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German Plural Rules- How To Form the Plural of German Nouns

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Similar to the genders in German, there are certain rules for how to form the plural of nouns in the language, but they don’t apply consistently enough to explain all nouns. So the best strategy is to learn both the gender and the plural form with each noun. Below you find the most reliable patterns for how to form the plural of most German nouns.


Before we look at the pattern of endings, which may seem a bit complicated at first glance, let's start with some good news. German plurals have no grammatical gender and always share the same articles, irrespective of what the gender of the noun was in the singular.

NOMINATIVE

die Männer

die Frauen

die Autos

ACCUSATIVE

die Männer

die Frauen

die Autos

DATIVE

den Männern

den Frauen

den Autos

GENITIVE

der Männer

der Frauen

der Autos

The dative plural adds an -n to the noun, unless the plural form already ends in -n or -s.


Let's now look at the patterns of how to form the plural of German nouns. Where applicable, I combined gender and plural rules.

Most nouns that end on -e in the singular have the plural ending -en

This category includes the large majority of feminine nouns since they often end on -e as well as many of the masculine exceptions to this gender rule that belong to the category of weak nouns in German.


die Lampe- die Lampen

die Blume- die Blumen

die Fahne- die Fahnen

das Auge- die Augen

der Name- die Namen


Masculine nouns that end in -el, -er, -en and neuter nouns with the endings -chen and -lein don't change in the plural

This category includes most professions as they usually end in -er and the two diminutive endings in German -chen and -lein.


der Löffel- die Löffel

der Lehrer- die Lehrer

der Wagen- die Wagen

das Mädchen- die Mädchen

das Buch- das Büchlein


Feminine nouns ending in -el or -er have the plural ending -n


die Gabel- die Gabeln

die Schachtel- die Schachteln

die Feier- die Feiern

die Schwester- die Schwestern

die Feder- die Federn


Masculine nouns with one syllable have the plural ending in -e or Umlaut+ e


der Hund- die Hunde

der Arm-die Arme

der Schrank- die Schränke

der Stuhl- die Stühle

der Fuß- die Füße


Neutral nouns with one syllable have the plural ending -er or Umlaut +er


das Kind- die Kinder

das Kleid- die Kleider

das Buch- die Bücher

das Haus- die Häuser

das Dorf- die Dörfer


Feminine nouns with one syllable end in -en in the plural


die Frau- die Frauen

die Uhr- die Uhren

die Tür- die Türen


Feminine nouns ending in -ei, -heit, -tät-keit, -schaft, -ung have the plural ending -en

All nouns ending in these suffixes are feminine and have the same plural ending.


die Bäckerei- die Bäckereien

die Freundschaft- die Freundschaften

die Krankheit- die Krankheiten

die Fähigkeit- die Fähigkeiten

die Wohnung- die Wohnungen


Feminine nouns ending in -in have the plural ending -nen

This category includes all nouns ending in -in which are always feminine.


die Freundin- die Freundinnen

die Kollegin- die Kolleginnen

die Architektin- die Architektinnen

die Maklerin- die Maklerinnen

die Sekretärin- die Sekretärinnen


Nouns that end in vowels (-a, -e, -i, -o, -u) and many foreign words end in -s


das Auto- die Autos

der Park- die Parks

das Hotel- die Hotels

das Restaurant- die Restaurants

der Computer- die Computer



Like English, German also has nouns that only have a singular or plural form.


Measurements, so-called "uncountable masses", certain abstractions, and collective nouns are only used in the singular.


das Kilo

das Pfund (pound)

der Liter


die Milch (milk)

die Butter (butter)

der Staub (dust)


die Hitze (heat)

die Kälte (cold)

die Gegenwart (present)


das Publikum (audience)

der Adel (aristocracy)

der Lärm (noise)


Examples of noun for which there is no singular are


die Eltern (parents)

die Ferien (vacation)

die Geschwister (siblings)

die Leute (people)

die Daten (data)

On our German Language Blog "Auf Deutsch, bitte!" you will find explanations about all topics in German grammar- from adjective endings, the German articles, and prepositions to German word order, So check out our posts and leave us a comment.


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