My husband’s first degree was in German, Russian and medieval languages … but I am a dunce at learning foreign languages. My excuse is that I wasn’t well taught at school, and that might be true, but my main difficulty is having the courage to speak anything but English. It’s not that I’m unintelligent: after all, I did well enough learning Koine Greek when at Bible college … but I didn’t have to speak it, you see!

However, I am giving it a try (to my husband’s delight … and it helps keep him occupied on long car journeys). I started with Duolingo, added in Quizlet and a Collins guide to grammar, and allow my husband to confuse me further from time to time. I’m making slow progress … and I need somewhere to store some grammatical notes from the Duolingo site, so hence a new category here. 

I learn mostly on my tablet/android, but can only view the Duolingo notes on my PC … so I shall cut and paste them here to have access from the lounge of an evening, if you see what I mean?!

Thanks for your patience … in future, simply ignore posts in the category German!

German Plurals – The Nominative Case

In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding an “s” or an “es” at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex, and also the articles for each gender change. The following five suggestions can help:

  1. -e ending: most German one-syllable nouns will need -e in their plural form. For example, in the nominative case, “das Brot” (the bread) becomes “die Brote,” and “das Spiel” (the game) becomes “die Spiele.”
  2. -er ending: most masculine or neuter nouns will need the -er ending, and there may be umlaut changes. For example, in the nominative case “das Kind” (the child) becomes “die Kinder,” and “der Mann” (the man) becomes “die Männer.”
  3. -n/-en ending: most feminine nouns will take either -n or -en in all four grammatical cases, with no umlaut changes. For example, “die Frau” (the woman) becomes “die Frauen” and “die Kartoffel” becomes “die Kartoffeln.”
  4. -s ending: most foreign-origin nouns will take the -s ending for the plural, usually with no umlaut changes. For example: “der Chef” (the boss) becomes “die Chefs.”
  5. There is no change for most neuter or masculine nouns that contain any of these in the singular: -chen, -lein, -el, or -er. There may be umlaut changes. For example: “das Mädchen” (the girl) becomes “die Mädchen,” and “die Mutter” (the mother) becomes “die Mütter.”
German Feminine Plurals – Nouns Ending in -in

Feminine nouns that end in “-in” will need “-nen” in the plural. For example, “die Köchin” (the female cook) becomes “die Köchinnen” in its plural form.