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

3 Answers 3


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 weakly declined. Then you go to the table, for instance this one and select according to case and gender (or number) the right entry in the table.

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.

  • You wouldn't think twice about "die alten Frauen". This is really pretty much the same thing.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 16:52
  • Your explanation seems to be enough. But for me, a German language newbie, those pronouns seem hard to learn...
    – ducin
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 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
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 20:38
  • 1
    @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.
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 21:25
  • What does "that case" in the first sentence refer to? (Sorry, I had not seen how old this is.)
    – Carsten S
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 8:29

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.

  • Correction: when preceded by a definite article (weak declension), in nominative singular AND accusative neuter/feminine singular, the adjective ending is -e. In all other cases, it is -en. By the way, a similar rule apply to adjectives preceded by indefinite article/possessive adjective (mixed inflection): just replace -e with the corresponding definite article declension. Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 16:15

The declension of "beide" seems dependent on case and number and, though termed a pronoun, acts like an adjective and is similar in use as possessive pronouns, i.e., meine, deine, etc. in that they act as adjectives and are declined.

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