German A1 6: ‟Es” – It likes the neuter forms


You are going to learn: <Common phrases, <how to express facts with neuter nouns
and pronouns, <the third person singular, <a lot of new vocabulary ...

Maybe some of the aspects and the concept of German may sound strange to you – if you
compare them to your mother tongue or the English language, for example: But we have to make a
strict distinction between the natural gender and the grammatical gender in German! Following a
‟concept of natural gender” all objects, ‟things” would be neuter, and all ‟persons”, animals …
depending on their sex would be masculine or feminine. But unfortunately, the German language
does not follow this concept! For many reasons – we have to accept that – a table is not neuter but
masculine (‟der Tisch” or ‟er”), a bag is not neuter but feminine (‟die Tasche“”or ‟sie”), but a girl
or a baby is (‟das Mädchen”, ‟das Baby” or ‟es”)! This may sound illogical, but proves the fact that
the German language is a highly elaborated one with a long history, and it has been influenced by
different other languages. Last but not least, German is ‟die Sprache der Dichter und Denker” –
‟the language of the poets and thinkers”!
So, you have to take the challenge and study each noun
1. with the corresponding article – indicating if it is masculine (‟der”), feminine (‟die”) or
neuter (‟das”) and
2. with the form of the nominative plural.
The good news is: You are going to find all these forms inside your dictionary supplemented with
this information! What does this mean especially for this chapter: For instance, our baby and the
sibling are NOT masculine or feminine – whether they are a girl or a boy. The grammatical rule tells
us that they are NEUTER (‟it” = ‟es”! Just accept this and you will stay happy ;).
Max, the baby, ‟likes the neuter gender”. This simply means that this chapter focusses on
1. the third person singular and the corresponding verb endings (which are highlighted),
2. mainly objects with nouns being neuter (highlighted in bold letters and color –
remember: the neuter nouns are green!). So, if you look up all these nouns in the
dictionary you will find out that all the nouns are ‟das”-Wörter, meaning that they are
neuter and follow the neuter declination! I suggest to you to list all these nouns within a
category ‟neuter nouns” in your exercise book,
3. also the related adjectives and articles are highlighted in green because they are
somehow carrying this neuter form, if they are ‟connected” to the neuter noun.
Don´t mind, if you do not exactly UNDERSTAND this concept! I guess that even a lot of German
natives and perhaps also teachers don´t! 🙂 Nevertheless, if you are willing to study these
sentences by heart, you are going to internalize and recognize important phrases and structures in
a very natural way. So, let us find out more about our third person neuter, about Max:
„Es“ (= the third person singular „It“):

Translations of the sentences above:
His name is Max.
He likes the toys (neuter!).
He comes from Burgenland.
He lives in the house.
He is quite fine.
He has a sibling.
He is of course not married.
He was born last year.
He is drinking the baby bottle.
He goes to the blue child´s bed.
He likes playing with his sweet duckling.
He cannot say the word.
He must learn it.
He may caress his kitten.
It shall give him the paw (Here we have a change of perspective!).
He has seen his sibling.
He speaks with his sibling.
He was in the living room.
He had a car.