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When to use Articles in German Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 in Language

German and English use the articles in similar ways, however there are some exceptions. Just because you see a noun doesn’t mean you should always attach an article in front of it.

In German, it’s common to see articles used after a preposition (die Präposition) : in der Nacht (at night)

With parts of the body : die Augen (eye)

With  an institution (die Anstalt) or organization (die Organisation) : die Schule (school)

With clothing (die Bekleidung) : das Hemd (shirt)

Measurements : das Kilo (kilo)

Name of a country (die Heimat) : die USA (USA)

Month (der Monat) : der Juni (June)

Seasons : der Sommer (summer)

Famous people or historical figures : die dietrich ([Marlene] Dietrich)

Streets : die Beethovenallee (Beethovan Street)

General/vague/abstract nouns : das Leben (life)

Fixed expressions : in der Tat (in fact)

*Articles in German are not used with instruments : Er spielt Piano (he plays piano)

Also not used with professions and nationalities after the verbs sein, werden and bleibenEr ist Doktor (he’s a doctor)

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