Easy Learning German

Proper nouns - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is a proper noun?
A proper noun is the name of a person, place, organization or thing. Proper nouns are always written with a capital letter, for example, Kevin, Glasgow, Europe, London Eye.
  • In German, names of people and places only change in the genitive singular when they add -s, unless they are preceded by the definite article or a demonstrative adjective (in English, this, that, these and those).
Annas BuchAnna’s book
Klaras MantelKlara’s coat
die Werke GoethesGoethe’s works
BUT
der Untergang der Titanicthe sinking of the Titanic
  • For more information on Articles and Demonstrative adjectives, see Articles.
Grammar Extra!Where proper names end in -s, -sch, -ss,, -x, -z, or -tz, adding an extra -s for the genitive makes them very difficult to pronounce. This is best avoided by using von + the dative case.
das Buch von HansHans’s book
die Werke von Marxthe works of Marx
die Freundin von KlausKlaus’s girlfriend
  • Herr (meaning Mr) is always declined when it is part of a proper name.
an Herrn Schmidtto Mr Schmidt
Sehr geehrte HerrenDear Sirs
  • Surnames usually form their plurals by adding -s, unless they end in -s, -sch, -ss, , -x, -z, or -tz, in which case they add -ens. They are often preceded by the definite article.
Die Schmidts haben uns zum Abendessen eingeladen.The Schmidts have invited us to dinner.
Die Schultzens waren nicht zu Hause.The Schultzes weren’t at home.
  • For more information on Articles, see Articles.

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