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Gender of Neuter Nouns in German

The most important nouns endings that mark the neuter gender are:

-chen, -lein, -ett , -ium ,-ment , -tum , -eau

Keep in mind that there are exceptions.

Gender of nouns ending with "-chen" (diminutives)

- How often this ending is seen: Often
- All diminutives ending with "-chen" are neuter.
- No ending is added to make the plural (das Mädchen ➜ die Mädchen)

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Mädchen girl
das Pfännchensmall frying pan
das Maskottchenmascot
das Märchenfairytale
das Päckchensmall package

Nouns that are not diminutive do not necessarily have to be neuter: der Drachen (dragon), der Kuchen (cake), der Knochen (bone), der Rochen (ray [zoo.]), der Rachen (throat)

Gender of nouns ending with "-lein"

- How often this ending is seen: Seldom
- No ending is added to make the plural (das Häuslein ➜ die Häuslein)
-All diminutives ending with "-lein" are neuter

little bird

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Häusleinittle house
das Vögleinlittle bird
das Bächleinbrooklet
das Büchleinbooklet

Gender of nouns ending with "-ett"

- How often this ending is seen: Often
- The plural can be formed with "-en" (das Bett ➜ die Betten) or with "-er" (das Brett ➜ die Bretter") or with "-e" (das Amulett ➜ die Amulette)

bed

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Bettbed
das Ballettthe ballet
das Büfettthe buffet
das Omelettthe omelet
das Brett the board
das Bankettthe banquet

Gender of nouns ending with "-ium"

- Many come from Latin
- How often this ending is seen: Often
- The plural is formed with the structure: "-ium" "-ien" (das Ministerium die Ministerien)

observatory

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Observatoriumthe observatory
das Ministeriumthe ministry
das Laboratoriumthe laboratory
das Bakteriumthe bacteria
das Aquariumthe aquarium
das Aluminiumthe aluminum
das Siliciumthe silicon

Gender of nouns ending with "-ment"

- How often this ending is seen: average
- The plural is formed with "-e" for words that are from German "-e" (das Medikament die Medikamente) but with "-s" for foreign words (das Apartment die Apartments) medication

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Medikamentthe medication
das Testamentthe will
das Elementthe element
das Instrumentthe instrument
das Fragmentthe fragment

Exceptions: der Moment (the moment), der Konsument (the consumer)

Gender of nouns ending with "-tum"

- Words coming from Latin
- The u's pronunciation is short
- How often this ending is seen: Average
- The plural is almost always made with the structure: "-tum" "-ten" (das Datum die Daten) growth

Examples:

ExampleMeaning
das Datumdate
das Wachstumgrowth
das Ultimatumultimatum
das Heiligtumrelic [plural: die Heiligtümer]
das Votumvote

Exceptions (For German words, the u's pronunciation is long): der Irrtum (the error), der Reichtum (the wealth)

Gender of nouns ending with "-eau"

- Words coming from French
- How often this ending is seen: Seldom
- The plural is formed with "-s" (das Niveau ➜ die Niveaus)

Examples:

  • das Niveau (level)
  • das Plateau (plateau)

Now you can test yourselves to see if you've mastered the material in an exercise about gender (Try it! It's fun).

Related topics: Gender of Masculine Nouns, Feminine Noun Gender




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