Plural of nouns in the German language is much different than in English. In English, plurals are formed simply by adding '-s' to the end of the noun. In German, it's not that simple however; as there are several different ways of forming them. Thus, it's always recommended to learn a new word along with its plural.

This lesson will provide some common patterns for typical endings of nouns' plural based on the gender of the noun. However, these patterns should only be considered as guidelines rather than rules; as irregularities may always exist.

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Masculine Nouns

Adding an '-e'

Most of the German masculine nouns form their plurals by simply adding an '-e' at their end.

Noun Plural Definition
der Beruf die Berufe professions
der Schuh die Schuhe shoes
der Stift die Stifte pencils
der Hund die Hunde dogs

Adding an umlaut and '-e'

Sometimes when the stem of a masculine noun contains an 'a', 'o', or 'u', an umlaut is added to it, in addition to the '-e' at the end.

Noun Plural Definition
der Zahn die Zähne teeth
der Kopf die Köpfe heads
der Zug die Züge trains

Nouns ending in '-er', '-el', or '-en'

Nouns ending in '-er', '-el', or '-en' are either left unchanged, or have an umlaut added to their stem.

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Noun Plural Definition
der Dichter die Dichter poets
der Mantel die Mäntel coats
der Laden die Läden shops/stores

Feminine Nouns

Adding a '-n' or an '-en'

Most of the German feminine nouns form their plural by simply adding '-n' or '-en' at their end.

Noun Plural Definition
die Blume die Blumen flowers
die Stirn die Stirnen foreheads
die Nase die Nasen noses
die Wohnung die Wohnungen apartments

Adding an umlaut and '-e'

Sometimes when the stem of a feminine noun contains an 'a', 'o', or 'u', an umlaut is added to it, in addition to an '-e' at the end.

Noun Plural Definition
die Wand die Wände walls
die Kuh die Kühe cows
die Hand die Hände hands

Neuter Nouns

Adding an '-e'

Most of the German neuter nouns form their plural by simply adding an '-e' at their end.

Noun Plural Definition
das Regal die Regale shelves
das Haar die Haare hair
das Schaf die Schafe sheep

Adding an umlaut and '-er'

Sometimes when the stem of a neuter noun contains an 'a', 'o', or 'u', an umlaut is added to it, in addition to an '-er' at the end.

Noun Plural Definition
das Buch die Bücher books
das Huhn die Hühner chicken
das Loch die Löcher holes

Nouns ending in '-chen'

Neuter nouns ending in '-chen' are kept unchanged in their plural forms.

Noun Plural Definition
das Mädchen die Mädchen girls
das Zeichen die Zeichen characters

That ends the most common patterns found in all three genders. Remember though, that these are just guidelines, and not strict language rules; thus exceptions exist.

To avoid any confusion, it's always recommended for new German language students to study each noun along with its gender and its plural. By time, you should develop a good sense of the language, and be able to form plurals without having to study them by heart.