I'm trying to learn German on my own, and I'm not sure if in the phrase "Die Maus ist ein/e Tier", what gives gender to ein/e is the fact that the mouse is feminine, or Tier is a neutral noun. Could anyone help me, please?

  • 2
    Minor correction: das Tier is a neutral, not a masculine noun. Though that doesn't change the idea of your question.
    – Arsak
    Dec 30, 2019 at 13:53
  • 1
    The question is somehow surprising (although it' not surprising that the grammars dissagree), since in Spanish/Italian (or whatever your language is) the rule is the same as in German. And I cannot think of a macabre language where this rule does not hold, but if somebody knows let me know.
    – c.p.
    Jan 5, 2020 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


The article always depends on the case and gender of the word it refers to. The first article refers to Maus (feminine, Nominativ) and the second one refers to Tier (neutral, Nominativ). So

Die Maus ist ein Tier.

The mouse is an animal.


These have no relation in German. There is no such requirement in German, that these should have the same gender. Thus, "Die Maus ist ein Tier" is correct.

  • 2
    What do you mean with "they have no relation" - who is "they"?
    – Arsak
    Dec 30, 2019 at 13:54
  • @Arsak Maus and Tier. Maybe "these" would be better English?
    – peterh
    Dec 30, 2019 at 14:01

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