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.
Most of the German masculine nouns form their plurals by simply adding an '-e' at their end.
|Masculine plurals: -e|
|der Beruf||die Berufe||professions|
|der Schuh||die Schuhe||shoes|
|der Stift||die Stifte||pencils|
|der Hund||die Hunde||dogs|
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.
|Masculine plurals: ¨-e|
|der Zahn||die Zähne||teeth|
|der Kopf||die Köpfe||heads|
|der Zug||die Züge||trains|
Nouns ending in '-er', '-el', or '-en' are either left unchanged, or have an umlaut added to their stem.
|Masculine plurals: -er, -el, -en endings|
|der Dichter||die Dichter||poets|
|der Mantel||die Mäntel||coats|
|der Laden||die Läden||shops/stores|
Most of the German feminine nouns form their plural by simply adding '-n' or '-en' at their end.
|Feminine plurals: -n or -en|
|die Blume||die Blumen||flowers|
|die Stirn||die Stirnen||foreheads|
|die Nase||die Nasen||noses|
|die Wohnung||die Wohnungen||apartments|
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.
|Feminine plurals: ¨-e|
|die Wand||die Wände||walls|
|die Kuh||die Kühe||cows|
|die Hand||die Hände||hands|
Most of the German neuter nouns form their plural by simply adding an '-e' at their end.
|Neuter plurals: -e|
|das Regal||die Regale||shelves|
|das Haar||die Haare||hair|
|das Schaf||die Schafe||sheep|
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.
|Neuter plurals: ¨-er|
|das Buch||die Bücher||books|
|das Huhn||die Hühner||chicken|
|das Loch||die Löcher||holes|
Neuter nouns ending in '-chen' are kept unchanged in their plural forms.
|Neuter plurals: -chen ending|
|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.