When it comes to declension of nouns, plentiful references are available for the following two categories:

  • strongly declined nouns (append -(e)s for masculine and neutral singular genitive, -n for plural dative). Most nouns go here.
  • weakly declined nouns (always masculine. Append -(e)n for all cases but singular nominative). A limited set of nouns go into this category. e.g. Bär, Kunde

EDIT (thanks RDBur):

  • mixed nouns - masculine and neutral nouns that are declined strongly in the singular and weakly in the plural. A very limited set of nouns go into this category. e.g. See (masc.), Auge (neut.)

In its own category, so not following any rules but its own:

  • the noun Herz - appends -ens for singular genitive and -en for all other cases but singular nominative. You can use one of two forms in singular dative: dem Herz or dem Herzen


The words Deutsche and Verwandte are peculiar in two ways:

  • Each has two declension tables. Source: leo.org. Declension tables for Verwandte. I understand each has a form for masculine and another for feminine.
  • the terminations follow the rules of none of the categories mentioned above.

Moreover, a site that is always correct, Duolingo, requires the translation of

She doesn't have any relatives.

to be

Sie hat keine Verwandten. (notice the -n ending)

and rejects

Sie hat keine Verwandte.

which I go for based on my interpretation of the declension tables. (I go for unbestimmter Plural Akkusativ and both tables agree on that entry.)

Are Deutsche and Verwandte part of another category? What are the rules?

How am I failing Duolingo?

References are highly appreciated too.

  • 2
    German also has Mixed nouns, e.g. Name and Buchstabe, similar to Weak nouns but they take an -ns in the singular genitive. Last time I checked Duo had discussion boards for each question, and there are usually enough mods and native speakers to answer questions like this. Not that you shouldn't ask here if you want, but in my experience the discussion boards were a good way to fill in the gaps you might miss in the Tips sections. I haven't been on Duo for nearly a year though, so I don't know if they still do that.
    – RDBury
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 11:21
  • @RDBury, thanks for mentioning mixed nouns. I have updated the question context to include them. On further investigation I found out that mixed nouns are the ones that behave like strong at singular and like weak at plural. e.g. der See, das Auge. It seems Name, Gedanke and Buchstabe are closer in form to (vary least from) the weak category. Not many sources bother with placing those into categories, however. Those who do have mixed! feelings about it. So your opinion that they are mixed is right too.
    – parml
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


Those are (at least originally) nominalized adjectives, their declension is like that of adjectives. Just imagine that they are followed by a noun.


One problem you are encountering is, that Verwandte may be two entirely different things:

  • a female relative (singular),
  • a collection of relatives (nominative plural).

Sie hat keine Verwandte is obviously the female singular (the plural would require an ending -n in accusative) and therefore the wrong tanslation for relatives.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.