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 Buch||Anna’s book|
|Klaras Mantel||Klara’s coat|
|die Werke Goethes||Goethe’s works|
|der Untergang der Titanic||the sinking of the Titanic|
- For more information on Articles and Demonstrative adjectives, see Articles.
Grammar Extra!Where proper names end in -s, -sch, -ss, -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 Hans||Hans’s book|
|die Werke von Marx||the works of Marx|
|die Freundin von Klaus||Klaus’s girlfriend|
- Herr (meaning Mr) is always declined when it is part of a proper name.
|an Herrn Schmidt||to Mr Schmidt|
|Sehr geehrte Herren||Dear Sirs|
- Surnames usually form their plurals by adding -s, unless they end in -s, -sch, -ss, -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.