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Normally the adjective ending for "nullartikel" takes the ending that the definite article would have taken, had there been one. For instance:

Ich esse gern frisches Brot.

Recently I saw this sentence:

Suche antike Möbel.

My question is this: Möbel is "das Möbel", even when refering to several pieces of furniture. So why isn't the correct adjective "antikes" in the above sentence?

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  • First of all it's "Möbel". Why would "das Möbel" stay "das Möbel" in plural? German has a plural article, so several pieces would be "die Möbel". – infinitezero Mar 28 '20 at 19:13
  • I corrected my spelling mistake. – Steve Mar 28 '20 at 19:27
  • As an aside: "das Möbel" does indeedcdenote a single piece of furniture, but it's not usually used. The plural form of "Möbel" is typically used for indefinite amounts of furniture; as soon as you count them, you use "Möbelstück". – O. R. Mapper Mar 29 '20 at 13:56
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You wrote:

Möbel is "das Möbel", even when refering to several pieces of furniture.

This is not correct. Das Möbel refers to one piece of furniture only. Referring to many pieces requires the plural die Möbel.

The four cases of the plural phrase antike Möbel are:

  • nominative: antike Möbel
  • genitive: antiker Möbel
  • dative: antiken Möbeln
  • accusative: antike Möbel

In the phrase

Suche antike Möbel.

the accusative plural is used.

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  • 1
    I doubt Das Möbel should refer to anything. Die Möbel appears always in the plural, and thus as a pluraletantum (like the police (never ?a police but a policeman). The count noun in my regiolect is Möbelstück, which is no less jaring, or anything else. Maybe that's different in your neck of the woods, or your favorite dictionary. – vectory Mar 29 '20 at 16:46
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    Fortunately, it is absolutely irrelevant what @vectory (once again) doubts or believes! dwds.de/wb/M%C3%B6bel – Björn Friedrich Mar 29 '20 at 19:16
  • I have never before doubted that das Möbel were acceptable. I saw it for the first time, and if there's hope also for the last time, today – vectory Mar 29 '20 at 20:19
  • "Bedeutungen: [1] Singular ungebräuchlich: großer Einrichtungsgegenstand" de.wiktionary.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bel – vectory Mar 29 '20 at 20:24
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    @vectory: I find your quote I doubt Das Möbel should refer to anything. very clear that there is your doubt about the "legality"/ existance of the singular "Das Möbel." – Shegit Brahm Mar 30 '20 at 5:44
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As a language learner, you have to be on the lookout for nouns that don't change in the plural. This mostly concerns masculine and neuter nouns ending in -el, -en, -er. Some examples:

der Nebel, Spiegel, Zweifel – das Kabel, Mittel, Viertel
der Brunnen, Knochen, Streifen – das Eisen, Wesen, Zeichen
der Bürger, Koffer, Treffer – das Fenster, Lager, Zimmer

For count nouns, the presence or absence of a determiner will help distinguish singular and plural uses. ("Nullartikel" written as ∅.)

Das Programm findet ∅ Rechtschreibfehler. (plural)
Das Programm hat einen/den Rechtschreibfehler gefunden. (singular)

Unfortunately, in newspaper ads, articles are optional even for count nouns. But singular and plural can still be distinguished by the adjective ending. The rule you gave for the ending of the adjective is correct.

Suche ∅ antikes Möbel. (singular, -es as in das, welches, etc.)
Suche ∅ antike Möbel. (plural, -e as in die, keine, etc.)

Finally, note that many speakers prefer to use Möbel in the plural only; Möbelstück is used for a piece of furniture.

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