The German Language Series: Part IV- Definite Vs. Indefinite Articles
Definite and Indefinite Articles Defined
Used as the subject of the sentence, known as nominative case form, German nouns are generally accompanied either by the definite article der (masculine), die (feminine), or das (neuter). No matter the variation, the article translates as the.
Nouns that indicate something non-specific, or indefinite, in the nominative case are preceded either by ein (masculine), eine (feminine), or ein (neuter). Each of these articles stands for a, or an.
What follows are examples both definite and indefinite articles in each gender form:
· Der Mann (the man)
· Ein Mann (a man)
· Die Frau (the woman)
· Eine Frau (a woman)
· Das Kind (the child)
· Ein Kind (a child)
Definite articles are used far more in German than in English. Here follow but a few examples of such instances, in which English lacks the presence of an article:
· Abstract concepts such a nature in English (e.g. die Natur).
· Generalized meanings, such as health (e.g. die Gesundheit).
· Dates, as in September 22nd (e.g. der 22. September).
· Proper names when identified by an adjective, as in little girl (e.g. das kleine Mädchen).
Indefinite articles are often omitted in certain instances, such as when referring to the body and when used in conjunction with the verb “sein”.
· I have a headache (e.g. Ich habe Kopfweh.)
· You are an American. (e.g. Sie sind Amerikaner.)