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Tricky Masculine Nouns in German

Nouns with "irregular" endings

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Masculine Nouns Ending in 'e'
Most German nouns ending in -e are feminine. (See Gender Hints.) But there are some very common e-ending masculine nouns—sometimes referred to as "weak" nouns (and many derived from adjectives). Here are just a few: der Alte (old man), der Beamte (civil servant), der Deutsche (male German), der Franzose (Frenchman), der Fremde (stranger), der Gatte (male spouse), der Kollege (colleague), der Kunde (customer), der Junge (boy), der Riese (giant), der Verwandte (relative). You'll find a full list in the glossary below.

Almost all such masculine nouns ending in -e (der Käse being a rare exception) add an -n ending in the genitive and plural. They also add an -n ending in any case other than the nominative, i.e., in the accusative, dative, and genitive cases (den/dem Kollegen, des Kollegen). But there are a few more variations on this "ending" theme:

Masculine Nouns That Add 'ens' in the Genitive
Another small group of German masculine nouns ending in -e requires an unusual ending in the genitive case. While most German masculine nouns add -s or -es in the genitive, these eight nouns add -ens instead. This group includes Name/des Namens (of the name) and Glaube/des Glaubens (of the belief). All eight are listed in the German-English glossary below.

Masculine Nouns Referring to Animals, People, Titles, or Professions
This group of common masculine nouns includes some that end in -e (der Löwe, lion), but there are also other typical endings: -ant (der Kommandant), -ent (der Präsident), -r (der Bär), -t (der Architekt). As you can see, these German nouns often resemble the same word in English, French, or other languages. For nouns in this group you need to add an -en ending in any case other than the nominative: "Er sprach mit dem Präsidenten." (dative).

A final comment about these special masculine nouns. In common, everyday German (casual versus more formal register), the genitive -en or -n endings are sometimes replaced by an -es or -s. In some cases the accusative or dative endings are also dropped.

NEXT > German-English Glossary of Special Masculine Nouns

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