I am learning German and words like das, die, der are confusing me. "The woman" in German is "die Frau" which indicates that "die" is used for females. But then there is "das Mädchen", here we are using "das" for females. Why is this so?

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    Does this answer your question? Neuter gender for nouns referring to children – user39720 Feb 21 '20 at 0:53
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    The other question is about the gender of words referring to children. It's not a duplicate. – Olafant Feb 21 '20 at 6:42
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    @Olafant you are conveniently ignoring the first part of the question. Whatever. – David Vogt Feb 21 '20 at 7:06
  • @DavidVogt You are conveniently ignoring, that the second part of the question makes the first part a totally different question. Whatever. – Olafant Feb 21 '20 at 7:13
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    Also related: this question. – guidot Feb 21 '20 at 8:14

Mädchen is a diminutive. All diminutives are of neuter grammatical gender.

As a general rule: the grammatical gender has nothing to do with the biological gender of the object named by a noun even though both can coincide.


"Chen" is used to indicate that something is "small/cute". Like:

Blättchen (=small leave), Wörtchen (=small word), Häuschen (=small house), Tierchen (=small animal), Dienstmädchen*(= servent girl)* ,Hündchen (=puppy), Schulmädchen(=school girl).

Similarly, girl in english are used to indicate small/cute female, in German girl are referred as "Mädchen". Now we use "das" with words having "Chen", hence "the girl" translates to "das Mädchen".

  • Is it intentional that all of your examples other than Mädchen are already neuter without the diminutive? – O. R. Mapper Feb 21 '20 at 4:24
  • @O.R.Mapper another example could be: Brüderchen(=brother) – HiterDean Feb 21 '20 at 4:30
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    @O.R.Mapper I have add some more words. – HiterDean Feb 21 '20 at 4:42

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