i think languages logo

Learn the German definite articles – der / die / das

definite articles

Definite articles are an important part of the German language – it is recommended you familiarise yourself with them right at the start of your journey of learning German. So go ahead!

What are ‘bestimmte Artikel‘?

The phrase ‘bestimmte Artikel‘ is sometimes translated as ‘definite articles‘. While there is only one definite article in English – the -, the German language has three definite articles for singular and one for plural words.

The form of the article depends not only on the gender of the corresponding noun and on whether it’s singular or plural but also on the case the noun is in. German has four grammatical cases. You will learn more about them soon.

Take a listen to the theme song of the German series “die Sesamstraße” for children (also known as the ‘der die das song’), so you get a feel of what it was like to grow up as a German kid in the nineties…

What are the German definite articles?

The three German definite articles are der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neutral). However, the gender of a noun does not follow any logical rules. For example, ‘the girl’ in German is ‘das Mädchen‘ – with a neutral article!

As a learner of German as a second language, you cannot guess a noun’s gender. Thus, when learning German vocabulary, always learn them together with their definite article.

And the plural form?

German nouns always use the plural definite article ‘die – beware, this is not the same ‘die‘ as the singular feminine definite article ‘die‘. Those are two different words with the same spelling!

Do German nouns always need articles?

German nouns always need to be used with their articles. Leaving out an article is a grave grammatical mistake and will get you some odd looks! There are, however, some exceptions when certain nouns don’t need an article:

  1. Personal names:

Gestern habe ich Sabrina gesehen.

Yesterday I saw Sabrina.

There is an exception to this exception! In colloquial language, people sometimes use definite articles with a person’s name. So, you could also say ‘Gestern habe ich die Sabrina gesehen.‘ This is informal, however, so don’t use it in writing!

2. Names of geographical locations (such as continents, countries, counties, and towns):

Hans lebt in Togo.

Hans lives in Togo.

There are also some exceptions of location names that have a definite article. Some of those are:

die Schweiz


die Türkei


die USA

the USA

die Ukraine


die Niederlande

the Netherlands

Note that rivers and mountains do not fall into this category. They all have a definite article.

3. National Holidays

Some examples:







Do you know which holidays count as national holidays in Germany? To be honest, not even every German knows all of them!

Some tips for getting the definite article right

There are indeed no strict grammatical rules for whether to use der, die, or das in front of a singular noun. However, some suffixes are almost exclusively used with certain articles.

Suffixes that are often used with ‘der‘ (the masculine article):

  • ant, –ich, –ig, –ismus, –ling


der Demonstrant

the protester

der Teppich

the carpet

der Honig

the honey

der Kommunismus


der Feigling

the coward

Suffixes that are often used with ‘die‘ (the feminine article):

  • enz, –ei, –ie, –heit, –keit, –ik, –sion, –tion, –sis, –tät, –ung, –schaft


die Konferenz

the conference

die Liebelei

the flirtation

die Lilie

the lily

die Hoheit

the royalty

die Gemütlichkeit

the comfort

die Musik

the music

die Dimension

the dimension

die Institution

the institution

die Basis

the base

die Universität

the university

die Scheidung

the divorce

die Gemeinschaft

the community

Suffixes that are often used with ‘das‘ (the neutral article):

  • lein, –ma, –ment, –tum


das Lieblein

the darling

The ending ‘-lein‘ serves to belittle a word. For example, ‘der Frosch‘ (‘the frog’) can turn into ‘das Fröschlein‘ (‘the little frog’ / ‘the froggy’). It can be compared with the English ending ‘-y’ (froggy, doggy, lovey, …)

das Stigma

the stigma

das Monument

the monument

das Eigentum

the property

Those tips will help you to learn and remember the correct articles. But there are other efficient ways that will help you to learn the German articles.

More help with learning German

Check out my blog posts for more tips and tricks and how to learn German! Or maybe you want to immerse yourself into the German language directly? In that case, you may want to research scholarships for learning German in Germany.

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo