I have a question about the plural. There are countable nouns like

die Banane, das Ei, die Birne, der Apfel

as well as uncountable nouns

der Wein, der Champagner, das Salz

So when we put it in some container like Packung, Schachtel, Flasche, what article should be put before them?

For example:

Flasche Champagner

Does the article here depend on the gender of the unit (die Flasche, feminine) or the thing it contains (der Champagner, masculine)?

Also, for some countable nouns, it is plural in some cases

Dose Tomaten, zwei Dosen Tomaten

Also, I don't know why there are plural forms for uncountable nouns like Champagne, Sojasoße, Schokolade, can anybody explain this to me, sorry for such a stupid question.

  • 3
    Do you mean "der Champagner" (the bubbling wine) or "die Champagne" (the region)?
    – Raphael
    May 21, 2014 at 16:19
  • what plural nouns do you mean? I do not know anything about "Schokoladen"...
    – Vogel612
    May 21, 2014 at 19:48
  • "for some countable nouns, it is plural in some cases" -> not for some, but for all of them.
    – Em1
    May 22, 2014 at 7:05
  • The gender of the article is determined by the head noun, not the modifying one: die Weinflasche, der Flaschenwein. Think of die Flasche Wein as a particular kind of Flasche, with a postpositive modifier similar to attorney general.
    – blutorange
    May 22, 2014 at 8:42

3 Answers 3


The article is always that of the container.

Eine/Die Schachtel Salz

Eine/Die Flasche Wein

The containers are countable, so if you've got multiple containers containing anything, the article is the plural form of the containers article

Viele Flaschen Wein

If you want to point at a certain set of bottles containing wine, you would probably use the aggregate word Weinflaschen instead:

Die Weinflaschen

This works exactly the same if the content is countable - all that counts (pun intended) is the gender of the container:

Die Dose Tomaten

As to why many uncountable nouns still have plural forms:

They are used to indicate that there are multiple distinct kinds of this uncountable thing.

You could say something like

Das Weingut ist bekannt für seine ausgezeichneten Rotweine.

meaning that it produced more than one kind of red whine.

  • 2
    The answer extends to units in the SI sense, e.g. "das Kilo Zucker" and "der Liter Milch".
    – Raphael
    May 21, 2014 at 16:21

I don't know why there are plural forms for uncountable nouns like Champagner, Sojasoße, Schokolade

Because you can still talk about salts, waters, or the various brands of champagne or chocolate:

Ich mag Schokoladen mit hohem Kakaogehalt. Chemiker interessieren sich für die Salze der Schwefelsäure. In Deutschland werden vor allem halbtrockene Sekte (non-vintage champagnes) getrunken.

  • Wichtige Anmerkung, aber wohl eher ein Kommentar.
    – Toscho
    May 21, 2014 at 18:20
  • This answers the question posed in the last sentence. It is a (partial) answer.
    – Carsten S
    May 21, 2014 at 20:58

In almost all cases the German article for plural forms is "die". For example:

das Weinfass


die Weinfässer

Combined nouns always use the article of the last part of the combination.

Another example was "chocolate":


die Schokolade

countable form:

die Schokoladentafel

plural of countable form:

die Schokoladentafeln

derived from: Duden Bd. 4: Deutsche Grammatik

also I'm a native speaker

  • Wieso "almost all", welche Ausnahmen sind Dir denn bekannt? Oct 13, 2017 at 3:33

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