German Nouns with N-Declination — Nomen der N-Dekination

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German Nouns with N-Declination — Nomen der N-Dekination

Sound. So much of language comes down to sound. What is the easiest sound to make? In German this is one of the reasons for adjective endings being what they are — mostly ending in -en, right?!

It’s that same basic principle that is to blame for you getting Name and Namen mixed up or Herr and Herrn. What’s going on with this n that appears and disappears at whim? These are what we call nouns with n-declination (Nomen der N-Deklination). Let’s take a look.

The Rules:

The rules for these nouns are very straight forward:

  1. Nouns with n-declination always end in an -n or -en in the accusative, dative, and genitive singular forms
  2. These nouns are always masculine (der in the nominative)
  3. They generally name living things like people and animals
  4. In the plural they also have an -n or -en ending.

Common Nouns that take an -n:

Generally these are all masculine nouns that end in e.

EnglishNom. / Sing.Akk. / Sing.Dat. / Sing.Gen. / Sing.Plural
the boyder Jungeden Jungendem Jungendes Jungendie Jungen
the customerder Kundeden Kundendem Kundendes Kundendie Kunden
the lionder Löweden Löwendem Löwendes Löwendie Löwen
the lord / the gentlemander Herrden Herrndem Herrndes Herrndie Herren
the neighbourder Nachbarden Nachbarndem Nachbarndes Nachbarndie Nachbarn
the farmerder Bauerden Bauerndem Bauerndes Bauerndie Bauern
Many nationalities also follow this rule
the Britder Briteden Britendem Britendes Britendie Briten
the Irishmander Ireden Irendem Irendes Irendie Iren
the Daneder Däneden Dänendem Dänendes Dänendie Dänen

*Note here. The reason that you write “Herrn” on an envelope is because there there is an implied accusative because the letter is going to that man. Also watch out — the plural of Herr takes an -en.

Menschen der N-Deklination

Menschen der N-Deklination

Common Nouns that take an -en:

These are generally professional titles and descriptions of people. The nouns are masculine and end in -and, -ant, -ent, -ad, -at and -ist.

EnglishNom. / Sing.Akk. / Sing.Dat. / Sing.Gen. / Sing.Plural
the humander Menschden Menschendem Menschendes Menschendie Menschen
the bearder Bärden Bärendem Bärendes Bärendie Bären
the finchder Finkden Finkendem Finkendes Finkendie Finken
the studentder Studentden Studentendem Studentendes Studentendie Studenten
the assistantder Assistent den Assistentendem Assistentendes Assistentendie Assistenten
the Christiander Christden Christendem Christendes Christendie Christen
the architectder Architektden Architektendem Architektendes Architektendie Architekten
the soldierder Soldatden Soldatendem Soldatendes Soldatendie Soldaten
Tiere der N-Deklination

Tiere der N-Deklination


These ones take an s in the genitive form.

EnglishNom. / Sing.Akk. / Sing.Dat. / Sing.Gen. / Sing.Plural
the letterder Buchstabeden Buchstabendem Buchstabendes Buchstabensdie Buchstaben
the nameder Nameden Namendem Namendes Namensdie Namen
the peaceder Friede(n)den Friedendem Friedendes Friedens—–
the thoughtder Gedankeden Gedankendem Gedankendes Gedankensdie Gedanken
the belief / the faith / the religionder Glaubeden Glaubendem Glaubendes Glaubens—–
the heart (neuter)das Herzdas Herzdem Herz(en)des Herzensdie Herzen

*Note that Herz is a total exception because it is a neuter word.

Nouns without n-declination:

Most nouns do not have an n-declination. But just for your extra information nouns that end in -er or -or never take an n-declination.

EnglishNom. / Sing.Akk. / Sing.Dat. / Sing.Gen. / Sing.Plural
the priestder Pfarrerden Pfarrerdem Pfarrerdes Pfarrersdie Pfarrer
the doctorder Doktorden Doktordem Doktordes Doktorsdie Doktoren
the mechanicder Mechanikerden Mechanikerdem Mechanikerdes Mechanikersdie Mechaniker


Decide whether or not these nouns need an n-declination. Remember that the n-declination only occurs in the accusative, dative, and genitive.

  1. Unser Nachbar___ sah gestern auf unserem Grundstück einen verletzten Hase___.
  2. Der fremde Herr___ wollte uns seinen Name___ nicht verraten.
  3. Der übermüdete Arzt___ verschrieb dem kranken Patient___ ein falsches Medikament.
  4. Der Name___ des Polizist___ wurde der Öffentlichkeit nicht bekannt gegeben.
  5. Der Richter___ vernahm stundenlang den einzigen Zeuge___.
  6. Ein freundlicher Chinese___ half einem in Not geratenen Franzose___.
  7. Im Zoo versucht der hungrige Löwe___ den frechen Rabe___ zu fangen.
  8. Kennen Sie den Unterschied zweischen einem Tourist___ und einem Terrorist___?
  9. Der verärgerte Präsident___ liess seinen beschäftigten Aussenminister___ stundenlang warten.
  10. Alle Mensch___ sind vor dem Gesetz___ gleich.

Related Posts:

  1. Tânia MelloTânia Mello02-18-2013

    In ‘Exceptions’, you wrote: ‘These ones take an s in the dative form.’ You meant in the GENITIVE form, right ?

  2. Neemias AlmeidaNeemias Almeida05-11-2013

    Could you provide the answers for these exercises?

    Danke schön.

  3. hon marvinhon marvin08-21-2013

    Thanks for the very helpful lesson.

    Could you please post the answers?

    • Antworte:
      1. Nachbar / Hasen
      2. Herr / Namen
      3. Arzt / Patienten
      4. Name / Polizisten
      5. Richter / Zeugen
      6. Chinese / Franzosen
      7. Löwe / Raben
      8. Touristen / Terroristen
      9. Präsident / Aussenminister
      10. Menschen / Gesetz(e)

  4. hon marvinhon marvin08-21-2013

    Thank you for the answers

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