7.1 Formation of Plural

Now we are really at a point, where it is time to apologise to the willing student. Something that is as easy in all the other languages as the plural can be made quite difficult in German. Have a look at these examples:

in English you add an s: house => houses, window => windows
in Italian the a turns into e and the o in i: casa => case, libro => libri
in Persian you add ha: ketab => ketabha, miz=> mizha                     
in Spanish you add an s:   casa => casas, libro => libros  
      etc. etc.

In most languages it is quite easy to form a plural. In German there are no such clear rules. The Germans were capable of creating something that even they themselves are confused about often enough. The only excuse is that the German language is based on historical facts and not on someone's invention.

Formation of Plural in German

The German language knows several suffixes to form the plural: e, n, en, er, s. The most important is the suffix e. The words that use the s for forming the plural are quite limited and usually they are "imported" from other languages, mostly English. But there are not only the different suffixes but also the change of the vowel (or then also the not changing vowel).

a turns into ä
o turns into ö
u turns into ü

We now present the suffixes, first without the change of the vowel, then with changes of vowel.

What comes to the article it is quite easy

der turns into die (der Mann => die Männer)
die  does not change (die Frau => die Frauen)
das turns into die (das Kind => die Kinder)

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