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When should it be beide and when beiden? Why is die beide Frauen incorrect? Can somebody post a precise rule here?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

In that case beide is an article (Artikelwort). Therefore it follows the declension rules of adjectives. Which rules? Well, to determine them you need to know which kind of article you have before your adjective (if any).

Your case presents a definite article before your adjective and your noun, so it's weakely declined. Then you go to the table, for instance this one and select according to case and gender (or number) the right entry in that matrices.

Strictly speaking you need to know the role that die Frauen play in the sentence, but since you already saw you have there die, it's either accusative or nominative. And the noun is in plural, so the adjective must be beiden.

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You wouldn't think twice about "die alten Frauen". This is really pretty much the same thing. – Ingmar Mar 29 '14 at 16:52
Your explanation seems to be enough. But for me, a German language newbie, those pronouns seem hard to learn... – ducin Mar 29 '14 at 20:33
Sorry, once again, I took a look at the table - and I see die kalten Weine for Nominativ und Akkusativ. What does this have to do with beiden? How do you know I should look for either Nominativ or Akkusativ? – ducin Mar 29 '14 at 20:38
@tkoomzaaskz well, because that table is valid for just any adjective. And, as stated, here beide(n) is playing that role of adjective. It works as follows: the adjective delclined there is kalt; so, in the table, for each entry, you extract the endings after that root kalt. Those roots have to be added for each of the cases you are interested in, to beid (which doesn't really make sense on its own, since it's a special word). Whence if you saw there kalt+en, you write beid+en. – c.p. Mar 29 '14 at 21:25

die alten Leute, die kleinen Kinder, die schönen Fotos.

After der/die/das, plural die an adjective can only have the ending -e/en (the n-declension of the adjective). This declension is simple: In nominative singular (der alte Mann, die junge Frau, das kleine Kind) the adj ending is -e. In all other cases it is -en.

If you have noun groups such as beide Männer/beide Frauen/beide Kinder "beide' has the declension as die (plural).

In German the forms of the adjectives are complicated. Without careful study of this grammar chapter you won't get along.

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