Examples in German are sie (she), sie (they), and the formal form of “you,” Sie, which is capitalized in all forms. This pronoun, regardless of its meaning, remains the same in the nominative and accusative cases. In the dative, it changes to ihnen/Ihnen, while the possessive form is ihr/Ihr. Since English articles do not change depending on their position in the sentence, the language relies on word order to clarify which term is the subject and which is the object. In addition to its function as the indirect object, the dative is also used after certain dative verbs and with dative prepositions.
Compare, for example, des Hundes and des Boots with “the hound’s” and “the boat’s”. Have you spotted the similarities between German case declensions and certain features of English? They’re both descended from proto-Germanic, an extinct language thought to have been spoken in https://g-markets.net/helpful-articles/bullish-harami-candlestick-pattern/ Scandinavia roughly 2,500 years ago. Case allows German to be more flexible with its word order than is possible in English. For example, compare “the dog bites the man” with der Hund beißt den Mann. OK, so here we need to look at examples for our two types of possessives.
The Nominative Case in German – Der/Die/Das
The nominative case is the subject of the sentence — is the person, place, thing, idea, etc. that is doing something. And learning how to do this is best done while learning the German case system. Finally understand hard-to-grasp German grammar concepts. Each grammar topic comes with one free exercise where you can review the basics, as well as many more Lingolia Plus exercises where you can practise according to your level. Check your understanding by hovering over the info bubbles for simple explanations and handy tips.
We’re still working with the same section of the chart. And neuter accusative is one of our 3 exception spots. There is much more that the two conventional charts (and the other 8 I mentioned!) have in common than not — that’s why we can combine the charts into one that simply has 3 exception spots. Remember, with our standard rules, our determiner will take the strong declension. BUT specifically ein-word determiners will take no declension in just 3 instances.
The Genitive Case in German – Des/Des/Der
And our ‘root’ possessive determiner (that is the basis for both the possessives my AND mine) is mein. But when it’s simply a matter of picking the right declension for your determiner (so, we’re saving the discussion on adjectives for another day), then the process is extra easy. Instead of memorizing chart after chart of the many possible solutions, we can simply memorize the formula which lets us ‘plug in’ any word that needs a declension.
Since the genitive only has two forms (des or der), you only need to learn those two. However, in the masculine and neuter, there is also an additional noun ending, either -es or -s. In the examples below, the genitive word or expression is in bold. It’s ok to learn their declension, the noun suffixes, etc., I stand by all of the advice I have given in this article.
When & how to use der die das.
The more you expose yourself to the German language, the easier it will be for you. Whether you play the Grammar Challenge or just the Fast Track, you’ll get plenty of exposure to how German definite articles are used in context. The most successful language learners know that learning to speak a language isn’t about memorizing lots of tables by heart, but about having fun with it. So go out there, have some fun with German, and definite articles will follow suit. Determiners is a big, overarching category that includes both definite and indefinite articles plus a bunch of other words that all function within German the same way.
The meaning of both of these sentences is still that the man owes the woman (and before you think ‘der Frau’ was a typo, read my Dative Case Guide; otherwise, just trust me for now!). In English, the accusative case is known as the objective case (direct object). If you misuse the accusative case in German, you might say something that would sound like “him has the book” or “her saw he yesterday” in English. It’s not just some esoteric grammar point; it impacts whether people will understand your German (and whether you’ll understand them).
Just like there are different ways of saying ‘the’ in German, there are also different ways of saying words such as this, that, which, some, many, each/every, and all. The accusative is used in some standard time and distance expressions.
- The most difficult part of learning the German language is the articles (der, die, das) or rather the gender of each noun.
- That means that it’s possible to combine them all, redefine / recategorize some terms (keep reading!) and mention a handful of special exceptions (also coming up!).
- German articles are used similarly to the English articles,a and the.
Just the dies- part is what actually carries the meaning of ‘this’. But without the declensions reflecting gender/case, we couldn’t use ‘this’ or ‘red’ in a German sentence. German noun genders are determined by either by group or by form. All the words that come in front of nouns are either determiners OR adjectives. But, again, instead of memorizing 10 charts with the declensions tacked onto all those different types of words, we can learn smarter, not harder by memorizing just the declensions themselves.
Instead of attempting to memorize those 10 charts (up to 160 words!!!), you can learn smarter, not harder by memorizing just the declensions themselves. All of the declensions that are shared in common are listed under for strong declensions. ALL of those 10 charts (including the 3 on adjectives that I cover here and the charts on pronouns here) fit together nicely with primarily overlapping material. Declensions are endings that get put onto words (including, but not limited to, articles) so that they reflect the gender & case of the noun the follows.
Online exercises to improve your German
Ein netter Mann is the complete noun phrase (Mann is our masculine noun). Ein is an ein-word determiner (‘a’) and netter is an adjective. The 2nd declension pattern is an exception situation that — in the nominative case — applies just to masculine and neuter nouns. This is also a good example for impressing upon English-speakers the importance of learning the gender of nouns in German.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room and cry. You do not have to learn ALL the genders of ALL the nouns by heart – there are shortcuts. Notice how ein-words includes ‘a’ (along with other words) and how der-words includes ‘the’ (along with other words). This is how the definite articles are conventionally taught.
If you don’t like repurposing the same vocabulary of der- and ein-words like this, that is totally fine (and understandable, too). Then, you just need to pick the correct declensions of the three. And that’s where we circle back to our 4 declension patterns. Our declensions rules & patterns from above are easy to see reflected in this chart. If you can answer these questions, you will always know which declension –strong or weak (or none!) is needed on each determiner and/or adjective. For starters, you need to know the gender & case of the noun in order to identify the right area of the chart to work with.
When to Use die
We can replace ALL of the conventional charts listed above. Remember instead that all of these words are simply determiners (that, of course, each have their own distinct meanings of the, a, this, my, etc.). Now, look again at the der-words and ein-words charts with this new All-In-One Chart underneath them for easy reference. That means that it’s possible to combine them all, redefine / recategorize some terms (keep reading!) and mention a handful of special exceptions (also coming up!).
The good news is that all these charts have much more in common than not. The content on this page is provided by Wiktionary.org and available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Just like the other cases, there are also a couple of prepositions that always take the genitive case like wegen (because of), aufgrund (due to), innerhalb (within), außerhalb (outside).
And the gender of the noun is an inseparable feature of the noun that has to come along for the ride. Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one. Both words refer to a male individual, but you need to use the correct one depending on whether “he” is the subject or the object of the sentence. That’s like a simplified version of how case works in German. Technically, the best term for the ‘stand-alone’ possessives is possessive pronouns (because pronouns take the place of nouns / noun phrases).
The most difficult part of learning the German language is the articles (der, die, das) or rather the gender of each noun. For example das Mädchen, a young girl is neutral while der Junge, a young boy is male. Those final letters (called declensions) are the super-important parts! All the information about noun case is in those final letters!
What’s the best way to learn definite articles in German?
Here you have the same uber-traditional version and a somewhat improved, more ‘modern’ version of the chart. I’ve even heard of truly dedicated German learners posting sticky notes all over their homes, labeling every individual object with its German name. Learning the different articles in German can be made easier by following some helpful tips. It’s all about using the corresponding articles as you learn new words, and then paying close attention to them as they’re used in different contexts. And don’t forget that how a word ends can give you a clue as to its gender, so memorize those and practice, practice, practice.
The end of nouns, or, the suffix frequently determines the gender of the noun. What all the charts on that long list above have in common are the very last letters that get put onto the words. That’s a total of 10 charts with just itty bitty changes that somehow you have to remember. If you’re thinking that this topic of articles is getting progressively harder, you’re right — it sure is.