Has anybody come across reliable ways to know if a masculine noun is weak or not?

Der Präsident... Wir brauchen einen neuen Präsidenten.
Der Held... Gotham braucht einen Helden.

I have noticed that many weak masculine nouns tend to end with an 'e' when in nominative.

der Kunde, der Junge, der Name, der Bote....

I have also read about nouns coming from adjectives also being quite often the culprits for weak nouns.

Any other ideas?

  • I guess you should rather take a look at the genitive ending (des Präsidenten, des Helden – des Namens, des Glaubens)
    – Em1
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 20:13
  • How does that help me know if its a weak noun to begin with though? Your idea seems to extend my point one further, by saying that nominative masculine nouns, ending with -e, tens to also get a -ns in the genitive. Or am I missing something?
    – n1k31t4
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 20:26
  • Not quite. My point actually was that the genitive case is clearly distinguishable. However, if the link in the answer below is correct, you just take a look at the declension table and look for 7 -n endings (still, they don't say that the nominative singular must end in -e, for instance Astronaut). Actually, in conclusion that seconds my first comment.
    – Em1
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


Weak masculine nouns are:

  1. Masculine nouns that end in an unstressed -e:

    der Jude, der Löwe, der Erbe.

  2. Nouns of foreign origin that have their accent on the final syllable (-ant, -ast, -ent, -et, -ist, -nom, -oph, -ot, etc.):

    der Polizist, der Assistent, der Philosoph, der Despot, der Astronom, der Gymnasiast.

  3. Some one-syllable masculine nouns that designate male persons or animals:

    der Bär, der Christ, der Mensch, der Prinz, der Narr, der Bauer.

  4. "der Herr" which takes an -n ending in the singular and -en in the plural

This page says that nearly all common masculine nouns ending in -e are weak (with the exception of Käse), though some retain their genetive -s ending after the -n-. That sounds like a pretty reliable criterion.

This page gives some (non-reliable, but helpful) categories for weak nouns.

All the adjectives that form masculine weak nouns I can think of right now end in -e, so I'm not sure if that is useful as an extra criterion.

  • Please try to summarize the main points of links you provided, in case they go offline. for more information, see How to Answer
    – Vogel612
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 11:13

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