I am doing an exercise. The exercise is telling me to write the dative form of given words or phrase. I am stuck in one place. A phrase is given "Die Leute", and an answer is given in dative form is "Den Leuten". My question is why "Leuten" not "Leute"? I understood why there is "den". But I could not understand why "Leuten". As I know the n declination works only for masculine.

  • 2
    This is not n-declination. Look up a table of endings of different cases.
    – Eller
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:19
  • Ok I am trying ...
    – user29760
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:23
  • need help . for keine tasse the dative is keiner tasse. Why not tassen ??? confused. previous word was leute and it was den leuten . I thought when the article change, the noun also change, but here tasse is not changing . it should be tassen. Now i am confused.
    – user29760
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:32
  • 2
    Please edit your question instead of adding comments. That way everything is in one place. Some comments may not be shown initially. Make it easy for people to help you.
    – Robert
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:36
  • 4
    Leute is a plural noun, it has no singular. That's the difference. Tasse is a regular noun.
    – Janka
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


The German noun »Leute« is a plurale tantum. This is the name of a group of nouns, that exist only in plural form. The singular form is not in use. English examples are pants, scissors, genitals. German examples are Ferien, Kosten, Gebrüder. (There are more in both languages, and in other languages too.)

Some centuries ago, in the Middle High German language, the noun »Leute« was »liute«, and it had a singular form with two grammatical genders: »der liut« (masculine) and also »daჳ liut« (neuter). The meaning was the people or the population. So even the singular form didn't mean a single person, but a big group of persons. And because singular and plural meant the same amount, which was many, the singular was not used any longer and became extinct.

If the singular form would have survived, it would be »der Leut« or »das Leut« in modern German, and it would belong to the nouns that are declined strong (strong declension), i.e. similar to »der Weg« or »das Pferd«, and this is why the existing plural really belongs to strong declension:

  • Singular (extinct! do not use!)

    Nom: der/das Leut
    Gen: des Leuts/Leutes
    Dat: dem Leut
    Akk: den/das Leut

  • Plural

    Nom: die Leute
    Gen: der Leute
    Dat: den Leuten
    Akk: die Leute

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