Lesson 11. Plural Form for Nouns in German

Today we will talk about building Plural in German. It is relatively more complex than in English. What we do in English (in most cases anyways) we add an ending –s to the noun and we get a plural form of the same noun.

Example:

house – houses

table ‑ tables

lamp – lamps

Of course there will be exceptions such as child – children, tooth – teeth, woman – women, etc. Yet, basically it is very simple.

German system of Plural building is, however, way more complicated. Based on the type of plural form building we can form a number of groups.

Let’s take a look at these groups.

A noun gets a suffix –e (with or without an umlaut)

Here belong:

  • Over 80% of masculine nouns
    der Gast – die Gäste,
    der Sohn – die Söhne,
    der Stuhl – die Stühle;
    der Tag – die Tage,
    der Abend – die Abende
  • Some neuter nouns (mostly polysyllabic but some nouns with one syllable too) with no umlaut added
    das Diktat – die Diktate;
    das Problem – die Probleme;
    das Diplom – die Diplome;
    das Telefon – die Telefone;
    das Jahr – die Jahre;
    das Heft – die Hefte
  • Around 30 one-syllable feminine nouns with an –a-(-u-) in the stem
    die Hand – die Hände,
    die Wand – die Wände,
    die Nacht – die Nächte,
    die Stadt – die Städte,
    die Kuh – die Kühe

A noun gets a suffix -(e)n without an umlaut

Here belong:

  • Most feminine nouns
    die Frage – die Fragen,
    die Zeitung – die Zeitungen,
    die Frau – die Frauen,
    die Freundin – die Freundinnen
  • Masculine nouns of a weak declension type
    der Student – die Studenten,
    der Herr – die Herren,
    der Name – die Namen
  • A few neuter nouns
    das Bett – die Betten,
    das Hemd – die Hemden,
    das Auge – die Augen,
    das Ohr – die Ohren,
    das Herz – die Herzen,
    das Interesse – die Interessen,
    das Insekt – die Insekten,
    das Ende – die Enden

A noun gets a suffix –er with an umlaut

Here belong:

  • One-syllable neuter nouns
    das Buch – die Bücher
    das Haus – die Häuser
  • A few masculine nouns
    der Mann – die Männer
    der Wald – die Wälder
    der Gott -  die Götter
    der Mund – die Münder
    der Wurm – die Würmer
    der Rand – die Ränder
    der Irrtum – die Irrtümer

A noun does not get a suffix, it gets an umlaut or remains the same

Here belong:

  • Masculine nouns ending with –er, -el, -en

der Vater – die Väter,
der Vogel – die Vögel,
der Garten – die Gärten

  • Neuter nouns ending with er, -el, -en, -chen, -lein, or beginning with ge- and ending with –e

das Fenster – die Fenster,
das Mittel – die Mittel,
das Mädchen – die Mädchen,
das Fräulein – die Fräulein,
das Gebäude – die Gebäude

  • Two feminine nouns:
    die Mutter – die Mütter,
    die Tochter – die Töchter

A noun gets an ending –s with no umlaut

Here belong:

  • Neuter and Masculine Nouns with foreign origin:
    das Kino – die Kinos,
    das Auto – die Autos
    der Park – die Parks,
    der Klub – die Klubs

As you see the system of Nouns Plural Form building is very complex, yet it is still a SYSTEM, so it can be memorized.

Your task will be to learn all the types of plural form building and learn all the new words you have come across in today’s lesson.

Also, please fill in the blanks using words from the picture:

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