When I write German, I rarely have a confident feeling whether to put an "n" or "r" at the end the adjectives and/or the noun, e.g.:

Dieses Wochenende wird auf allen Ihren Rechnern(?) Windows 7 installiert.

I can, however, recognize Nominativ, Dativ, Genitiv, and Akkusativ.

I've googled and found explanations such as this but as this one they are written in terms of an hour-long explanation of the rule set instead of a pragmatic, quick reference guide.

Where can I find a simple yet exhaustive cheat sheet which I can refer to while I write so that I can be 100% sure which adjective and noun ending to use?

  • These are all related to German cases, what do you mean by cheat sheet?
    – user508
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 14:44
  • I remember back in 1989 when I started to learn German I wrote on one piece of paper in very small print all the rules that I didn't have in my head, and I remember I had a table that helped me get 90% of these adjective endings correct just by glancing at the nom/dat/gen/akk table. That's what is known as a "cheat sheet". Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 15:21

6 Answers 6


Thanks Stovner, that is the kind of list I was looking for, BUT I actually found my old list from 1989 and scanned it in here, which is exactly what I was looking for, I think it is 100% correct, it's taken from all of the resources I had available at the time, glad to have it again, a larger copy is available here(dead link).

enter image description here



GEN| statt trotz während wegen           |
DAT| aus bei mit nach seit von zu, außer | (location) an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, vor, zwischen
ACC| bis durch für gegen ohne um entlang | (motion  ) an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, vor, zwischen

durch das = durchs
für das = fürs
um das = ums

     M   F   N   P
NOM|der die das|die|ich    du     er     sie   es    |wir   ihr  Sie   sie  |wer (who)
GEN|des der des|der|meiner deiner seiner ihrer seiner|unser euer Ihrer ihrer|wessen(whose)
DAT|dem der dem|den|mir    dir    ihm    ihr   ihm   |uns   euch Ihnen ihnen|wem (to whom)
ACC|den die das|die|mich   dich   ihn    sie   es    |uns   euch Sie   sie  |wen (whom)
   |(reflexive)|   |mich   dich   sich   sich  sich  |uns   euch sich  sich |
   |           |   |                                 |      sich (polite)   |

"der-words":  dieser, jeder, jener, mancher, solcher, welcher
                   M                 F                 N            PLURAL
    NOM:   der neue  Lehrer    die neue  Rose    das neue  Buch   | die neuen Väter
    GEN:   des neuen Lehrers   der neuen Rose    des neuen Buches | der neuen Väter
    DAT:   dem neuen Lehrer    der neuen Rose    dem neuen Buch   | den neuen Vätern (all genders)
    ACC:   den neuen Lehrer    die neue  Rose    das neue  Buch   | die neuen Väter

"ein-words":  ein, kein, mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr
                   M                        F                     N            PLURAL
    NOM:   mein   alter Freund     meine  alte  Tante    mein   altes Haus   | meine  alten Väter
    GEN:   meines alten Freundes   meiner alten Tante    meines alten Hauses | meiner alten Väter
    DAT:   meinem alten Freund     meiner alten Tante    meinem alten Haus   | meinen alten Vätern (all genders)
    ACC:   meinen alten Freund     meine  alte  Tante    mein   altes Haus   | meine  alten Väter

without "der" or "mein" words:
                M                 F                  N              PLURAL
    NOM:   schöner Wein     schöne  Stadt     schönes Beispiel   |  schöne
    GEN:   schönen Weins    schöner Stadt     schönen Beispiels  |  schöner
    DAT:   schönem Wein     schöner Stadt     schönem Beispiel   |  schönen
    ACC:   schönen Wein     schöne  Stadt     schönes Beispiel   |  schöne

Always accent these syllables:   ab, zu, mit
Always accent the syllable after the following ones:  be, emp, ent, er, ge, ver, zer

Masculine Endings:  -el, -en, -er, -ig, -ch, -ling
 Feminine Endings:  -age, -e, -ei, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -ie, -ik, -in, -ion, -tät, -ung, -ur
   Neuter Endings:  -tum, -ment, -ium, -um

A few masculine nouns add -e(n) in the genitive, dative and accusative singular:
    den Hasen, den Herrn, den Jungen, den Helden, den Menschen, den Präsidenten, den Studenten
The dative plural noun always adds -n, unless the nominative plural form ends in -n.
    (e.g. Das Gras schmeckt den Kühen)

adverbialen: im allgemeinen gilt die Anordnung  T K M L
temporal (wann?), kausal (warum?), modal (wie?), lokal (wo? wohin?)
  • There's a little mistake in your table. Beispiels instead of Beispiel.
    – c.p.
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 15:13
  • 1
    Dear users, let me know if you checked the source text for typos and found everything to be OK.
    – yulian
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 17:08

You really have two questions: "How are adjectives declinated?" and "When do you append an 'n' at the end of nouns?". I will treat these questions separately.

Adjective declination in German is difficult since it depends on the definiteness of the noun. In simple English that means that in German you would decline "attractive" differently in the three phrases "an attractive man", "the attractive man" and "attractive man", but on top of that you also need to take care of the case. That means that you need three different tables to compile a complete cheat sheet of adjective declination.

Let me first give some examples which might elucidate how you are supposed to use the cheat sheet.

Say, for example, that you need to write about an attractive man in the nominative case.. Then the following three inflections exist:

Indefinite form (with "ein" words)
Ein attraktiver Mann stolzierte die Straße entlang.
Definite form (with "der" words)
Der attraktive Mann erregt die Aufmerksamkeit der Frauen.
Unpreceded form (with no article)
Attraktiver Mann sucht eine Frau, die ihm das Herz strahlen lässt.

But in the dative case things look quite different:

Indefinite form (with "ein" words)
Einem attraktiven Mann wurde gestern aus dem kalten Wasser geholfen.
Definite form (with "der" words)
Die Frau mit dem roten Kleid gehört dem attraktiven Mann.
Unpreceded form (with no article)
Hübsche Frau von attraktivem Mann gesucht.

I copy-paste the complete declination table (or cheat sheet) that can be found in the middle of this site. The order is, from top to bottom: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.

After "DER"-words
M   F   N   PL
-e  -e  -e  -en
-en -e  -e  -en
-en -en -en -en
-en -en -en -en

After "EIN"-words
M   F   N   PL
-er -e  -es -en
-en -e  -es -en
-en -en -en -en
-en -en -en -en

M   F   N   PL
-er -e  -es -e
-en -e  -es -e
-em -er -em -en
-en -er -en -er

The rule for nouns are easier. In the dative case (almost) every noun gets an 'n' at the end.

There are also some irregular nouns which have further inflections, but these do not belong on a cheat sheet. Let me in any case mention some for completeness:

  • You say ein Beamter, but der Beamte.
  • Many masculine words which end on -ent (like "Student" and "Präsident") are irregular
  • The word "Herz" is irregular
  • Please correct my German examples, I'm sure they are (not only corny, but also) abound with errors.
    – Stovner
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 18:11
  • ok, so I understand from your table that I should write Preis für das innovativste Produkt 2009 and not Preis für das innovativsten Produkt 2009 (because für is followed by akkusativ), is that correct? Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 12:19
  • Yes, exactly! :-)
    – Stovner
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 15:28

The key to this problem's answer is to learn the case that goes with all the different prepositions/verb combinations.

Most prepositions require an object in Dativ or Akkusativ.

Prepositions with

  • Dativ: aus, außer, bei, entgegen, entsprechend, gegenüber, gemäß, mit, (mit)samt, nach, nahe, seit, von, zu
  • Akkusativ: bis, durch, für, gegen, je, ohne, um, wider

Though some prepositions, like "auf" in your example are used with both cases depending on the kind of action the verb expression.

An example:

Ich sitze auf dem Stuhl.

The question which helps you is: "Wo sitze ich?" → Dativ

Ich setze mich auf den Stuhl.

Because the verb setzen indicates a movement with a direction the question is: "Wohin setze ich mich?" → Akkusativ

This is just one rule. Wikipedia's German article about prepositions contains a list of all rules.

Regarding the ending of nouns and adjectives. You have to learn the gender and declination of genders:

Im Allgemeinen gelten folgende Grundsätze für die Deklination aller Substantive:

  • Feminina sind im Singular stets unveränderlich.
  • Im Plural sind Nominativ, Genitiv und Akkusativ stets identisch: die Tage, der Tage, die Tage.
  • Bei allen Feminina und Neutra sind, in Singular und Plural, jeweils Nominativ und Akkusativ stets identisch.
  • Die Dativ-Singular-Endung -e in einigen Klassen wird heute kaum noch verwendet.
  • Es gibt folgende Endungen: -(e), -(e)n, -(e)r, -(e)s. – Bei starken Substantiven sind Dativ Plural und, bei Maskulina und Neutra, der Genitiv Singular am deutlichsten erkennbar.

Für Substantive, deren Wortstamm auf unbetontes -e, -el, -en, -er endet, gilt Folgendes: - Diese Substantive werden nie nach S2 dekliniert, haben also nie die Endung -er. -Alle angehängten Endungen verlieren ihr „e“, die Endungen sind also: -, -n, -s.

  • yes, I remember on that sheet I had, there were exactly that kind of "list of words that take the dativ", I would think that 22 years later with all the Google Translates, Linguees, and LEOs on the net that someone would have make a reference guide that simplifies these rules down to a list and a table that allows you to get adjective endings 95% just by glancing at the it. Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 15:24

One important aspect here is the difference between "wo?" and "wohin?".

(Where is the action done? Dative. Where is the action directed to? Accusative)

Dieses Wochenende wird auf allen Ihren Rechnern Windows 7 installiert.

In your particular example the action is interpreted as "The installing takes place on your computers."

But in this example, it is absolutely possible to think of installing as a directed action: "Windows is installed towards your computers."

Dieses Wochenende wird auf alle Ihre Rechner Windows 7 installiert.

So, you might be confused by examples where actually both interpretations are possible.

  • yes, I indicate this rule on my grammar reference sheet above as prepositions which take either (1) location or (2) motion, but I find that even native speakers are not certain of the gray area here, as you pointed out, is the software being installed onto the computers or being installed on the computers, even in English both "on" and "onto" would work in this example Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 10:48

I thought I could post it here, even though it has been a while since the question has been asked and answered. Sorry that it is in Italian. I am anyways sure that the few italians words that are there are easy to guess, and that the summery itself is wonderfully useful :)

enter image description here


Die Adjektiv-Deklination nach der/die/das (-e/en Deklination)


Nach der/die/das und anderen Artikelwörtern mit -er/e/es (zB dieser, welcher etc) hat das Adjektiv (Adj) nur die Endungen -e oder -en.


Die Endung -e im Nom Sg (m f n) und im Akk Sg (f n)

  • der alte Mann (Nom Sg)
  • die junge Frau (Nom/Akk Sg)
  • das kleine Kind (Nom/Akk Sg)


Die Endung -en in allen übrigen Fällen.

Im Plural kommt nur -en vor.

Im Gen/Dat kommt nur en vor.

Im Akk Sg hat nur Mask. -en: den alten Mann

Warum ist das so? Die Artikelwörter mit -er/e/es geben bereits Geschlecht und Fall an. Daher hat das Adj eigentlich nur die Endung -en. In 5 Fällen ist aber das n von -en weggefallen.

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