Definite articles

The three definite articles: der, die, das

In German a distinction is made between masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The grammatical gender of a noun can be seen in its accompanying article. Since in most cases there are no rules as to which gender a noun has, it is necessary to learn the nouns together with their articles. The article comes before the noun.

 

Masculine nouns have the definite article der.

Wo ist der Stift? – Der Stift ist hier.

Feminine nouns have the definite article die.

Wo ist die Brille? – Die Brille ist hier.

Neuter nouns have the definite article das.

Wo ist das Buch? – Das Buch ist hier.

 

In the plural all nouns have the definite article die.

Wo sind die Stifte? – Die Stifte sind hier.

Wo sind die Brillen? – Die Brillen sind hier.

Wo sind die Bücher? – Die Bücher sind hier.

 

  Singular Plural
masculine der Stift die Stifte
feminine die Brille die Brillen
neuter das Buch die Bücher

 

The definite article is used in particular when talking about an object or person that is already known to the other person.

Lisa says: Wo ist die Brille?

The listener understands that she is not looking for just any pair of glasses. She is looking for a particular pair, namely her own.