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Declension of German Nouns

List of all topics in the level A2

Please see the following sentence:
Ich gebe dem Studenten den Kuli. (I give the student the pen.)
Studenten cannot be a plural noun because the article used with Studenten is "dem," indicating that it is in the dative case and is a singular masculine noun. So, what does the -en ending signify in this context?

Some masculine nouns add an ending "-en" or "-n" in the accusative, dative, and genitive cases. These nouns are called weak nouns (schwache Nomen), and this type of declension is called n-declension (n-Deklination). Schwache Nomen are:


Sie erzählt einem Jungen eine Geschichte. (She tells a boy a story.)
erzählen (to tell somebody something), der Junge (boy), die Geschichte (story)

Ich erzähle Herrn Meier die Wahrheit. (I tell the truth to Mr. Meier.)
die Wahrheit (truth)

Ich erkläre dem Menschen das Problem. (I explain the problem to that person.)
As German demonstrative pronouns are the same as definite articles, so "dem" can have meanings of "the" and "that".
erklären (to explain something to somebody), der Mensch (person, man) plural: die Menschen, das Problem (problem)

Similarly, all the examples with definite articles from the last lesson can have two meanings:

Ich zeige der Frau das Auto.
(I show the car to the woman.)
(I show the car to that woman.)
zeigen (to show somebody something)

Ich schicke dem Mann ein Geschenk.
(I send the man a gift.)
(I send that man a gift.)
schicken (to send somebody something), das Geschenk (gift)

Ich kaufe der Frau das Brot.
(I buy the woman the bread.)
(I buy that woman the bread.)
kaufen (to buy), das Brot (bread)

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