Articles (as a part of speech in grammar)

(Definite and indefinite articles in German grammar)

Table of contents – articles

On this page you will find the following:

  1. What are articles?
  2. Further explanations and exercises

What are articles?

Articles (in German: Artikel) are determiners, in other words, companions of nouns, always precede them and, in German, mark their grammatical gender (Genus). This type of word can be inflected or, more precisely, declined and, therefore, change their form according to gender, number, and grammatical case. Regarding German orthography, articles are always written in lower case.

  • Information: If you learn German as a foreign language, it is difficult to determine the gender of a noun, which is essential to use the correct article. Although some endings indicate the gender, many German nouns do not follow any suffix rules. Hence, the gender always needs to be learned together with the noun.

German grammar distinguishes between the definite and the indefinite article:

  • The definite articles (→ more details in the description) in German are:
    • masculine gender:
      • der, des, dem, den (singular)
        • Den Dreh habe ich raus.“ (I’ve got the hang of it.)
      • die, der, den, die (plural)
        • Die Nachbarn sind sehr nett.“ (The neighbours are very kind.)
    • feminine gender:
      • die, der, der, die (singular)
        • Die Farbe der Hose ist nicht schön.“ (The colour of the trousers is not nice.)
      • die, der, den, die (plural)
        • „Er hat den Türen einen neuen Anstrich verpasst.“ (He repainted the doors.)
    • neuter gender:
      • das, des, dem, das (singular)
        • Das Essen ist fertig.“ (Dinner is ready.)
      • die, der, den, die (plural)
        • Die Bücher stehen in den Regalen.“ (The books are on the shelves.)
  • There are also indefinite articles; these can only be in the singular (→ see description for details):
    • masculine gender:
      • ein, eines, einem, einen
        • „Sie kauft sich einen neuen Wagen.“ (She is buying a new car.)
    • feminine gender:
      • eine, einer, einer, eine
        • Eine Tasse Kaffee wäre gut.“ (A cup of coffee would be good.)
    • neuter gender:
      • ein, eines, einem, ein
        • „Der Keller eines Hauses ist oft dunkel.“ (The basement of a house is often dark.)

Further explanations related to the ‘Articles’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Articles as a part of speech in German grammar’ and may be helpful too: