Definite and Indefinite Articles

What are Articles?

Articles come before nouns and help you understand what exactly we're talking about. They are also declined (change their form) to give you information about the noun's...

Definite Articles

In English, the definite article is "the":

  • der   –   „der Vater“
  • die   –   „die Mutter“
  • das   –   „das Kind“

Using Definite Articles

Definite articles are used when talking about something specific.

⇒ The noun is unique. You can say exactly what you are talking about.

  •   Der Hund holt die Zeitung.“  (This specific dog got this specific newspaper)

Definite articles are used when talking about something generally known or already specifically mentioned.

  • Das Eis ist kalt.“ (Everyone knows what „Eis“ is)
  • „Das ist der Mann, den ich gestern getroffen habe.“  (It's a specific man, not just anyone)

Declining Definite Articles

Are you still having problems with the German cases?

If the German cases still cause you great difficulties, I now have the solution for you!

After you read my book/ebook: „Nominative, Accusative, Dative or Genitive? - No Problem!“ you'll even be able to explain the cases to your friends! Guaranteed - or you'll get your money back!

Yes, help me with the German cases now! (Click)

Indefinite Articles

In English, "a" and "an" are indefinite articles:

  • ein   –   „ein Mann“ (masculine)
  • ein   –   „ein Kind“ (neuter)
  • eine   –   „eine Frau“ (feminine)

Using Indefinite Articles

Indefinite articles are used when we talk about something unspecified.

⇒  The noun is not unique. It is one of many.

  • „Der Hund holt einen Stock."

(There are many sticks. It could be any of them.)

Declining Indefinite Articles

Recommendation: Sometimes do not use an Article

With the Indefinite Article in the Plural, you leave out the Article. This is called the Zero Article. In which other situations you also have to remove the Article, I will explain in the lesson: The Zero Article.

Articles with Prepositions

In some instances, articles are combined with a Prepositions:

  • an + das = ans   „Ich fahre ans Meer.“
  • an + dem = am   Am Montag gehe ich…“
  • in + das = ins   „Ich springe ins Wasser.“
  • in + dem = im „Ich bin im Kino.“
  • zu + der = zur   „Ich gehe zur Arbeit.“
  • zu + dem = zum   „Ich gehe zum Kino.“
  • bei + dem = beim   „Ich bin beim Bahnhof.“
  • von + dem = vom „Ich komme vom Mars.“

These pairs are always combined.

If you say it separately, everyone will still understand you, but there is a difference in meaning: the noun is really emphasized (like the English "this," which is a Demonstrative Pronoun).

Examples

  • Eine Frau fährt zur Arbeit.“
    (It could be ANY woman // zur = zu der ⇒ not any job, HER job.)
  • Die Frau fährt mit einem Fahrrad zur Arbeit.
    (A specific woman that the speaker and listener know, but any bicycle.)

Related Topics:

More lessons for the Articles:

In order for you to correctly decline the Articles, you must also be familiar with the German cases

You can find an overview of all topics under German Grammar.

Recommendation: Free video lessons every Tuesday & Thursday

Sign up now: Email German Grammar course

Special offer: 5 Ebooks for free!


All German EasyDeutsch Ebooks - 5 plus 5! (5 x 17 = 85)

Buy 5 Ebooks together now and get the other 5 for free!

  1. EasyGerman - German Grammar (Preview)
  2. DaF Grammar Trainer - 300 Exercises (Preview)
  3. 137 German Prepositions (Preview)
  4. Intensive Trainer: German Prepositions (Preview)
  5. Connectors - Conjunctions, Subjunctions, Conjunctional Adverbs (Preview)
  6. 40+ Grammar Lists - Free (Preview)
  7. Nominative, Accusative, Dative or Genitive? - Free (Preview)
  8. Intensive Trainer: German Cases - Free (Preview)
  9. 200+ pages of Grammar Exercises: Level A1-A2 - Free (Preview)
  10. 200+ pages of Grammar Exercises: Level B1-B2 -Free (Preview)

BONUS:

Over 100 ready-to-teach grammar units on all topics of German grammar (A1-B2)

Perfect as homework or for self-learners!

85€ - 219€

Accept gifts and...