apfel (apple), der Bruder (brother), die Tochter (daughter), das Kloster (monestery, convent), der Ofen (oven)

some nouns add an -e to form the plural with or without an umlaut, all the words in this grouping are monosyllables:
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. der Tag die Tage der Sohn die Söhne
Acc. den Tag die Tage den Sohn die Söhne
Gen. des Tag(e)s der Tage des Sohn(e)s der Söhne
Dat. dem Tag den Tagen dem Sohn den Söhnen

Nouns without umlaut include: der Tisch (table), der Arm (arm), das Bein (leg), der Film (film), das Schuh (shoe)
Nouns with umlaut include: die Angst (fear), der Artzt (doctor), die Hand (hand), die Kuh (cow), der Plan (plan)


other nouns add an -er to form the plural with or without an umlaut:
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. das Bild die Bilder der Wald die Wälder
Acc. das Bild die Bilder den Wald die Wälder
Gen. des Bild(e)s der Bilder des Wald(e)s der Wälder
Dat. dem Bild den Bildern dem Wald den Wäldern

Nouns without umlaut include: das Brett (plank), das Ei (egg), der Geist (spirit), das Licht (light), das Kind (child)
Nouns with umlaut include: das Bad (bath), das Haus (house), der Mann (man, husband), der Irrtum (error), das Land (country)

two oddments are feminine nouns with the suffix -in add -nen to form the plural, also some foreign nouns form their plural by adding -s, these foreign words are the only nouns not ending their dative plural with -n:
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. die Löwin die Löwinnen das Hotel die Hotels
Acc. die Löwin die Löwinnen das Hotel die Hotels
Gen. der Löwin der Löwinnen des Hotels der Hotels
Dat. der Löwin den Löwinnen dem Hotel den Hotels

Feminine nouns with the -in suffix: die Ärztin (woman doctor), die Engländerin (Englishwoman), die Lehrerin (schoolmistress, female teacher), die Studentin (female student), die Füchsin (vixen)
Foreign words withh -s plurals: das Auto (automobile), der Chef (boss), der Tee (tea), das Büro (office), das Radio (radio)
Mixed Declension
has strong genitive singular ending, (e)s, and weak plural ending, -n or -en:
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. der Schmerz die Schmerzen der Name die Namen
Acc. den Schmerz die Schmerzen den Namen die Namen
Gen. des Schmerzes der Schmerzen des Namens der Namen
Dat. dem Schmerz den Schmerzen dem Namen den Namen

Genitive in -(e)s: das Auge (eye), das Bett (bed), der Direktor (director), der Vetter (male cousin), das Hemd (shirt)
Genitive in -ens: der Buchstabe (letter of the alphabet), der Funke (spark), das Herz (heart), der Wille (will), der Gedamle (thought)
Many of these -ens nouns may be found with an -n on the nominative singular.
There are four golden rules to the declension of nouns: 1. umlauts can only be added to a, o, and u, never e or i.
2. feminine nouns never add endings in the singular.
3. except for -s plurals all German plurals in the dative case end with -n.
4. in the plural nominative, accusative and genitive forms all remain the same.
Oddments:
some words only occuring in the singular: das Blut (blood), das Gold (gold), das Mehl (flour), das Obst (fruit in general), das Fleisch (meat)
some words only occuring in the plural: die Eltern (parents), die Leute (people), die Ferien (holidays), die Geschwister (siblings, brothers and sisters)
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom. der Herr die Herren der Käse die Käse
Acc. den Herrn die Herren den Käse die Käse
Gen. des Herrn der Herren des Käses der Käse
Dat. dem Herrn den Herren dem Käse den Käsen
Leave out the e in -(e)s unless the noun ends with -s, -sch, -z. Otherwise use it as much as possible.
The most essential parts of the declension of a noun are the nominative singular, genitive singular and nominative plural. When you look up Stadt in a dictionary it should say: Stadt f (-;-¨e). This indicates that it is feminine, makes no changes in the genitive singular, and has the nominative plural Städte.
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