Dimitris’ Diary: Nuremberg and the feeling of being in a medieval fief.
16 de August de 2016
The Lake Wannsee
25 de August de 2016
Exibir Tudo

The definite articles: “der”, “die” and “das”

Hello guys!

Today we will talk about a topic that always generates doubt and that is sometimes cause for panic for those who are learning German: the use of definite articles!

And it could not be otherwise, since the German grammar has three definite articles, one for each gender:

der – masculine

die – feminine

das – neutral

There are grammatical rules that will help you to memorize and associate nouns with their respective definite articles more easily, thus mitigating the effects of differences between English and German languages. See below!



These are the main rules for masculine nouns in German:

  • Male people and the name of their professions: der Mann (the man), der Vater (the father), der Arzt (the doctor), der Spieler (the player);
  • Names of seasons: der Frühling (the spring), der Sommer (the summer), der Herbst (the autumn), der Winter (the winter);
  • Names of months: der Januar (January), der März (March), der Oktober (October), der Dezember (December);
  • Names of weekdays: der Montag (the Monday), der Freitag (the Friday), der Samstag (the Saturday), der Sonntag (the Sunday);
  • Nouns derived from verbs, withouth suffix: der Beginn (the beginning), der Gang (the passing), der Versuch (the attempt);
  • Words derived from verbs ending with –er: der Fahrer (the driver), der Lehrer (the teacher);
  • Words ending with –ismus: der Kapitalismus (the capitalism), der Journalismus (the journalism), der Humanismus (the humanism);
  • Words ending with –ant: der Demonstrant (the demonstrator), der Elefant (the elefant) – exceptions: das Croissant (the croissant), das Restaurant (the restaurant);
  • Words ending with –ent: der Student (the student), der Präsident (the president);
  • Words ending with –ling: der Flüchtling (the refugee), der Lehrling (the apprentice), der Schützling (the protected) – exceptions: das Dribbling (the dribbling), das Bowling (the bowling);
  • Words ending with –ner: der Rentner (the retired), der Brasilianer (the brazilian man);
  • Words ending with –or: der Dokrtor (the doctor), der Motor (the motor), der Traktor (the tractor) – exceptions: das Tor (the gate/ the goal), das Chlor (the chlorine);
  • Car brands: der Audi, der BMW, der Mercedes;
  • Names of alcoholic drinks: der Cognac (the cognac), der Wein (the wine), der Liquor (the liquor) – exceptions: das Bier (the beer);
  • Names of river outside Europe: der Amazonas, der Mississippi, der Niger;
  • Names of mountains: der Everest, der Mont Blanc, der Kilimanjaro;
  • Names of cardinal points: der Nord (the north), der Süd (the south), der West (the west) , der Ost (the east);
  • Names of precipitations: der Regen (the rain), der Schnee (the snow), der Hagel (the hail).



These are the main rules for feminine nouns in German:

  • Female people and the name of their professions: die Frau (the woman), die Mutter (the mother), die Friseuse (the hairdresser), die Ärztin (the doctor);
  • Motorcycle brands: die Harley Davidson, die Yamaha;
  • Names of airplanes and ships: die Boeing 747, die Titanic;
  • Cardinal numbers: die Eins (one), die Fünf (five);
  • Words ending with –heit: die Freiheit (the liberty), die Sicherheit (the safety);
  • Words ending with –keit: die Möglichkeit (the possibility), die Schnelligkeit (the velocity);
  • Words ending with –schaft: die Freundschaft (the friendship), die Mannschaft (the team);
  • Words derived from verbs ending with –t: die Fahrt (the trip by car/train, etc.), die Tat (the action);
  • Words ending with –ung: die Endung (the end), Richtung (the direction), die Zeitung (the newspaper);
  • Words ending with –ade: die Hitparade (the hit-parade), die Marmelade (the marmelade);
  • Words ending with –age: die Garage (the garage), die Passage (the passage);
  • Words ending with –anz: die Eleganz (the elegance), die Dominanz (the dominance);
  • Words ending with –enz: die Existenz (the existence), die Tendenz (the tendency);
  • Words ending with –ik: die Kritik (the criticism), die Musik (the music);
  • Words ending with –ion: die Diskussion (the discussion), die Koalition (the coalition);
  • Words ending with –tät: die Identität (the identity), die Qualität (the quality);
  • Words ending with –ur: die Agentur (the agency), die Reparatur (the repair);
  • Most of two-syllable words ending with –e: die Grenze (the limit/the border), die Lampe (the lamp), die Dose (the can) – exceptions: der Junge (the boy), der Friede (the peace), der Käse (the cheese);
  • Most of words ending with –ei: die Abtei (the abbey), die Metzgerei (the butchery) – exceptions: das Ei (the egg), der Papagei (the parrot);
  • Most of words ending with –ie: die Diplomatie (the diplomacy), die Psychologie (the psychology)exceptions: der Junkie, der Hippie;
  • Most of words ending with –in: die Ärztin (the doctor), die Studentin (the student); die Brasilianerin (the brazilian) – exceptions: das Benzin (the gasoline), der Harlekin (the harlequin).



These are the main rules for neutral nouns in German:

  • All diminutives ending with -chen and –lein: das Häuschen (the little house), das Mädchen (the young lady), das Fräulein (the miss);
  • Infinitives used as nouns: das Essen (the food), das Schreiben (the writing), das Lernen (the learning);
  • Adjectives used as nouns: das Gute (the good), das Böse (the evil);
  • Names of colors: das Rot (the red), das Gelb (the yellow),das Blau (the blue);
  • Almost all 112 known chemical elements: das Aluminium (the aluminum), das Kupfer (the copper), das Uran (the uranium) – exceptions: der Kohlenstoff (the carbon), der Sauerstoff (the oxygen), der Stickstoff (the nitrogen), der Wasserstoff (the hydrogen), der Phosphor (the phosphor), der Schwefel (the sulfur);
  • Names of metals: das Blei (the lead), das Messing (the brass), das Zink (the zinc) – exceptions: die Bronze (the bronze), der Stahl (the steal);
  • Fractions: das Drittel (⅓ the third), das Viertel (¼ the fourth) – exception: die Hälfte (½ the half);
  • Most of words ending with –ment: das Instrument (the instrument), das Parlament (the parliament) – exceptions: der Konsument (the consumer), der Zement (the cement);
  • Most of words ending with –nis: das Ergebnis (the result), das Zeugnis (the witness), das Tennis (the tennis) – exceptions: die Fahrerlaubnis (the driver’s license), die Wildnis (the wildness);
  • Most of words ending with –o: das Auto (the car), das Konto (the account) – exceptions: die Avocado (the avocado), der Euro (the euro);
  • Latin words ending with –um: das Publikum (the public), das Museum (the museum), das Kolosseum (o Coliseum), das Stadium (the stadium);
  • Most of words ending with –tum: das Quantum (o quantum), das Ultimatum (o ultimatum) – exceptions: der Reichtum (the wealth), der Irrtum (the mistake).


That’s all for today, folks! Try to memorize the rules, then it will be easier to remember and use the articles correctly.

Do you want to know more about the German language? Leave your comment below with the topics you would like us to bring in the next classes! 🙂

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