Abstract Nouns


In this lesson of the Learn German course, you'll learn how abstract nouns are created in German by adding suffixes to verbs, adjectives, and other nouns.

Flashcards and a quiz are included in the lesson to help you learn some common abstract nouns.

Suffixes Used to Create Nouns

Abstract nouns are nouns that name concepts, ideas, and qualities. In German abstract nouns are often created by adding suffixes to a verb, adjective, or other noun.

The suffix ung

The suffix ung is often added to a verb to create a noun. These nouns are equivalent to English nouns ending in ing, tion, and ment. German nouns ending in ung are always feminine.

die Aufregung the excitement
die Begegnung the encounter
die Behandlung the treatment
die Entdeckung the discovery
die Erfahrung the experience
die Erklärung the explanation
die Kleidung the clothing
die Öffnung the opening
die Ordnung the order
die Regierung the government

The suffix nis

The German suffix nis is equivalent to the English suffix ness, and is used to describe a condition, activity, or function. Nouns that end in nis are usually neuter and their plural form is nisse.

das Ärgernis the annoyance
das Bedürfnis the need
die Besorgnis the anxiety, the concern
das Ereignis the event
das Erzeugnis the product
die Finsternis the darkness
das Gedächtnis the memory
das Geheimnis the secret
das Verständnis the understanding

The suffix e

The suffix e is added to the stem of some verbs to create a noun. These nouns are feminine and add an n for the plural form.

The suffix e is also added to some adjectives to create nouns. These nouns are also feminine and add an n for the plural form.

die Liebe the love
die Wäsche the laundry
die Lüge the lie
die Sprache the language
die Fläche the surface, the area
die Glätte the smoothness
die Größe the size
die Güte the goodness
die Länge the length
die Stärke the strength
die Wärme the warmth
die Tiefe the depth

The suffixes heit and keit

The suffixes heit and keit are added to many adjectives to create abstract nouns. These nouns are feminine.

die Ehrlichkeit the honesty
die Freundlichkeit the friendliness
die Fröhlichkeit the cheerfulness
die Langsamkeit the slowness
die Freiheit the freedom
die Sicherheit the safety, the security

The suffixes er and erin

The suffixes er and erin are added to a verb to describe the person doing the action. For males er is used and for females erin is used. The plural form of erin is erinnen and the plural form of er is also er.

The suffix er can also be used to name the result of an action or the object that does the action.

der Arbeiter, die Arbeiterin the worker
der Besitzer, die Besitzerin the owner
der Fehler the mistake, the error
der Fernseher the television
der Lichtschalter the light switch

There are several other suffixes in German that can be used to create an abstract noun from a verb or adjective, such as tät, ler, ling, schaft, and tum.


Noun Flashcards

Here are some flashcards to help you learn the German abstract nouns introduced in this lesson.


Here is an online quiz to help you learn the abstract nouns included in this lesson.