The issue about what German article must you use continues…
It’s not simple, I know. But there are some tricks you can use.
In this post I’ll show you how you can recognize the article of a noun depending on its ending -and memorize most of them- or on its meaning.
By the ending of a noun
- der: ig, ling, or, ismus; and nouns derived from verbs without ending (e.g. Gang [>gehen], Schluss [>schließen], Satz [>setzen], Zug [>ziehen])
- die: heit, ung, keit, ei, schaft, ion, ie, tät, ik, -ur, -nz, -a (many), -t (many)
- das: tum, chen, ma, ment, um, lein (except der Moment, Zement), -o(n), -ier, -ing, -ett, -et, -nis (many); and nouns beginning with Ge- (exc. die Geschichte; der Geruch, Geschmack, Gebrauch, Gedanke)
In the following image you can see an excellent idea I found on this page: mnemonics made up of the most typical endings for each article (written in bold above).
By the meaning of a noun
- der: seasons, daytimes (exc. die Nacht⇧), weekdays, months, cardinal directions, weather phenomena, car labels, alcoholic drinks (exc. das Bier⇧), names of rivers outside Europe, mountains, minerals, stones, currencies (exc. das Pfund)
- die: motorbike labels, aeroplanes, ships, cardinal numbers, plants (exc. der Baum, der Strauch, der Kaktus, das Gras), tree species, fruits (exc. der Apfel, der Avocado⇧)
- babies and small humans or animals (exc. die Welpe⇧)
- international words: Hotel, Problem, Restaurant, Café, Genre, Portmonee
- substantivated infinitives, adjectives, pronouns, colors, grammatical terms
- chemical elements (exc. der Sauerstoff), metals (exc. der Stahl), materials, fractional numbers, letters
- countries (exc. die Türkei⇧, der Schweiz; der Irak, der Iran, der Jemen), cities, islands, continents
In the following picture, a great composition made by Deutsche Welle, you see the most important rules of what German article must I use (endings and meanings).