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Foreign words in German:

Some foreign words have 2
plural forms, the original foreign
ending and a Germanized plural. For example:
Globus > Globen / Globusse

Klima > Klimas / Klimata
Balkon > Balkone / Balkons
In these instances, both variants
are considered correct.

Hammer's German
Grammar and Usage
4th ed., by Martin Durrell,

The most authoritative
German grammar reference
written in English.
More info - Buy

German nouns

Plural forms

Plural forms & patterns

Whereas in English, plurals are typically formed by adding -s or -es to a word, German has a number of different ways to designate plurals. In fact, it is useful to note that very few German nouns form their plural using an -s suffix.

- or ¨ Nearly all masculine and neuter nouns that end in -er, -en, -el, -chen, -lein & collective neuter nouns beginning with Ge- have plurals that are identical to their singular forms or that simply add an umlaut.
der Spanier > die Spanier der Wagen > die Wagen das Brötchen > die Brötchen
das Mittel > die Mittel der Gürtel > die Gürtel der Apfel > die Äpfel
der Vater > die Väter   der Boden > die Böden das Gebirge > die Gebirge

BUT: der Muskel > die Muskeln      der Bauer > die Bauern

-e or -¨e Approximately 89% of masculine words, 74% of neuter words, and 25% of feminine words have the plural form -e or -¨e. Feminine nouns with the plural -e always take the umlaut. Masculine nouns often take the umlaut, but not always. Neuter nouns that have the plural -e rarely take the umlaut.
die Gans > die Gänse die Kraft > die Kräfte die Maus > Mäuse
der Koch > die Köche der Fluss > die Flüsse der Tag > die Tage
das Dokument > die Dokumente das Gespräch, die Gespräche das Pferd > die Pferde
NOTE: Nouns ending in -nis add another -s before the -e suffix in the plural form: die Erkenntnis > die Erkenntnisse.

-(n)en All feminine nouns ending in -ei, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -ung have the plural suffix or -en. Feminine nouns ending in -in add -nen in the plural form. These never add an umlaut.
die Bäckerei > die Bäckereien die Krankheit > die Krankheiten die Ähnlichkeit > die Ähnlichkeiten
die Leidenschaft > die Leidenschaften die Forschung > die Forschungen die Lehrerin > die Lehrerinnen

-n Nearly all masculine and feminine nouns ending in -e and a handful of neuter nouns ending in -e add -n in the plural form. Most feminine nouns ending in -el or -er have the plural suffix -n. These never add an umlaut.
der Name > die Namen die Blume > die Blumen die Frage > die Fragen
das Auge > die Augen die Feder > die Federn die Schachtel > die Schachteln

BUT: die Tochter > die Töchter    der Käse > die Käse
NOTE: 73% of all feminine nouns take -n or -en in their plural form.

-er or -¨er Approximately 21% of neuter nouns, including those that end in -tum, have the plural suffix -er or -¨er. A handful of masculine nouns (2%) also share this form. These always add an umlaut wherever possible.
das Bild > die Bilder das Kind > die Kinder das Gesicht > die Gesichter
das Haus > die Häuser das Bad > die Bäder das Dorf > die Dörfer
das Eigentum > die Eigentümer der Mund > die Münder der Wald > die Wälder

-s The -s plural suffix is added to 1) nouns derived from English, French, and Dutch, 2) abbreviations used as nouns, 3) names of people, and 4) nouns that end in an unstressed vowel. These never add an umlaut.
der Park > die Parks das Menü > die Menüs die DVD > die DVDs
der Lkw > die Lkws der Ami > die Amis der Schmidt > die Schmidts
der Oma > die Omas die Kamera > die Kameras das Video > die Videos

Variations on these forms and alternatives apply to a few foreign-derived words, particularly those of Greek and Latin origin:

Most words ending in -um change their ending to -en in the plural. Words ending in -os, -us, -is or -a may also take the plural form -en. Other Greek-, Latin-, and Italian-derived words, typically specialized words from fields such as music, medicine, law, and linguistics, maintain their foreign plurals:
das Datum > die Daten das Studium > die Studien das Museum > die Museen
die Villa > die Villen der Rhythmus > die Rhythmen das Epos > die Epen
die Praxis > die Praxen der Modus > die Modi der Numerus > die Numeri
der Genus > die Genera das Tempus > die Tempora das Lexikon > die Lexika

Plural patterns

According to the Duden Grammatik, two basic rules apply to approximately 85% of noun plurals in German:

1. Masculine and neuter nouns form their plural with -e or have no ending. If the end syllable of the word contains an -e (either -e or -e + consonant), no -e is added in the plural form.
2. Masculine nouns that end in -e and feminine nouns form their plural with -en. If the end syllable of the word contains an -e (either -e or -e + consonant), the -en is shortened to -n.

Two additional rules allow plural forms to be predicted with even higher accuracy:

3. Words ending in an unstressed syllable made up of a vowel or diphthong take the plural form -s.
4. Nouns that end in -e or -e + consonant will not have an -er plural form.

Identifying nouns | Nouns and gender | Gender patterns | Nouns with 2 genders | Compound nouns
Plural forms | Plural patterns | Weak nouns
| Adjectival nouns | Infinitive nouns

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