Basic German with tables. 2. Articles in German

Last Updated on October 9, 2023

Nouns are used with articles in German: definite (der, die, das) or indefinite (ein, eine, ein) in the certain form. Articles are declined by gender, grammatical number (definite only), and case.

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Articles in German

Each noun in German has gender: masculine (Maskulinum, in dictionaries denoted by the letter m or the last letter of the article der -r), feminine (Femininum, f or -e), neuter (Neutrum, n or -s).

The indefinite article is needed, if:

  • if they talk about an unknown subject
  • if the subject is not defined (“some”, no matter what)
  • if they give the definition of an object (Dolphin is an animal: Der Delphin ist ein Tier)

The indefinite article has no plural. In this case, nouns are used without an article.
One tip: if you have a noun with an adjective, it will most likely be the indefinite article (eine rote Jacke)

The definite article is needed, when:

  • it is a known subject
  • the subject is defined (“this one”) from the context or situation
  • it comes to well-known and singular things (sun, Earth, Baltic Sea)
  • generalizing, all objects of this kind (Dolphin is an animal that lives in the sea. Der Delphin ist ein Tier …)

The Zero article is used:

  • as the plural of the indefinite article
  • when it comes to materials (food, material, substance)
  • when it comes to abstract concepts (good, evil, fear …)
  • with personal names
  • with the names of states and cities, if they are used in the singular and have a neuter gender
  • with nationalities, professions, religious affiliation
  • in proverbs,
  • listing a number of objects (Weltreise mit Fahrrad, Schiff und Eisenbahn)
  • in headlines

The negative article kein is used:

  • when they want to say that something is not there or that they do not like something (Ich mag keine Schokolade. Ich habe keine Zeit. Es gibt keinen Kindergarten)

Declination of the definite article in the singular

Articles in German

Pronouns change in the same way:

dieser (this),
jener (that),
jeder (every, any),
solcher (such)
mancher (some),
welcher? (which one?)

Declination indefinite article

Articles in German

Pronouns change in the same way:

kein (no, not any)
mein (and other possessive – dein, sein, ihr, unser, ihr , notice the dropdown letter e in the forms euer – eurem…),
irgendein (anyone)
was für ein? (what a?)

Declination in the plural

Articles in German

Pronouns change in the same way:

alle (all)
irgendwelche (plural irgendein)
meine, deine, ihre, eure, seine (possessive)
viele (many)
wenige (few)
einige (some)
mehrere (several)

Sentences for training translation in Anki:


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