I came across an amazing aria called "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen". It is sung by the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), an opera by Mozart.

I don't understand why the phrase "in meinem Herzen" is used here.

  • Since Herzen is the plural form of das Herz, is it implying that the Queen of the Night has multiple hearts?
  • Additionally, I'm fairly confident that this phrase is in the Dativ case. If so, why is meinem used instead of meinen?

edit: here's what I thought: this phrase is Dativ and Herzen indicates plural, so it is similar to "mit meinen Kindern". I didn't see why "meinem" is used instead, but that now I know that Herzen is singular Dativ, the phrase makes more sense. Thanks!

PS: I'm a beginner in learning German. I hope that this question doesn't sound too strange.


Herzen is not only the plural (in all cases), but the dative singular form, too. It belongs to a group of nouns called “weak”; see, e.g., German for English speakers or canoonet.


Herzen is singular dative. There is the alternative form Herz (Wiktionary, Duden), but dictionaries attribute this mainly to medical use (also Duden above).

And since it is singular and dative, the meinem should not be surprising any more.

  • I've edited the question! Hopefully I explained my dilemma better this time. Thank you for the links.
    – jessica
    Apr 5 '16 at 10:23
  • @Jessica, ah, I see.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 5 '16 at 10:29

You learned the usual declension of Nouns (and articles and adjectives). It is usual to teach only this declension in school. When words like Herz do "funny" forms, they are called exceptions.

But the thruth is that some hundred Nouns do a different declension. They are all masculines with the only exception, the neutral Herz.

Their article and the attached adjectives do the normal declension, but these specific nouns add an -n or -en in all the cases, except Nominative.

You need to learn which are these Nouns. I recommend the book "Die Gelbe" (Dreyer, Schmidt), but you can download the relevant chapter free from Hueber Verlag:

Or search for N-Deklination. mein-deutschbuch.de and deutschegrammatik20.de are another two sources that explain it well.

I don't really undestand why the "N-Deklination" is not teached. It would would clarify things up, way better than being lazy and call these nouns "Ausnahme". I suspect the not so good teachers have never heard of it.

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