Plural Masculine and Neuter Nouns


Plural Nouns

Forming the plural of English nouns follows mostly the same pattern. In most cases you have to add -s to the end of the noun.

For example:
dog ⇨ dogs
shop ⇨ shops

There are some nouns in English that are irregular and do not follow this rule.

For example:
mouse ⇨ mice
foot ⇨ feet

In German, on the other hand, are different ways of making a noun plural. Which way to use mainly depends on the gender and the ending of a noun. In our last blog we looked at Feminine Plural Nouns, in this blog we’ll be looking at the masculine and neuter nouns.

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Masculine and Neuter Nouns

  • Many masculine and neuter nouns follow the same pattern and add an -e to the singular noun to form their plural.
  • For example:
    der Hund ⇨ die Hunde
    das Tier ⇨ die Tiere

Table: Masculine and Neuter Nouns ending in -e:

Singular Noun Plural Noun Singular Noun Plural Noun
der Keks die Kekse das Paket die Pakete
der Stift die Stifte das Geschäft die Geschäfte

  • Quite a few nouns also add an umlaut above the first vowel a, o or u to form the plural noun. In this case masculine plural nouns often keep the -e ending in the plural form while neuter nouns often end in -er. Nouns in this group often have one syllable.
  • For example:
    der Stuhl ⇨ die Stühle
    das Haus ⇨ die Häuser

    The same rule applies to compound nouns. A compound noun is a noun made up of two or more words.

    For example:
    der Liegestuhl ⇨ die Liegestühle
    das Kaufhaus ⇨ die Kaufhäuser

Table: Masculine and Neuter Nouns adding an Umlaut:

Singular Noun Plural Noun Singular Noun Plural Noun
der Korb die Körbe das Huhn die Hühner
der Markt die Märkte das Holz die Hölzer

  • Some other masculine and neuter nouns don’t change in their plural form. These are mostly nouns ending in -en, -er and -el.
  • For example:
    der Löffel ⇨ die Löffel
    das Messer ⇨ die Messer

Table: Masculine and Neuter Nouns with no Ending in the Plural:

Singular Noun Plural Noun Singular Noun Plural Noun
der Hamster die Hamster das Lager die Lager
der Geldbeutel die Geldbeutel das Kabel die Kabel
der Krankenwagen die Krankenwagen das Mädchen die Mädchen

    Some of these masculine nouns can have an umlaut above the first vowel.

    For example:
    der Laden ⇨ die Läden

  • A few masculine nouns form their plural by adding -en or -n to their singular form while some neuter nouns add -er to the singular noun to form their plural.
  • For example:
    der Geldautomat ⇨ die Geldautomaten
    der Kunde ⇨ die Kunden
    das Kind ⇨ die Kinder

Tip Masculine and Neuter Nouns

The rule of thumb for masculine and neuter nouns is that they mostly end in either -e or have no ending at all in their plural form (Kioske, Aufzüge. An umlaut ä, ö or ü appears fairly often in the plural form when the noun has only one syllable.

Some Exceptions

There is a group of words out there that doesn’t follow any of the above rules. These are exceptions and you just have to remember them. Many of these words come from other languages and mostly end in -s in their plural form.

For example:
das Café ⇨ die Cafés
das Souvenir ⇨ die Souvenirs

Table: Plural Nouns with Unusual Endings:

Singular Noun Plural Noun Singular Noun Plural Noun
das Büro die Büros das Restaurant die Restaurants
das Einkaufszentrum die Einkaufszentren das Reisebüro die Reisebüros
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