Chart of the definitive article
M N F
Nom der das die
Gen des des der
Dat dem dem der
Acc den das die
Nom die die die
Gen der der der
Dat den den den
Acc die die die
Since most persons interested in theological German have some acquaintance with Greek, we have listed the noun cases in the order usually used in Greek; i.e., Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative. Many modern German grammars list them in a different order (e.g., Nominative, Accusative, Dative, Genitive). The usage of the cases is similar to that in Greek. The case of nouns is most clearly indicated by the definitive article; the inflectional endings on nouns themselves are few and sometimes vary.
German nouns occur in one of four cases, which indicate grammatical functions. The definite article also occurs in the four cases. Listed below are the names of the 4 cases, their functions, and an example.
1. Nominative Subject of verb
Der Mann ist böse. The man is evil.
2. Genitive “of” (possessive)
die Tochter des Mannes the daughter of the man
3. Dative “to/for”
Es ist dem Professor falsch. To the professor it is false.
4. Accusative direct object
Wir lieben den Professor. We love the professor.
Gender, Number, and Case
Every German noun is one of three grammatical genders. Except for a few words such as Mann und Frau, grammatical gender is arbitrary and has nothing to do with biology. The Gender comes with the noun as part of the dictionary definition. For this reason, when learning vocabulary, you should learn the definite article with the noun; for example, die Hoffnung, “hope.”
The definite article, the word for “the,” occurs in three genders; the form chosen must agree with the gender of the noun which the article precedes.
The three forms are as follows: der is masculine, die is feminine, das is neuter. When you learn vocabulary, you must learn the article that goes with it. Der in front of Professor tells you that the noun Professor is masculine. Die in front of Erwartung tells you that the noun is feminine. Das in front of Mädchen tells you that the noun is neuter!
As in English, German nouns may be singular or plural. This is referred to as the number. The definite article also exists in singular and plural number.
Every noun has a Gender, a Number, and a Case.
This page has the following sub pages.