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All nouns have a gender in German, either masculine, feminine or neuter. You must memorize the gender of each noun:
1. Male persons or animals, the seasons, months, and days are all masculine, as are nouns ending in -ant, -ast, -ich, -ig, -ismus, -ling, -or and -us.
2. Female persons or animals, and numerals are all feminine, as are nouns ending in -a, -anz, -ei, -enz, -heit, -ie, -ik, -in, -keit, -schaft, -sion, -sis, -tät, -tion, -ung and -ur.
3. Young persons or animals, metals, chemical elements, letters of the alphabet, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, continents, countries and provinces are all neuter, as are nouns that end in -chen, -icht, -il, -it, -lein, -ma, -ment, -tel, -tum, and -um. Nouns referring to things that end in -al, -an, -ar, -ät, -ent, -ett, -ier, -iv, -o and -on, as well as most words with the prefix ge- and most nouns ending in -nis and -sal are also neuter.
All nouns in German are capitalized in writing.
All nouns (as well as pronouns and adjectives) have a case depending on what function they serve in the sentence. These may seem strange, but remember that English uses cases also; however, we would say direct object instead of accusative, or indirect object instead of dative. Although these cases may make learning new words difficult, they actually help with word order because the position of words in a sentence is not as fixed in German as it is in English. And the reason for that is because words can occur in these four cases:
|Nominative||subject of the sentence||The girl is reading.|
|Accusative||direct objects||We see the mountain.
I bought a gift.
|Dative||indirect objects||We talk to the guide.
I gave my mom a gift.
|Genitive||indicates possession or relationship||The book of the girl.
The dog's tail.
The nouns you look up in a dictionary will be in the nominative case.
|Nominative||der (dare)||die (dee)||das (dahs)||die|
|Nom.||ein (ine)||eine (ine-uh)||ein|
|This / These||That / Those|
Jener is an older word found in written German that was used to mean that or those, but today in spoken German the definite articles are used. Dort or da may accompany the definite articles for emphasis. Das is also a universal demonstrative and therefore shows no agreement. Notice the last letter of each of the words above. They correspond to the last letters of the words for the definite articles. Words that are formed this same way are called der-words because they follow the pattern of the der-die-das declension. Other der-words are: jeder-every, and welcher-which. Mancher (many) and solcher (such) are also der-words, but they are used almost always in the plural.
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