Plural Nouns

Good News!

Let's start with some good news:

In plural you don’t have to decide between masculine, feminine, or neuter anymore: THERE IS ONLY ONE FORM, regardless of the gender.

Now the bad news:

There are different plural endings you have to decide between: "-n/-en," "-r/-er," "-e," and "-s." There is even the possibility that the noun doesn’t change at all and you just have to change the article.

And once again: there is no universal rule that works in all cases.

Tipp

Tip:

Write the plural form together with the noun on another line in your vocabulary list. Use my sample list!

Plural with "n/en"

Masculine nouns that end in "-ent," "-ant," "-and," "-or," "-ist":

  • der Student - die Studenten
  • der Polizist - die Polizisten

Feminine nouns that end in "-in," "-ion," "-ik," "-ung," "-tät," "-schaft," "-keit," "-heit":

  • die Universität - die Universitäten
  • die Organisation - die Organisationen

99% of all nouns that end in "-e":

  • die Flasche - die Flaschen
  • die Tasse - die Tassen
Achtung Hinweis

Warning:

For nouns that end in "-in," the "n" is doubled.

Example: „die Kellnerin“ – „die Kellnerinnen

Plural with "e"

Many masculine nouns:

  • der Baum - die Bäume
  • der König - die Könige

Many one-syllable feminine nouns:

  • die Nacht - die Nächte
  • die Hand - die Hände
Achtung Hinweis

Warning!

For feminine nouns with a, o, u, always add an umlaut (ä, ö, ü).

For masculine nouns, usually add an umlaut (but not always).

Plural with "r/er"

Many neuter, one-syllable nouns:

  • das Haus – die Häuser
  • das Glas - die Gläser
  • das Kind - die Kinder

An umlaut is usually added.

Achtung Hinweis

Attention!

Feminine nouns NEVER form the plural with "r" or "er."

Plural with "s"

All nouns that end in a, i, o, u, or y:

  • das Sofa – die Sofas
  • das Auto – die Autos
  • die Omi – die Omis
  • das Hobby – die Hobbys

Many foreign words:

  • das Team – die Teams
  • der Job - die Jobs

Family names:

  • die Meiers (= Familie Meier)
  • die Müllers (= Familie Müller)

Plural without an extra ending

If we don’t add an ending, then an umlaut is usually required for the letters a, o, and u.

Masculine and neuter words with the endings "-el," "-er," and "en":

  • der Apfeldie Äpfel
  • der Vaterdie Väter
  • das Brötchendie Brötchen
Achtung Hinweis

Warning!

Feminine nouns ending with "-el" form their plural with "n."

Example: Die Kartoffel - die Kartoffeln

Plural of Foreign Words

Words taken from English usually end in "s" in the plural form.

Words taken from Latin or Greek often have a special form:

  • das Museum – die Museen
  • das Praktikum – die Praktika
  • der Blog - die Blogs

No Plural Form Possible

Some words can’t have a plural form. They have a singular form only:

  • das Obst  →  no plural form possible
  • die Milch  → no plural form possible
  • der Durst  → no plural form possible

In these cases, the singular word already talks about a group of something or is uncountable (Be careful, because uncountable nouns in English are not always uncountable in German).

No Singular Form Possible

Some words can’t have a singular form. They only have a plural form:

  • die Leute  →  no singular form possible
  • die Eltern  → no singular form possible
  • die Ferien → no singular form possible

Those words can’t have a singular form due to their meaning.


Related Topics:

An introduction to German nouns and gender.

To many rules for you? Guess 75% of all article correctly with my article trick.

What articles are there in German? Articles.

How do the articles change based on the case the noun is in? More about German cases.

Some masculine nouns get an extra "-n"-ending in accusative, dative, and genitive. It's called n-declension.

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