Der Plural- the plural

German has several ways of forming the plural.

der die das PLURAL = = = => die

Patterns for typical plural endings we can follow

There are many ways in forming the the plural in German. It is therefore wise to learn each words with its plural form. There are no clear cut rules that one can follow. But there are patterns for typical plural endings for masculine, feminine and neuter. If we learn these we can guess the plural of a german noun.

Clues for MASCULINE nouns

Adding -e


der Beruf die Berufe


der Friseur die Friseure

der Frühling die Frühlinge


Adding an umlaut + -e


Usually the umlaut is added when the original stem is -a, -o or u


der Ball die Bälle

der Gruß die Grüße

der Chor die Chöre


Nouns ending in -er, -el or -en

Nouns with those kinds of endings usually have no change in the plural


der Kuchen die Kuchen

der Emmentaler die Emmentaler

der Enkel die Enkel


*note that they might of course have an umlaut added in the plural


der Apfel die Äpfel

Clues for FEMININE nouns

The majority of feminine nouns add -n or -en


die Frau die Frauen

die Erbse die Erbsen

die Banane die Bananen


Adding umlaut +-e


A number of feminine nouns add umlaut plus an additional -e


die Hand die Hände

die Stadt die Städte


Feminine nouns that end in -in form the plural in -nen


Lehrerin Lehrerinnen

Clues for NEUTER nouns

Adding -e


das Bund die Bunde

das Haar die Haare

das Problem die Probleme


Adding umlaut +er


Neuter nouns often end in -er with an extra umlaut if the singular has a vowel : a, o or u


das Kind die Kinder

das Buch die Bücher


Nouns ending in -chen or -lein do not change the plural.


das Mädchen die Mädchen

Foreign words

Foreign words usually form the plural with an -s


das Baby die Babys

die Party die Partys

SUMMARY


Here is a summary of the most common plural noun endings:

1. -e Most masculine nouns need an extra -e: der Film → die

Filme

The same applies to neuter nouns: das Bier → die Biere

2. -e + umlaut Many masculine nouns also add an umlaut: der Ball → die

Bälle So do a number of feminine nouns: die Hand → die Hände

3. -er (+ umlaut) Many neuter nous add umlaut + -er when possible: das

Buch → die Bücher

A few masculine nouns also take the same changes: der

Wald → die Wälder

4. -n or -en Around ninety per cent of feminine nouns follow this

pattern:

die Sprache → die Sprachen

die Frau → die Frauen

5. -s Most foreign words in German take -s: die Party → die

Partys

6. no ending Nouns ending with -chen or -lein: das Mädchen → die

Mädchen

Nouns ending with -el, -en, -er: der Spiegel → die Spiegel

a. Often they add an umlaut: der Vater → die Väter