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German declension


The nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases. The declension of nouns, adjectives, articles and numbers.

We know that verbs are conjugated (I eat vs. he/she eats) but it is rather simple in English; there are not many changes in the conjugation depending on the person and number.

German declension consists of adding an ending to:

according to the case (Fall or Kasus), gender and number.

The Idea of Case (Fall or Kasus) in German

In German there are 4 cases:

Nominative

The nominative is used if

Accusative

Accusative is used if:

Depending on the verb, the objects can be accusative, dative or with a preposition. Fortunately, most cases coincide with English ones all of the time. Be careful!

Dative


Genitive

The genitive is not used as often by Germans as the three other previous cases. Often, a noun object is made with the preposition "von" + Dative and the genitive preposition are sometimes used incorrectly as if they were dative.

You have to keep in mind that one word can fit the rules of different cases simultaneously. For example, it can be a subject while being a part of a noun object and follow a preposition that is dative. Which case would it be then? Nominative because it’s the subject, Genitive, because it’s the noun object or dative because it is after a preposition?

The answer is that the priorities are in this order:

  1. Following a preposition (governing with Accusative, Dative or Genitive)
  2. Being part of a genitive object (Genitive)
  3. The rest of the rules

Noun Declension

There are 2 types of noun declension: Regular and N-declension.

Regular declension

Applicable to most nouns.

Example: das Gas (the gas)

SingularPlural
NominativedasGasdieGase
AccusativedasGasdieGase
DativedemGasdenGasen
GenitivedesGasesderGase

For more info, visit: Regular declension of nouns

N-declension

Applicable to some masculine nouns and a few neuter ones.

Example: der Name (the name)

SingularPlural
NominativederNamedieNamen
AccusativedenNamendieNamen
DativedemNamendenNamen
GenitivedesNamensderNamen

For more info, visit: N-Deklination

Declension of Adjectives

There are three types of declension for adjectives: Weak, mixed and strong. Visit the following link if you’d like to see them in detail: Adjective declension.

Weak declension of Adjectives

The most common case for weak declension is the construction: (definite article) + (adjective with weak declension) + (Noun)

Das schöne Sofa
The beautiful sofa

Mixed declension of Adjectives

The most common mixed declension is the structure: (indefinite article) + (adjective with mixed declension) + (Noun)

Ein schönes Sofa
A beautiful sofa

Strong declension of adjectives

The most common case of strong declension is: (strong declension of adjective without article) + (Noun)

Schönes Sofa
Beautiful sofa

Pronoun declension

There are 3 types of declensions for pronouns: weak, mixed and strong but not all pronouns have the three declensions.

If you’d like more in-depth info, we suggest that you visit:
Pronoun declension

Declension of personal pronouns:

NominativeAccusativeDativeGenitive
ichImich mir meiner
duyoudich dir deiner
erheihn ihm seiner
sieshesie ihr ihrer
esites ihm seiner
wirweuns uns unser
ihryou
(speaking to a group)
euch euch euer
sie
Sie
they
you (formal)
sie
Sie
ihnen
Ihnen
ihrer
Ihrer

Article declension

Definite Articles:

MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeder (the)die (the)das (the)die (the)
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

Indefinite Articles:

MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeein (a/an)eine (a/an)ein (a/an)--
Accusativeeineneineein--
Dativeeinemeinereinem--
Genitiveeineseinereines--

Number declension

Numbers are declined as well. If you’d like more info, visit the article: Number declension

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