Why is girl (Mädchen) neutral in German? On gender rules in the language

When students begin to learn about the articles in German, they quickly discover not only that there are three genders in the language- masculine, feminine, neutral- they also stumble upon the fact that girl in German is das Mädchen, so neutral. While this may sound counterintuitive, once they understand that the ending -chen refers to our diminutive- so in German girl is, in fact, a little girl- and nouns that end on -chen are always neuter, they usually accept it and move on.


So once you have mastered the logic of the cases, it is important to learn the most common gender rules.


Here they are:


People and devices ending on -er are always masculine


e.g. der Manager, der Lehrer, Drucker, der Computer



People ending on -in are always feminine


e.g. die Managerin, die Lehrerin



Nouns that end on -ung, -heit, -keit are always feminine


e.g. die Lösung, die Übung, die Gesundheit



Nouns that come from Latin or Ancient Greek ending on -tät, -ion, -ie, -ik are always feminine


e.g. die Universität, die Biologie, die Mathematik



Most nouns ending on -e are feminine


e.g. die Lampe, die Kaffeemachine


common exceptions are: der Name, der Junge, der Kollege, der Kunde



Many modern international words are neuter (das)


e.g. das Hotel, das Restaurant, das Problem



Nouns ending on -um and -chen are always neuter


e.g. das Studium, das Mädchen



Capitalised verbs, i.e. verbs turned into nouns, are always neuter

e.g. das Essen

I hope this helps. Contact me with questions and comments. As soon as you have given the cases some practice, you might want to learn German pronouns as they build on the cases. You will find my explanation here:


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/pronouns-in-german


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/when-do-you-use-mir-and-mich-in-german


Other grammar topics you might want to learn or review can be found here:


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/separable-verbs-in-german-when-do-they-split


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/learn-the-perfekt-tense-in-german


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/adjective-ending-rules-in-german


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/prepositions-in-german-1-two-way-prepositions


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/prepositions-in-german-2-akkusativ-accusative-only


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/dative-only-prepositions-in-german-3


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/genitive-only-prepositions-in-german-4


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/how-to-use-im-am-or-um-in-german-let-me-explain


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/german-word-order-explained


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/how-to-negate-in-german-on-nicht-and-kein-and-where-to-place-them-in-a-german-sentence


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/which-app-should-i-use-to-learn-a-language-duolingo-memrise-babbel-quizlet-busuu


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/linguee-dict-cc-dict-leo-or-collins-which-online-german-dictionary-should-i-use


Find out more about our lessons here:


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/do-you-want-to-learn-german-or-progress-more-quickly


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/how-long-does-it-take-to-learn-german


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/2018/08/06/are-you-learning-german-because-of-your-partner


https://www.olesentuition.co.uk/single-post/2018/05/24/question-words-in-german


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