Der, die, das

Der, die, and das are three ways of saying the in German. Which one you use depends on the grammatical gender of the noun that follows.



das Eichhörnchen

the squirrel


der Baum

the tree


die unendliche Leere

the infinite void

These are all in what's called the nominative case, the case where we're talking about the subject of a sentence (like a squirrel), unmodified by any verbs.

The gender of a particular noun usually has nothing to do with what that word describes. It's not that trees are particularly manly, or that ominous voids are particularly girly. That's simply the grammatical gender those nouns happen to have, by consensus of German speakers.

Generally, you want to learn the gender together with the word. Rather than remembering that Baum means tree, try to remember der Baum! However, the genders are not totally random either. We'll learn some patterns later we can use to predict noun gender for certain groups of words.

Roughly speaking, around 40% of nouns are masculine, 40% are feminine, and 20% are neuter. A very small number of words do not have a single consensus gender and are used with multiple articles. They're fancy and rare like shiny Pokémon!

Töskirelon Uferlos Yi
Aber die Plurale!
But the plurals!

For plurals, we always use die, regardless of the noun's base gender. For example, der Baum would become die Bäume when talking about mulitiple trees. Meanwhile, das when used without a noun can also have the meaning of "that" or "it".


Unlike in English, the first letter of every noun in German is Capitalized. This is particularly useful when learning the language, as it makes nouns easy to identify.

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