When talking about clothes in German (die Kleidung) I thought that the noun refers to an uncountable number of clothes, as in English.

So upon reading the sentence

Ich bin der Meinung, dass die Kleidung dieser Saison entsetzlich ist.

I was slightly confused. If we are talking about clothes in the plural sense, wouldn't the verb in the subordinate clause be "sein" i.e.

Ich bin der Meinung, dass die Kleidung dieser Saison entsetzlich sind.

  • If a noun is in singular, the verb is also in singular. Doesn't matter if it's plural sense or not.
    – Eller
    Jan 31, 2019 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Die Kleidung ([1], [2]) stands for a single set that contains many items, and from a grammatical point of view, it's singular (the plural would be "Kleidungen", but that's rarely used). It behaves somewhat similarly to fashion or clothing:

  • "clothing is terrible" (not "clothing are terrible")
  • "fashion is terrible" (not "fashion are terrible")

so, "die Kleidung ist entsetzlich" is correct.

Even if it were plural, "sein" would still be wrong. It would have to be replaced by "sind":

  • Ich bin der Meinung, dass die Jacken dieser Saison entsetzlich sind.

Kleidung is a proper noun used grammatically in singular but in a logical plural meaning in that we usually mean several pieces of clothing (Kleidungsstücke) by that. Still, it is not a singulare tantum because, though rarely used, a plural Kleidungen does exist.

Denn langlebige Kleidung ist in der Herstellung tendenziell teurer. Die Zeit 43, 2017

This is not to be confused with Kleider which in the plural form to Kleid is used synonymously to Kleidung.

Kleider machen Leute.Gottfried Keller

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