But in modern English, there is no inflection of adjectives. You can confirm this if you look at the English versions of the previous two sentences about the gray house. In sentence 2, the German word grau has an -e ending and the English word “gray” has no ending. Here, again, is the abbreviated chart (no weak declensions listed). For the full chart and how to use it, read my guide on declensions. — German students are introduced to lots and lots of separate charts for all the various words that come in front of nouns.
We see this reflected in the words der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neuter). Once you’ve mastered using articles in the Dativ case, you can learn how to use Dativ pronouns in German. Note how the order of the words may change, but as long as you have the proper accusative articles, the meaning remains clear. For native English speakers, one of the most challenging aspects of learning German, at least initially, can be the fact that each noun, pronoun, and article has four cases. Not only does every noun have a gender, but that gender also has four different variations, depending on where it lands in a sentence.
Every noun is categorised as either masculine (männlich), feminine (weiblich) or neutral (sächlich). German articles are used similarly to the English articles,a and the. However, they are declined differently (change) according to the number, gender and case of their nouns. German noun genders are determined by either by group or by form. That means that it’s possible to combine them all and just mention a handful of special exceptions. All our bases are covered and you’ve got a solid foundation in German that doesn’t involve 10 mind-numbing, overwhelming, unnecessary charts.
With this much information, you know that you need the das, dem, or des version of the neuter ‘the’. If Mann played any other role in the sentence, we would no longer use der in front of it (but rather den, dem or des). While the noun’s gender is pretty meaningless (but still has to be accounted for — rats!), the noun’s case is VERY important information. “The present”, is the direct object, as its being given. “The child” is then the indirect object, as it’s receiving the direct object. The following chart shows the personal pronouns in all four cases.
This is where we write about language learning as well as post useful resources. The following table shows some of the suffixes that indicate a specific gender. If you answered that grau in the first sentence has no ending and grau in the second sentence does have an ending, you’re right! In grammatical terms, adding endings to words is called “inflection” or “declination.” When we put endings on words, we are “inflecting” or “declining” them. OK, so here we need to look at examples for our two types of possessives. Remember, we have the one variety (my, your, our, etc.) that comes in front of nouns and the other (mine, yours, ours, etc.) that stands alone.
This is how the definite articles are conventionally taught. I wouldn’t go into walk up to this person and say “Entschuldigung, meinten Sie nicht DAS Mädchen? ” (although I might bring this up once the crisis was resolved ☺). It didn’t matter that they used the feminine article instead of the neuter, I could still understand what they were trying to say.
Often, the dative can be identified by adding a “to” in the translation, such as “the policeman gives the ticket to the driver.” In addition to its function as the indirect object, the dative is also used after certain dative verbs and with dative prepositions. In the examples below, the dative word or expression is in bold. You can see the in massive table that there are also many words that can function as either a plural determiner or as an adjective (in front of a plural noun). Then, remember that all weak declensions that are just -e won’t take an extra ‘e’. See how the All-In-One Chart helps you know exactly which declensions to put on.
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.
The only thing to watch out for is the difference between -e and -er (as in eine vs. einer), which can be tricky. The explanation and audio recordings on this page should help you figure it out. I already mentioned the obvious similarity between the German genitive and the English “Saxon genitive”. 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?
I gave you a good list of der-words above (and there are more!), but let’s look at the common jed- (every) now and pair it with Teller still. Click for a complete discussion of this chart detail in my guide on declensions. Only ein-words only in these 3 spots behave differently by taking no declension. Think of the four cases as ‘slots’ in a sentence that we must/may fill up with nouns. The end of nouns, or, the suffix frequently determines the gender of the noun.
Our this/that distinction in English – what linguists call the proximal/distal distinction – is not handled the same way in all languages, and German just doesn’t have it to the same degree. If you’re a German beginner, this table might seem quite daunting. But, apart from grouping the article forms according to their similarity, there is one other thing you can do to make your life easier – DROP THE GENITIVE CASE. That’s right; I just said you should ignore a whole case. Technically, the best term for the ‘stand-alone’ possessives is possessive pronouns (because pronouns take the place of nouns / noun phrases). What all the charts on that long list above have in common are the very last letters that get put onto the words.
What’s weird about its zero word status, though, is that all- can be used as a zero word in the singular or in the plural. Now let’s put braun (brown) after each of those instances of ‘ein’ from above. We can take the ideas of the declension rules & patterns and rephrase them a little so that they work as directions for how to use the All-In-One Declensions Chart. Then, if there is an adjective (or multiple), they take the strong declension.
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. I’m pretty sure you’ll have no problem remembering how to say ‘the’ (e.g. der, die, das) and ‘a’ (e.g. ein, eine, etc.) in German. But there’s absolutely ZERO reason to remember the grammar-speak terms.
Strong declensions better (but not flawlessly) indicate the gender/case of the noun because they are the most varied. Knowing the assigned (and predictable, but rarely intuitive) gender of each German noun is half of the battle of using a noun in a sentence. In the accusative case, we were dealing with the “direct object”.
The four German cases are the nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative. You can think of these as the equivalent of the subject, possessive, indirect object, and direct object in English. Determiners / Pronouns will all take strong declensions as per our standard rules & basic declension pattern #1 that follows from them. So, please please please forget all about definite and indefinite articles. Again, if you know your noun’s gender & case and whether you’re using an ein-word in one of the 3 exception spots, you will always know which declension your determiner needs. And those letters (-r, -e, -s, -n, -m) are the declensions or endings.
And then I recommend coming up with some way to help yourself remember which determiners belong to which category. Almost always add an ‘e’ between the ‘root’ determiner / adjective and the declension. Pattern #2 is for a handful of exception instances that apply ONLY if an ein-word determiner is used in one of three specific instances. That leaves us with just pattern #2, which is an exception to this general preference for the strong declension taking priority.
The 3 listed under the masculine nominative, neuter nominative, and neuter accusative. Traditionally, German students are introduced to lots and lots of separate charts for all the words that take declensions. So, imagine the two conventional articles charts from above … but with another 8 charts on top of them with just itty bitty changes that somehow you have to remember. Indefinite articles is “grammar-speak” for ‘a’ — all the different ways of saying ‘a’ in German.
For example, the nominative/accusative cases for feminine and plural nouns are the same, and the same goes for the masculine and the neuter dative and genitive. The following chart shows the adjective endings for the nominative case with the definite articles (der, die, das) and the indefinite articles (ein, eine, keine). You can tell that a noun is in the genitive case by the article, which changes to des/eines (for masculine and neuter) or der/einer (for feminine and plural). 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.
Initially referencing individual charts that add the declensions onto the determiners for you might arguably make sense for a very, very new German learner. All of the declensions that are shared in common are listed under for strong declensions. But you’ll also see the terms determiners, pronouns, https://g-markets.net/helpful-articles/why-do-we-fail-5-trading-psychology-stages-to/ and even adjectives coming up in discussion, with all the lines of definition between them very frustratingly blurred. This is how we know we’re dealing with declensions pattern #1. Pattern #1 is the standard — you can see the strong declension taking priority by being required on the determiner.
What this title essentially means is that even native German speakers often use the dative instead of the genitive case and that pretty soon the genitive will cease to be used. Even now, the genitive is something you learn in German language courses only when you reach level B1 (intermediate user), or thereabouts. To sum up, you can have a pretty decent and grammatically correct conversation in German without ever using the genitive case. This is also a good example for impressing upon English-speakers the importance of learning the gender of nouns in German.