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11.9 Weak masculine nouns

As the name suggests, this a group of masculine nouns which predominantly denote living beings. Although they are occasionally confused by students with adjectival nouns, they decline in a different way: weak masculine nouns add "-(e)n" throughout the plural and in all singular cases other than the nominative.

The table below gives the endings for "der Student" (= (male) student) and "der Name" (= name):

  Singular Plural
Nominative der Student die Studenten
Accusative den Studenten die Studenten
Dative dem Studenten den Studenten
Nominative der Name die Namen
Accusative den Namen die Namen
Dative dem Namen den Namen


  • Ihr Bruder ist Student.
    (Her brother is a student (= nominative).)
  • Das ist ziemlich viel für einen Studenten.
    (That's quite a lot for a student (= accusative).)
  • Meine Schwester ist mit einem Studenten verlobt.
    (My sister is engaged to a student (= dative).)
  • Alle Studenten müssen nach dem Essen abwaschen!
    (All of the male students (= nominative) must wash up after the meal!)
  • Wie ist Ihr Name?
    (What is your name (= nominative)?)
  • Auf welchen Namen geht das Zimmer?
    (In what name (= accusative) should I book the room?)

Male nationalities ending in "-e"
These include many of the masculine nouns describing nationalities that we met in Chapter 2.

The British flag der Brite
(Briton (male))
   The Monegasque flag der Monegasse 
(Monegasque man)
The Bulgarian flag der Bulgare
(Bulgarian man)
   The Polish flag der Pole 
(Polish man)
The Chinese flag der Chinese
(Chinese man)
   The Portuguese flag der Portugiese 
(Portuguese man)
The Danish flag der Däne
(Dane (male))
   The Romanian flag der Rumäne 
(Romanian man)
The Estonian flag der Este
(Estonian man)
   The Russian flag der Russe 
(Russian (male))
The Finnish flag der Finne
(Finnish man)
   The British flag der Schotte 
The French flag der Franzose
   The Swedish flag der Schwede 
(Swede (male))
The Greek flag der Grieche
(Greek (male))
   The Slovakian flag der Slowake 
(Slowak (male))
The Irish flag der Ire
   The Slovenian flag der Slowene 
(Slovenian man)
The Croatian flag der Kroate
(Croatian man)
   The Czech flag der Tscheche 
(Czech man)
The Latvian flag der Lette
(Latvian man)
   The Turkish flag der Türke 
(Turk (male))

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of this group of weak masculine nouns by clicking on the bar below:

Other weak masculine nouns ending in "-e"
Other weak masculine nouns ending in "-e" that we have encountered so far or are in common usage include:

der Affe
   der Knabe
(boy; lad)
der Buchstabe
(letter of alphabet)
   der Kollege 
(colleague (male))
der Bulle
(bull; policeman)
   der Kunde 
(customer (male))
der Bursche
(boy; lad)
   der Löwe 
der Experte
   der Name 
der Hase
(hare; rabbit)
   der Neffe 
der Jude
(Jew (male))
   der Sklave 
(slave (male))
der Junge
   der Zeuge 
(witness (male))

1. As we shall see in the following chapter, both "der Buchstabe" and "der Name" belong to a separate subdivision of weak masculine nouns and behave differently in the genitive case.

2. You would only use "der Experte", "der Jude", "der Kollege", "der Kunde", "der Löwe", "der Sklave", and "der Zeuge" if you are speaking of male experts, Jews, colleagues etc. The female equivalents have their own separate German noun, all of which end in "-in" - "die Expertin (-innen)", "die Jüdin (-innen)", "die Kollegin (-innen)", "die Kundin (-innen)", "die Löwin (-innen)", "die Sklavin (-innen)" and "die Zeugin (-innen)".

Masculine nouns coming from the Greek and other foreign languages
This is particularly the case with masculine nouns ending in "-and", "-ant", "-ent", "-ist", "-krat" and "-log(e)". These primarily (but not exclusively) refer to human beings:

der Architekt
   der Katholik
der Biologe
   der Komponist 
der Bürokrat
   der Monarch 
der Demokrat
   der Philosoph 
der Diplomat
   der Polizist 
der Elefant
   der Präsident 
der Fotograf
   der Soziologe 
der Journalist
   der Student 

Other German masculine nouns
There are a few native German weak masculine nouns which do not end in "-e" in the nominative singular:

der Bär
   der Herr
(man; gentleman)
der Bauer
   der Mensch 
(human being)
der Bayer
   der Nachbar 
der Fürst
   der Narr 
der Graf
   der Oberst 
der Held
   der Prinz 

Note the irregular declension of "der Herr". This weak masculine noun adds "-en" throughout the plural, but "-n" in the singular for all cases other than the nominative.

  Singular Plural
Nominative der Herr die Herren
Accusative den Herrn die Herren
Dative dem Herrn den Herren

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of these groups of weak masculine nouns by clicking on the bar below:

Weiter! Chapter 11.10: Prepositions and questions

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