So we’ve all experienced that horror of having to remember an article for every word we learn. While it’s not as bad as it looks, it’s still very hard at first, especially if your native language doesn’t use articles. In reality, the articles aren’t that so bad, especially when you start learning some basic patterns and rules like the ones below.
1. Categories: As my teacher put it, the Germans categorize everything, and their words and articles are no exception. Examples:
-Der Wagen (the car)- every car brand is also der
-Die Hose (the pants)- die Jeans, die Shorts, etc.
-Das Hemd (the shirt)- das T-Shirt
2. Similar endings have similar articles.
-Der Fisch, der Tisch
-Die Bedeutung, die Empfehlung
-Das Buch, das Tuch
3. Opposite concepts have opposite articles.
-Die Sonne (the sun) vs. der Mond (the moon)
-Der Tag (the day) vs. die Nacht (the night)
4. Foreign words (Fremdwörter) are only das if they cannot translate into something in German, have no category, and have no common ending.
- The word notebook, for example, has the word book in it (das Buch), so in German it is Das Notebook.
- Laptop falls under the category of computer, so it takes the der article
-The word die Pizza is obviously not a German word, but the “a” ending is very common at the end of female names in German, so a word with this ending has the die article
-Das Sushi is an example of a word that doesn’t translate into something in German, has no category, and has no common ending, so it becomes das Sushi
5. Verbs minus an ending become masculine nouns.
-rauchen: to smoke
-Der Rauch- smoke
6. Verbs minus an ending plus a -t become feminine nouns.
-fahren: to drive
-Die Fahrt- drive, trip
7. Verbs that go to a noun without a change in ending become neuter nouns.
-lächeln- to smile
-Das Lächeln- smile
In case you still can’t guess the article, here are some other small tips to help you guess the article:
-Two syllable words with an -e ending have a 90% chance of being feminine.
-70% of all one syllable words are masculine.
-If the noun has a -d ending, the word is likely to be das.
I hope this makes learning the articles easier! It’s really not so complicated when you remember these rules :) Viel Spaß!