Definite and Indefinite Articles


In this lesson you'll learn how to use the definite and indefinite articles with nouns.

You'll also learn some German words for people and family.

Flashcards are included at the end of the lesson to help you learn the words introduced in this lesson.

Definite Article

The definite article, the in English, is also very common in German. In German the definite article has different forms depending on the gender of the word it is associated with, whether the word is singular or plural, and the case (subject, object, etc). You don't need to memorize the different forms yet, just be aware that they exist. You'll get lots of practice with them throughout the course.

In the Nouns lesson you learned the subject forms of the definite article. In this lesson you'll also learn the direct object, indirect object, and possessive forms of the definite article as well.

The following table shows the forms of the German definite article.

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Subject der die das die
Direct Object den die das die
Indirect Object dem der dem den
Possessive des der des der


Der Vater gibt dem Mann die Schlüssel. The father gives the keys to the man.
Der Vater gibt der Frau den Kaffee. The father gives the coffee to the woman.
Die Frau gibt dem Kind die Jacke. The woman gives the child the Jacket.
Das Kind gibt der Mutter die Jacke. The child gives the jacket to the mother.
Die Kinder geben den Frauen die Jacken. The children give the jackets to the women.

Indefinite Article

The indefinite article, a and an in English, has different forms in German depending on the gender of the word it is associated with and the case (subject, object, etc). You don't need to worry about memorizing these yet, just be aware that they exist.

The following table shows the forms of the German indefinite article.

Masculine Feminine Neuter
Subject ein eine ein
Direct Object einen eine ein
Indirect Object einem einer einem
Possessive eines einer eines


Ein Vater gibt einem Mann einen Schlüssel. A father gives a key to a man.
Ein Vater gibt einer Frau einen Kaffee. A father gives a coffee to a woman.
Eine Frau gibt einem Kind eine Jacke. A woman gives a child a Jacket.
Ein Kind gibt einer Frau eine Jacke. A child gives a jacket to a woman.
Der Mann hat einen Bruder und eine Schwester. The man has a brother and a sister.
Das Kind hat eine Mutter. The child has a mother.
Der Mann und die Frau haben ein Kind. The man and the woman have a child.



Here are some German words for family members. For more German words and phrases related to people and the family, have a look at the lesson People.

der Mann the man
die Männer the men
die Frau the woman
die Frauen the women
das Mädchen the girl
die Mädchen the girls
der Junge the boy
die Jungen the boys
das Kind the child
die Kinder the children
die Familie the family
die Mutter the mother
der Vater the father
die Schwester the sister
die Schwestern the sisters
der Bruder the brother
die Brüder the brothers
der Sohn the son
die Söhne the sons
die Tochter the daughter
die Töchter the daughters


Here are some flashcards to help you learn the German words for people and family members introduced in this lesson.

Read German

Read and listen to the section below where Paul talks about his family and where he lives.

After you have read it, write about your own family and where you live.


Hallo. Ich heiße Paul. Ich bin fünfzehn Jahre alt.

Ich habe einen Bruder. Er heißt Jonas und ist sechzehn. Ich habe auch eine Schwester. Sie heißt Hannah und ist vierzehn.

Meine Familie wohnt in einem Haus in Berlin. Unser Haus verfügt über vier Schlafzimmer und drei Badezimmer. Es gibt zwei Apfelbäume und einen kleinen Garten in unserem Hinterhof.


Hi. My name is Paul. I am fifteen years old.

I have a brother. His name is Jonas, and he is sixteen. I also have a sister. Her name is Hannah, and she is fourteen.

My family lives in a house in Berlin. Our house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There are two apple trees and a small garden in our back yard.