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Nouns - Declension: Nominative (1. case)
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:
|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.