Unit 3: Articles, Simple Past

1. Der- Words

These are the words that function like the definite article in that they share the same endings with articles. The stems of these words are:

dies- this
jen- that
jed- every / each
manch- (many a) (plural = some, many)
solch- such, so, those, etc. Consult your dictionary.
welch- which / what
all- all

Using dies– as our example der-word, our chart looks as follows (compare with the chart of definite articles in Unit 2):

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative dieser diese dieses diese
Accusative diesen diese dieses diese
Dative diesem dieser diesem diesen
Genitive dieses
dieser dieses

Points to remember:

  1. Der– words share the same endings as the definite article.
  2. All– will only appear in plural usages.
  3. Dies– and jen– when used alone can mean “the latter” and “the former” respectively. Example:

    Die Eltern meiner Frau heißen Johann und Margarete. Diese ist 62 Jahre alt, jener 65 Jahre alt.
    The parents of my wife are named Johann and Margarete. The latter is 62 years old, the former 65 years old.

    Note that your cue for this special meaning is that diese and jener in the second sentence do not “belong to” – or modify – a noun. They are standing alone. Normally you expect a noun (possibly with that noun’s other modifiers) to follow any der-word.


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