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200+ Common German Nouns You Should Know [with Audio]

German nouns have a pretty interesting reputation.

If you’ve already encountered some (especially long compound nouns), then you may be a bit intimidated.

But common German nouns that you’re actually likely to use in everyday speech are often pretty short and easy to remember.

Once you get started with learning the most common German nouns, you’ll build up a vessel of knowledge that will accelerate your learning and transport you toward fluency.

Contents

The Basic Characteristics of a German Noun

Here are a few things to know about German nouns that can help you spot them as you read or listen:

(1) Nouns are a person, location, object or concept. Examples of this include der Freund (friend), die Stadt (city), der Ball (ball) and die Freiheit (freedom).

(2) Nouns are capitalized, like proper names in English: Freund, Stadt, Ball, Freiheit.

(3) Nouns can be singular or plural, just like in English.

(4) Nouns have an article, which denotes their gender: der, die or das.

Nouns are used a lot in German, second only to verbs. Keep these characteristics in mind as you read, and you will start spotting nouns in no time!

German Compound Nouns

German compound nouns are formed by combining nouns to create one single long word. These compound nouns follow a certain logic and are specially built to transport extra vocabulary.

For example, the word die Groβschachanlage means “giant chessboard.” It’s formed from the following words:

  • groβ means “large” or “giant”
  • (das) Schach means “chess”
  • (die) Anlage means “board”

Joined together, you have “giant-chess-board,” or Groβ-schach-anlage.

Some German compound nouns can be comprised of many, many nouns. The next time you’re reading, see what compound nouns you can find.

200+ Most Common German Nouns

Memorizing the nouns below will give you a good general base of German vocabulary. The German words are divided into themed lists so that you can cover useful categories at your own pace.

Family and Friends

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If you wanted to say, “Here is my Uncle Tom and Aunt Theresa” in German, you would say, “Hier sind mein Onkel Tom und meine Tante Theresa.”

Similarly, you would say, “Sie ist meine Schwester” if you wanted to say, “She is my sister.”

Household Objects

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In German, “Ich putze die Dusche”  means, “I clean the shower.”

To say, “He sits in the chair,” you would use der Stuhl to say, “Er sitzt auf dem Stuhl.”

Transportation

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Do you take the bus to work? Simply say, “Ich fahre mit dem Bus in die Arbeit.”  (Literally, “I travel with the bus to work,” or more colloquially, “I take the bus to work.”)

Pilots would say, “Ich fliege das Flugzeug”  to mean they are flying the plane.

The vocabulary we’ve covered so far are used all the time, and you can pick up more by watching authentic German media content.

Locations

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Do you live auf dem Land (in the country) or in der Stadt  (in the city)?

Occupations

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As with family and friend nouns, occupations have a masculine and feminine form.

What do your parents do?

You could say, “My father is a supervisor, and my mother is a clerk,” or “Mein Vater ist Vorgesetzte und meine Mutter ist Angestellte.”

Food

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Was für einen Apfel haben Sie gern? (What kind of apples do you like?)

You might say, “I like red apples,” or “Ich habe rote Äpfel gern.”  

Pets

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If you wanted to say, “My bird’s name is Perry,” you would say, “Mein Vogel heiβt Perry.”

To say, “I have a brown dog,” you would need to make sure “brown” has the correct adjective ending: “Ich habe einen braunen Hund.”

Clothing Items

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Welche Farbe hat dein Hemd? (What color is your shirt?)

Mein Hemd ist blau. (My shirt is blue.)

Haben Sie meine Krawatte gesehen? (Have you seen my tie?)

Sports

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Welcher Sport haben Sie besser, das Hockey oder den Golf?  (What sport do you like better, hockey or golf?)

Ich habe leider beide nicht gern. Ich finde den Golf langweilig. (Unfortunately, I don’t like either. I think golf is boring.)

Personal Belongings

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Wo haben Sie deinen Schmuck gekauft?  (Where did you buy your jewelry?)

Ich habe deine Tasche gern. (I really like your bag.)

 

You’ll end up using a lot of the above German nouns in conversations and writing.

Do your best to memorize as many as you can and your vocabulary will expand exponentially! 

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

It's using the right content and tools, like FluentU has to offer! Browse hundreds of videos, take endless quizzes and master the German language faster than you've ever imagine!

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Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.

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You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don't know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.

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And FluentU isn't just for watching videos. It's a complete platform for learning. It's designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you're learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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