Can nouns change gender

Noun (grammar, German)

This article deals with the noun. It explains what is meant by a noun and explains the articles, gender, number, the four cases (cases) and the various declensions. Examples with explanations are provided for a better understanding. We also have exercises for you around the noun. This article belongs to our German section.

Most of the words in our language are nouns. One also speaks of nouns, nouns or name words. In addition to nouns, there are other parts of speech, namely verbs, articles, adjectives, pronouns, particles and interjections. Nouns will always be capitalized and denote (Own) Names (Sonja), Creature (dog), Things (fork) or terms (event).

A noun is often accompanied by an article. It is between the certain articles (that, that, that) and the indefinite article (one, one) differentiated. The definite article is used when something very special, unique is meant and the indefinite article is used when it is something less specific.


  • Susi wants to buy a watch.
  • Explanation: Susi doesn't want to buy a special watch, she (yet) has no idea and is (for the time being) looking for any watch.
  • Ben likes Peter's watch.
  • Explanation: Ben likes one particular watch, Peters and not just any other watch.
  • The miller's tree is felled.
  • Explanation: Not just any tree is felled, but a very specific one.
  • We still need a Christmas tree.
  • Explanation: It's not about a very special tree that the family has already chosen, but about a Christmas tree in general.

Would you like to find out whether you are fit with nouns? Then we have a number of tasks or exercises for you. You get four possible answers to a question, one of which is correct. Go to noun tasks / exercises.



Every noun has a grammatical gender, the so-called gender (plural: the genera). It's either a Masculine (masculine noun), a Feminine (feminine noun) or a neuter (neuter noun). One can determine the gender of the specific articles the, the and the detect.


  • Masculine: the mountain, the snow, the ball
  • Feminine: the cup, the sun, the meadow
  • Neuter: the book, the car, the picture

However, the grammatical gender does not always match the natural gender. For example it is called that girl. Here is the noun girl a neuter (= grammatical gender), but the intended person is female (= natural gender).

Nouns have a number, the so-called number (plural: the numbers). You are either in the Singular (Singular) or in the plural (plural). If you form the plural with the definite article, then you always use the.


There are also words that only appear in the singular, so-called Singular tantum (Singular: Singularetantum) and words that only occur in the plural, so-called Plural form (Singular: plural tantum).


  • Singular tantum: the meat, the fruit, the warmth, the cold, the snow, the iron, the copper, the youth, the old age, the cattle, the fame, the honor, the music, the closeness, the education, the Rhine, that Matterhorn ...
  • Plural form: the Alps, the Azores, the United States, the people, the siblings, the parents, the holidays, the expenses, the income, the measles, the rubella, the spaghetti, the jeans ...


In a sentence, a noun occurs in a grammatical case, the so-called case (plural: the cases with a long u). In German, a distinction is made between four cases, which can be determined by asking questions (see below). When you put a noun in a case, that's what it's called decline.

Each gender forms its singular and plural forms somewhat differently. Therefore, here is an overview with examples of all genera and numbers. The changes to the nominative singular are underlined.

Example masculine:

In the singular, the article changes in each case and the noun changes in the genitive. In the plural, the noun changes only in the dative and the article is the same in the nominative and accusative.

Example feminine:

In the singular the noun does not change at all and the article only in the genitive and dative. In the plural, the noun is always the same and the article also only changes in the genitive and dative.

Example neuter:

In the singular, the article of the noun in the genitive and dative and the noun in the genitive change. In the plural, the article changes, but it is the same in the nominative and accusative. The plural form of the noun does not change.

Question sample and substitute sample
Most of the time you can recognize the case of the noun from the article. To be on the safe side, however, it makes sense to always carry out the questionnaire. However, since one asks for both the nominative and the accusative with what, in such a case one can also carry out the substitute sample. Continue to question samples and substitute samples.

When declining nouns, one differentiates not only the gender, but also the way in which they are declined, because there are three declensions: the weak declension, the strong declension and the mixed declension. Go to declinations.

To deepen and practice, you can take a noun test here. There are questions with four possible answers, one of which is always correct. You will find out directly whether the answer given is correct and you will receive a brief explanation of the correct solution. Go to noun tasks / exercises.

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