German Grammar 101 – Gender

Nouns in German are either masculine, feminine or neuter.

This can easily be seen from the singular definite articles:

“der“ for masculine
“die“ for feminine
“das“ for neuter

Watch out! All German nouns are capitalized, for example:

der Spiegel (mirror) – masculine
die Blume (flower) – feminine
das Auto (car) – neuter

Gender in German is grammatical, unlike in English where it’s natural. In English “wife“ is feminine, “husband“ masculine, but objects like “table“ or “desk“ are neuter.

German nouns for people usually correspond with English nouns e.g.

der Ehemann (husband) – masculine
die Ehefrau (wife) – feminine

But other nouns can be either masculine, feminine or neuter e.g.

der Tisch (table) – masculine
die Gabel (fork) – feminine
das Telefon (telephone) – neuter

One important exception for the gender of people is das Mädchen (girl), which is neuter.

Further examples:

die Tochter (daughter) – feminine
der Bruder (brother) – masculine
die Lampe (lamp) – feminine
das Bett (bed) – neuter
der Kleiderschrank (wardrobe) – masculine

When you learn a new noun, always write and learn it together with its definite article which you should consider a part of the noun. That way you’ll always know its gender and you’ll avoid having problems using the noun correctly in the future.

EXERCISE: 101 Gender | NEXT: 102 Articles