Nouns - Declension: Nominative (1. case)

Forms

In the German language, there are three forms of nouns: masculine (m), feminine (f) and neuter (nt) nouns. The nouns also have respective articles. Here are examples of some nouns of each gender which are declined in the singular (sg) and plural (pl). They can be accompanied by definite or indefinite articles:

Singular Forms Noun with Definite Article Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine der Mann m [de:ɐ man] the man
feminine die Frau f [di: frau] the woman
neuter das Kind nt [das kɪnt] the child
       
Plural Forms Noun with Definite Article Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine   Männer m pl [di: 'mɛnɐ] the men
feminine die Frauen f pl [di: 'frauən] the women
neuter   Kinder nt pl [di: 'kɪndɐ] the children
       
Singular Forms Noun with Indefinite Article Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine ein Mann m [ain man] a man
feminine eine Frau f ['ainə frau] a woman
neuter ein Kind nt [ain kɪnt] a child
       
Plural Forms Noun with Indefinite Article Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine Männer m pl ['mɛnɐ] men
feminine Frauen f pl ['frauən] women
neuter Kinder nt pl ['kɪndɐ] children

The articles always stand in front of the noun. As you can see, there is only one plural form of the definite article ("die") for every noun, no matter if it is masculine, feminine or neuter.

There are no plural forms of the indefinite articles like it is in English. Other languages might have plural forms for the indefinite articles, like "des" in French, for example.

 

The subject of a sentence always stands in the nominative

The nominative is the first case. We use the nominative form of a noun whenever it represents the subject of the sentence. The subject is the acting part of the sentence which the predicate (the conjugated form of the verb) refers to.

Here is an example:

German Phonetic Script English
Der Mann m versteht Deutsch. [de:ɐ man fɛɐ'ʃte:t dɔytʃ] The man understands German.

In this sentence, "Der Mann" is the noun in the nominative case. As I have already explained, it is the acting part of the sentence.

If you ask for the subject of the example sentence, you ask: Who (is doing something)? The answer in this case would be: The man (is doing something), namely the man understands German.