In German there are few nouns that have no article and thus seemingly no gender:



In the example "Nord" we could overcome this by using "der Norden" instead:

Die Schiffe kamen alle aus dem Norden, der in Richtung ihrer Heimat liegt.

But how would I build this sentence using "Nord" or in case of any of the other examples:

Die Schiffe kamen alle von Nord, [der/die/das] in Richtung ihrer Heimat liegt.
Die Schuld liegt allein an Google, [der/die/das] die Suchergebnisse nicht korrekt filtert.
Ich hörte nichts Gutes aus Nahost, [der/die/das] Heimat vieler Konflikte ist.
Wir treffen uns immer zu Allerheiligen, [der/die/das] in Bayern ein Feiertag ist.

What grammar rules help me to build these relative clauses correctly?

1 Answer 1


You can safely treat these words as neutral when formulating clauses. Therefore, it's das in all of Your examples.

This rule does not apply to names of persons. They are used without article, but do have a gender:

Hier kommt [no article!] Fred, der heute gut gelaunt aussieht.

Das ist [no article!] Anna, die ihren Freund mitgebracht hat.

Esp. for company names, the issue is avoided in German by adding the legal form of the company:

Das sind die Zahlen der BMW AG, die in diesem Jahr einen großen Erfolg hatte.

(AG = Aktiengesellschaft, feminin)

  • But even names of persons can be used with article, am I mistaken? See this question for example: "ich bin die Gigili"
    – user508
    Feb 26, 2012 at 12:46
  • 2
    You may use names with article in southern parts of Germany and in Austria (and in the TV-show "Sendung mit der Maus" ;), i.e. when talking to small children). However, You are always on the safe side if You don't use articles with persons' names.
    – Black
    Feb 26, 2012 at 13:05
  • 1
    @Black Your answer is exactly right. I would only add that using "wo" or "was" and the like to start the Nebensatz is another way around the problem. :-)
    – Kevin
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:41

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