German plurals - Advice and tips

(Crasbatic) #1

Any suggestion on how to remember plurals?

Advice for learning german plurals
(Redux2) #2

hi crasbatic

an easy rule :slight_smile:

NO PLURAL: (plural yes, but only the article changes)

masculine nouns with endinding EL EN ER
der Wechsel - die Wechsel
der HĂĽgel - die HĂĽgel
der Besen - die Besen
der Eimer - die Eimer
der Fehler - die Fehler
der Computer - die Computer

but der Nagel - die Nägel
Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel :wink:

neuter nouns with ending CHEN LEIN
das Mädchen - die Mädchen
das Eichhörnchen - die Eichöhrnchen
das Radieschen - die Radischen
das Weibchen - die Weibchen
das Fräulein -die Fräulein
das Kindlein - die Kindlein

(Sir Cemloud) #3

they are “composed” words, but it works the same for plurals and rules.

die -ung > die -ungen
die -heit > die -heiten
die -schaft > die -schaften

Are there any exceptions @redux2?

(Redux2) #4

Hi sircemloud,

first of all and off topic:
I don’t like these words. These words are soooo German. And in my opinion often unnecessary. Like the german “Pünktlichkeit” or the “Gemütlichkeit” or the “Gründlichkeit”.

When I write something in german I always try not to use words with ung, keit, heit and so on. Because these words make it more difficult for readers to understand the content. Plus it sounds like “Amtsdeutsch” the Official German. Like a letter from the Finanzamt.[the tax authority] Or what politicians like to tell, when they just tell nothing with many words. And they are often used in passive. Better to use the verb instead! And learn the verbs.

for example
die Menschlichkeit
die GemĂĽtlichkeit
die Gesundheit
die Faulheit
die Erziehung
die Hilflosigkeit
don’t have a plural

And words like die Abendkleidung! There is das Abendkleid, die Abendkleider and die Abendkleidung.

I realydon’t like ung, keit, heit words.

(Overlord Hydroptère) #5

(@redux2: verstehe nicht ganz … sicher sind die Nomina “sooo German”, worüber reden wir überhaupt :grin:)

in the “old days”, one use to teach in schools that there are at least 9 rules for Mehrzahlbildung/Pluralbildung. At least this is what they taught “us” in school

The problem with these rules is that a non-native cannot apply them simply in a pro-active manner, with few exceptions. That is: one cannot easily infer, as a beginner, with the help of those rules, which are the plural forms for Bauch, Kugel, Maul, Visum, RĂĽcken, etc. For a non-native to have a grasp of these rules, she has to already have a solid vocabulary of at least 3000 - 5000 nouns, to notice that indeed regularities are more than obvious, and that grammar rules indeed apply.

One can find various materials online, if searching with for “Pluralbilding”. I found for ex this one, with flash cards for learning the plurals of several “difficult” nouns:

(the exceptions: the standard endings for nouns derived from other parts of speech, nouns of Greek/Latin/French/American English etc origin; masculine nouns denoting agents etc)

(Redux2) #6

hi Hydroptere,

off topic, again
Ich meine z.B… solche Sätze:

„Eine Effizienzsteigerung der Migrantenförderungsprogramme hat die Sprachkompetenzoptimierung zur Voraussetzung.“

So ein Nominalstil ist oft schwer zu verstehen. Sehr, sehr vereinfacht kann man schreiben: Wir müssen unsere Programme verbessern, damit die Migranten leichter Deutsch lernen können.

And off topic

(Overlord Hydroptère) #7

(@redux2: Ich kapiere, aber das ist nicht typisch Deutsch, das gibt es überall, in jeder Sprache/Kultur. Anderseit ist solch Sprache auch sehr präzise, finde ich… die Deutschlernenden werden sowieso nicht mit solchem Amtsdeutsch konfrontiert, vermute ich; oder?)

(Sir Cemloud) #8

It is quite harsh/snob (perhaps) to try to avoid certain kind of words, even if I liked the post of redux concerning the alternative sentence he wrote.
I had actually big trouble relating to the first “*ung-filled” one.

But those kind of words are a blessing for learners as they allow us to extrapolate the noun from the verb. It can be lazy, I admit but so liberating when expressing oneself.

But when trying to learn, let’s not be hasty, and let’s embrace all facilitating (:smile:) words.

As far as learning the plural, these are great also because they are regular in their declination.

(Redux2) #9

@ sircemloud,
please believe me I’m not a snob :disappointed_relieved: I swear.

I have work with special people once per week or less. Some of them can only understand very, very
little german. And my job is, to explain certain things to them. So I had to explain it in a simple way. And my experience over the time is: better use verbs. I just want them to understand what I’m talking about. And learn the things they had to learn in an easy way.

You wrote "But those kind of words are a blessing for learners as they allow us to extrapolate the noun from the verb. It can be lazy, I admit but so liberating when expressing oneself."
That is good for you. And good that you are able to do so.

But a few of the folk I work with don’ t even know about verbs and nouns. They often don’t speak english or french. That does’n matter. As you can read: I have problems to express myself in english, too :blush:

In my opinion it is very rude or impolite if people talking only in their jargon. Like someone allways talking in computer jargon or legal jargon. So that nobody else do understand what they are saying. Or a scientist every time says science words, just to impress others. But we are all free humans. Sorry - I hope most of us are.

Once again I am not a snob - on the contrary. I try as best as I can to help.
Last but not least: I’m not he I’m a Lady ( hahaha… I try as best as I can to do so)

@ Hydroptere
Die Migranten haben mit dem Amtsdeutsch zu tun. Wenn sie ihre Anträge für das Amt ausfüllen müssen.
Ja, das gibt es natürlich auch in anderen Sprachen und Kulturen. Da fällt es mir nur nicht so auf.

@all sorry for off topic.

(Sir Cemloud) #11

@redux2, did not mean to call you a snob, just the approach seemed that way. Harsh was my first chosen word :wink:

As a pro “learner” in German, I could not do without. Besprechung, Unterhaltung, Abmessung, Lieferung, Ânderung, usw…

I would add to my former list :

die -nis > die -nisse

Found this too /

(Ali Bee99) #12


I’m a beginner learning German through evening classes and am using memrise to help practice my vocab between classes.

My teacher just got to plurals and we were told to go back through and learn the plurals for all vocab covered to date and to learn the plural with every new word which seems sensible enough.

The problem I’m having is that, since introducing the plurals, I’m making a lot more mistakes on my other vocab when it comes to umlauts, endings, articles. Even on words I was very confident with before.

Does anyone have any advice for keeping the plural form separate in my mind so I can try and remember them both. Do you think I’m best to get really secure with the base word then add the plural or do you think I should learn them together one at a time?


(Sir Cemloud) #13

@AliBee99 I moved your thread here, as this plural difficulties have already been raised. You can find a few answers here.

(Ali Bee99) #14

Not a particularly helpful intervention… This thread is about a slightly different issue and has descended into discussion of teaching children with special needs.

I don’t understand why you have moved my thread. Did it particularly offend you? There doesn’t seem to be unmanageable clutter in the section! In my experience with other forums, new questions get lost at the end of old threads as people don’t read all the way down.

Anyways… point taken. I’ll find somewhere else to seek assistance.

(Sir Cemloud) #15

I don’t agree with you, you say having problems in remembering plurals, we have here tips on the matter.
Take the time to read the section and follow the links. Don’t be distracted by the side intervention about certain kind of words by @redux2. He does not about special need children but foreign people coming to Germany to learn German.

I have work with special people once per week or less. Some of them can only understand very, very little german.

You have problems in remembering them all, here you have answers to ease the learning of certain kinds of plurals so that you can concentrate on the more singular words.
It is the right section for your problem.

I guess you start a new thread to have answers to your own problem but forums are a resource to find answers, not necessarily to find the answer to your question when you ask it.
A clutter grows one item at a time and I always reflect on whether I should or not merge subjects.

You can answer me by MP or we will clutter this thread.

My personal experience with plurals is that they will come by using them. I suggest you make phrases in singular and in plural to remember the music of the words in your sentence.
But do learn the general rules on them and concentrate on the other ones, so you give less energy on the general cases.

(Sir Cemloud) pinned #16

(Julian Koch9bcb0e4e24) #17


learning the plurals of German nouns can be pretty hard sometimes - as some of them do not really follow rules. As some already mentioned - you will simply learn them with time… and use them in a right way automatically. Well, there are also some website that offer a pretty good description of the German plural - with a lot of rules and examples. Just have a look at for example.

I hope I could help you,

Greetings from Bolivia