When coordinating two nouns in different genders, which article should be used?

I am writing the acknowledgements page in my thesis and I want to thank (in German) one of my reviewers that came from Germany to France and had some trouble with the trains and the administration.

So I have written the following: "Danke an meiner Reporterin, XYZ, der die Komplexität des französischen Eisenbahnnetzes und Verwaltung navigierte zu meiner Verteidigung besuchen." (The intended meaning is: "Thanks to my reviewer, XYZ, that navigated the complexities of the French network system and administration in order to attend my defence.")

Without the adjective, I suppose "des Eisenbahnnetzes und der Verwaltung" would have been an easy solution. But I would rather not write "des französischen Eisenbahnnetzes und der französischen Verwaltung", because it is my feeling (possibly wrong) that repeating the adjective would be bad style.

In French, there is this rule that says masculine forms include feminime forms, so we would have the option of using the masculine in cases like this. (Which wouldn't help for the conjunction of a neutral and a feminine, I suppose. :-)

Is there something similar in German?

  • You will have to use the solution that you suggest yourself, it sounds perfectly fine. Other things are wrong, though. I would prefer „Dank an“ over „Danke an“, and, more importantly, it takes the accusative case. Then, „Reporterin“ is female (was that intended?), so the following relative pronoun would have to be „die“. And the word does not apply to anyone who reports, but is only used in the journalistic sense, again I am not sure if that is what you meant.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 16:33
  • @CarstenSchultz, you mean the adjective has to be repeated? As you can see I'm not good in German, but in languages I know, that would considered be bad style. Thanks for spotting the other mistakes. I have looked at some German Ph.D. theses and have seen the word "Reporter" used for what I take to be "reviewer" (the person that writes en evaluation of a thesis before its defence). And I've added -in because it is indeed a woman.
    – scozy
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 16:49
  • 4
    That doesn't sound German at all. You should show the whole sentence as "navigierte+Komplizität sounds curious. Carsten Schulz has already hinted at some grammar mistakes and you can't combine "des Eisenbahnnetzes und Verwaltung. Furthermore I would begin with "Ich möchte meiner Reporterin X meinen Dank aussprechen ..."
    – rogermue
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 19:19
  • I could only guess what you mean at all by that sentence. Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 10:25

1 Answer 1



der die Komplexität des französischen Eisenbahnnetzes und Verwaltung navigierte

sounds a bit incomplete to me. I would suggest an other construction for your sentence. But first let me fix the beginning of your sentence (like Carster Schultz already pointed out).

Danke an meiner Reporterin, XYZ

There are several problems with this. For example is “meiner" wrong in this context because “Reporterin" is female, also “Reporterin” is not the word you are looking for since it is used for journalism. I suggest one of the following.

Dank an meine Gutachterin, xyz

or a bit more formal

Dank gebührt meiner Gutachterin, xyz

Edit: After the edit of the original question and a complete sentence here is my edit answer.

Applying the French rule of masculine forms include feminine forms results in the German language with sentences that sound to a native speaker like something is missing and the sentence is just not rounded. But there are further problems with your sentence. Let me first fix it and then try to explain why.

Ein besonderer Dank gebührt der (or if you want it more personal replace „der“ with „meiner“) Zweitgutachterin (or in a less formal version „Gutachterin“), Frau Dr. xyz, die, trotz der Komplexität des französischen Bahnnetzes sowie der französischen Verwaltung, meiner Verteidigung der Dissertation beiwohnen konnte.

The word „navigierte“ is used in the wrong context here. “Navigieren” is more used for driving left and right, not for “found the way” like you want to use it here. Same with “besuchen” it’s more in the sense of visit an old friend. The way you want to use attend is that she managed to physical be there, so “beiwohnen” is the right choice here. Then there is the “Reporterin” thing you opened another question for that don’t really fit in here. And last but not least using “trotz” and “sowie” is a sort of enumeration that looses the stricter way you trying to avoid.

  • I completely disagree with you. Scozy said he/she wants to tank a reviewer or her/his thesis. The German word for a reviewer of a thesis is “Gutachter” or the female singular version “Gutachterin”.
    – solid
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 7:22
  • 2
    Gut dann erklär ich es auf Deutsch. Eine wissenschaftliche Abschlussarbeit (ob Bachelor, Master- Thesis oder Desertation) wird von zwei (meist Professoren) gelesen, begutachtet und in Form eines Gutachtens bewertet. Folglich nennt man diese Personen auch Gutachter. So stand es auch auf Seite 2 meiner Bachelor- und master-Thesis. Das ist die Stelle an der die Aufgabenstellung der Thesis steht mit der Kennziffer fürs Prüfungsamt und den beiden Gutachtern die namentlich erwähnt sind. Folglich bin ich mir sehr sicher dass der „reviewer“ einer Thesis im deutschen „Gutachter“ heißt.
    – solid
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 7:36
  • Well, for the protocol, both my comments make no sense now since the other half of the discussion was deleted. But I let them here, because there seems to be dispute whether “Gutachter” is the correct translation for “reviewer” or not.
    – solid
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 8:21
  • Thanks for your answer and help with the other mistakes. So if I understand correctly, there is no specific rule for coordination of nouns with different genders, and one must simply avoid the construction? I have updated my question with the complete sentence, that makes things easier. For the Reporter/Gutachter, seeing the disagreement, I thought it would make sense to ask this in a separate question.
    – scozy
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 11:17
  • Reviewer? Korrekturleserin.
    – bot47
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 8:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.