Plural Nouns

German is a kick-ass language. As in, its grammar is kicking my ass. It is, in every respect, more complicated than I anticipated.

Not that I object. I’m always up for a challenge. Or multiple challenges. Today: learning to make nouns plural!

According to Duolingo, these are the basic guidelines:

Single-Syllable Words…

…Tend to take the ending -e. So, for example, das Brot becomes die Brote

Masculine/Neutral Nouns…

...Tend to take the ending -er, and sometimes gain umlauts (those pretty little double dots above a letter. For example, ü ). So der Mann becomes die Männer, and das Kind becomes die Kinder

…Unless they end in -chen, -lein, -el, -er! Then, their endings may not change, but they still might acquire an umlaut.

Feminine Nouns…

…Tend to take the ending -n or -en. eg, die Frau becomes die Frauen, and die Kartoffel becomes die Kartoffeln.

…Unless they end in -in!  In that case, they take the ending -nen.

Foreign-Origin Nouns…

…Take the ending -s. Sound a bit familiar?

One last thing: did you notice what der and das did when they went plural? They also turned feminine! Apparently, plural nouns always use the feminine “the”, die. That’s pretty neat.

And that’s it! Not as bad as it looked on paper. Of course, like any language, I’m sure German is just overflowing with exceptions – but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.


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