Der Words and ein Words

Der words are the definite articles (der, die, das) and any other adjectives that act like definite articles with nouns. They are called demonstrative adjectives.

Table 18-2. Der Words

dieser (this) jener (that) solcher (such) jeder (each) mancher (many a) welcher (which)

You already know the ein words: ein, kein, mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr, and ihr. You need to compare these two groups of words in order to use adjective endings more accurately. To generalize, you can say that the most common adjective ending in German is –en. But when is an adjective ending something other than –en?

Der Words

The nominative case (subject of the sentence) is the critical area. In this case, the gender of the noun has to be specified. When you use a definite article, that becomes quite clear: der Lehrer, die Lehrerin, das Kind. And when you use an adjective with the definite articles, it always has an –e ending in the nominative: der gute Lehrer (the good teacher), die nette Lehrerin (the nice teacher), das intelligente Kind (the intelligent child).

No matter which der word you use, the adjective ending will always be just an –e in the nominative case. Listen to your CD for the German pronunciation.

Table 18-3. Der Words in the Nominative Case

Masculine Feminine Neuter dieser alte Mann diese alte Frau dieses nette Kind this old man this old woman this nice child jeder blaue Teller jede blaue Tasse jedes blaue Glas each blue plate each blue cup each blue glass jener junge Lehrer jene junge Lehrerin jenes hübsche Mädchen that young teacher that young teacher that pretty girl mancher gute Mann manche gute Frau manches gute Kind many a good man many a good woman many a good child welcher neue Wagen welche neue Lampe welches neue Fahrrad which new car which new lamp which new bicycle

Since the feminine and neuter are identical in the nominative and accusative cases, you can assume that the same endings will apply in the accusative.

Ein Words

With ein words, gender is shown as an adjective ending, rather than by the article. The final sound of the definite article (der, die, das) appears as the adjective ending: ein guter Mann, eine gute Frau, ein gutes Kind. Let's look at some further examples. Listen to your CD for the German pronunciation.

Table 18-4. Ein Words in the Nominative Case

Masculine Feminine Neuter kein alter Lehrer keine alte Lehrerin kein nettes Kind no old teacher no old teacher no nice child sein neuer Wagen seine neue Lampe sein neues Haus his new car his new lamp his new house unser junger Freund unsere junge Freundin unser altes Buch our young friend our young friend our old book Ihr roter Hut Ihre rote Jacke Ihr rotes Hemd your red hat your red jacket your red shirt

Again, the feminine and neuter would be identical in the accusative case.

If you understand the idea that gender is shown in the der word when der words are used but is shown in the adjective when ein words are used, then you have a good grasp of German adjective endings. All other adjectives that follow der or ein words will end in –en.

Table 18-5. Der Words and Ein Words in All Cases

Adjectives of plural nouns, whether used with der words or ein words, have an –en ending in all cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive.

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