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DEFINITE ARTICLES

As mentioned in Basics 1, German nouns have one of three genders: feminine, masculine or
neuter.

While they sometimes correspond to a natural gender ("der Mann" is male), most often the gender
will depend on the word, not on the object it describes. For example, the word "das Mädchen" (the
girl) ends in "-chen", hence it is neuter. This is called grammatical gender.

Each gender has its own definite article. Der is used for masculine nouns, das for neuter,
and die for feminine. Later in this course you will learn that these might be modified according to
"case".

gender definite (the) indefinite (a/an)

masculine der Mann ein Mann

neuter das Mädchen ein Mädchen

feminine die Frau eine Frau

CONJUGATING VERBS
Here are the conjugation tables from "Basics 1" (where you can find a more detailed explanation)
again.

trinken (to drink)

English person ending German example

I -e ich trinke

you (singular informal) -st du trinkst

he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt


sein (to be)

English German

I am ich bin

you (singular informal) are du bist

he/she/it is er/sie/es ist


GENERIC VS. SPECIFIC (GERMAN IS NOT SPANISH OR FRENCH)
Just like in English, using or dropping the definite article makes the difference between specific and
generic.

I like bread = Ich mag Brot (bread in general)

I like the bread = Ich mag das Brot (specific bread)

A good general rule is to use an article when you would use on in English. If there is none in
English, don't use one in German.

There are some slight differences when using a few abstract nouns, but we'll see about that later.